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Beginners' Birdwatching - Higham Hall

Beginners' Birdwatching - Higham Hall
Bassenthwaite, Cumbria


Birdwatching is becoming an increasingly popular activity combing all the pleasures of the great outdoors with the birds and other wildlife which might be encountered there. Why not try it out over a couple of days in the glorious setting of Higham Hall.

How can you tell a Kestrel from a Sparrowhawk? What does the call of a Nuthatch sound like? Which binoculars should you choose and what is the best bird book? These, and other questions will be answered in this course, aimed at taking the newcomer to birdwatching through all the basics from elementary anatomy to behaviour and identification skills. Each day will be a mix of theory and practice, the emphasis being on unrushed enjoyment of the birds we encounter.

Next date to be announced
2 days (2 nights)

Accommodation for 2 nights, all meals from dinner on first night to lunch 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: Beginning Birdwatching. Plan for the following day.
Day 2

9 - 10.30 am    Birds in the garden. Leisurely exploration of Higham Hall grounds for introduction to common bird species and possible Red Squirrels. Coffee at Higham.

11 am – 12.30 pm    Field outing to Bassenthwaite Lake for wildfowl watching.  Lunch at Higham.

1.30 – 5.00 pm    Visit to Whinlatter Forest for birds of conifer woodland such as Coal Tit, Siskin, Crossbill and Goldcrest.  We will then return to the edge of Bassenthwaite for more chances to see wildfowl and raptors.

7.45 - 9.15 pm    Recap of the day. Session on equipment, books, clothing, journals and societies.
Day 3

9 am – 12.30 pm    Field outing to Little Broughton reservoir for Goosander, Tree Sparrow, Snipe and the River Derwent for Dipper, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. Coffee in the field.

    Lunch at Higham and depart.

Course materials to be brought by student:

Binoculars, notebook  (Telescope optional).

Clothing should be water/windproof, warm and ideally inconspicuous in colour. Don’t forget gloves!

Footwear should be walking boots or Wellingtons.  The ground will be wet in places.

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

Suggested Reading:

Mitchell Beazley Pocket Guide to Birdwatching.

Collins Bird Guide.

Other Information:

The programme may be varied according to weather conditions.  In order to properly explore the sites there will be a certain amount of walking, sometimes over rough ground and/or stiles.  It is essential you are reasonably mobile.   However, all the destinations have been chosen based upon relatively easy gradients and good paths.  Also each day has planned in a significant time for sitting and watching – the pace will be leisurely.

01768 776276
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