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Lakeland Birds - Higham Hall

Lakeland Birds - Higham Hall
Bassenthwaite, Cumbria

Pied Flycatcher.

There are few parts of the UK that can rival summer in the Lake District. Through the week we will be enjoying the rich birdlife of the north Lake District and beyond, including many summer visitors such as Pied Flycatchers.

Magnificent scree-covered slopes, tranquil lakes, hanging oak woodlands and dramatic sea cliffs are just a few of Cumbria’s habitats which we will be exploring throughout this five-day course. Based at the ever-popular, palatial Higham Hall, this relaxed course involves short local trips to sample the best of Cumbria’s summer birdlife. Oak woodlands are ideal for Redstart, Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher while open treeless hillsides attract Wheatear, Whinchat and Ring Ouzel. This is also one of the few places to see Osprey and Golden Eagle south of the Scottish Border, not forgetting the “sea-bird city” at St Bees Head. Although most birds are busy with parental duties, many are still singing and bird song will be a key element of this event.

3 - 8 June
5 nights
Call Higham for latest availability
10 - 15 June
5 nights
Call Higham for latest availability
9 - 14 June
5 nights
Call Higham for latest availability

Accommodation for 5 nights, all meals from dinner on first night to breakfast on final day, transport by minibus throughout event, course notes, services of tutor throughout.

Transport to and from Higham Hall, insurance, all 'extras' such as drinks, telephone calls, newspapers.

Higham Hall is one of only a handful of independent residential colleges in the north of England providing a range of open learning experiences for adults.

Once people discover Higham they tend to return again and again, often for many years, such is the joy of simply spending intelligent time with like-minded people in such charismatic surroundings.

Higham’s main activity is now as an independent Educational Trust attracting around 3,000 adults each year on over  250 courses of lengths from half a day to up to a week. People come from Cumbria, the North of England, Scotland and further afield. No qualifications needed, just a desire to enjoy learning, and the warmest Cumbrian hospitality.

Day 1
5 - 6 pm        Residents and non-residents check in at reception. A member of staff will allocate residents’ bedrooms and help with any queries.
6.30 pm        Dinner.
7.45 - 9.15 pm   Introductions.  Presentation: Lakeland Birds. Plan for following day.

Day 2
9 - 10.30 am      Birds in the garden. Leisurely exploration of Higham Hall grounds to see common species. Coffee  at Higham.
11 - 1.00 p.m.  Powter How woods for singing Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher.  Bassenthwaite Lake for grebes, warblers, waterfowl, waders and Osprey.

Packed lunch
2.00 - 5.30 Whinlatter Forest for Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Siskin and possible Crossbill.  More opportunities for raptors including Sparrowhawk and Buzzard. Time permitting we will finich off at Dubwath Silver Meadows,
7.45 - 9.00 pm   Re-cap of the day.  Session on birdsong and calls.

Day 3
9 am – 1.00 pm   River Caldew near Skiddaw, for moorland species such as Whinchat, Ring Ouzel and possible Merlin. 

Packed lunch

2.00 pm - 5.30 p.m. After lunch we will move onto Brothers Water for more waterfowl inclusing Little Grebe, Goosander, and Red-breasted Merganser.   Woodland species along the edge include Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, Wood Warbler, Redstart and Tree Pipit.
7.45 - 9.15 pm     Re-cap of the day.  Identifying birds by behaviour and silhouettes.

Day 4
9 am – 1.00 pm
This morning we will visit some of the raised mire reserves in the north – Glasson Moss, Drumburgh Moss, Bowness Common and Campfield Marsh.  These open habitats are good for Curlew, Snipe, Redshank, Skylark, Reed Bunting, Stonechat and Cuckoo. 

Packed lunch

2.00 pm - 5.30 p.m. In the afternoon we will return to the River Derwent for Dipper, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail.
7.45 - 9.15 pm    Re-cap of the day.  ‘Difficult’ bird groups – raptors, warblers, gulls.
Day 5
9 am – 1.00 pm
Excursion to St Bees Head RSPB Reserve for seabird viewing.  Species include Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake with small numbers of Puffin and Black Guillemot.  The lanes leading to the cliffs are very bird-rich with Yellowhammer, Whitethroat and Linnet.

Packed lunch

2.00 pm - 5.30 p.m. On the return journey we will call off at Little Broughton where there is an excellet mere – a good spot for Little Grebe, Curlew, Lapwing and Tree Sparrow.
7.45 - 9.15 pm    After dinner trip to Dubwath Silver Meadows for possible Barn Owl.
Day 6
Breakfast and depart.

Course materials to be brought by student:

Binoculars, notebook. (Telescope optional).

Clothing should be wind and waterproof and ideally inconspicuous in colour.

Footwear should be walking boots – the ground will be wet in places.

A small rucksack and something waterproof to sit on will be necessary.

RSPB membership card if you are a member.

Other information:

In order to properly explore the sites, there will be a certain amount of walking, sometimes over rough ground and/or over stiles.  It is essential that you are reasonably mobile.  However all destinations have been chosen based on relatively easy gradients and good paths.  The pace will be leisurely allowing ample time for sitting and watching.

Suggested Reading:

The Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide to Britain & Europe.

Collins Bird Guide

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