Family friendly bird watching

Have you ever seen the ‘butterfly flight’ mating dance of male greenfinches or welcomed in the day from the top of a hill listening to one of nature’s best orchestras? These are just some of the experiences shared by people attending our bird and wildlife watching activities recently.

Last weekend, people came together to turn their hand to bird watching, in a bid to learn more about the wonderful wildlife of our area. On the evening of Friday 26th and the early morning of Saturday 27th April, a select group of people took part in our Wildlife Group Dusk And Dawn event delivered by Durham Wildlife Trust. They discovered many pipistrelle bats at dusk before the weather forced an early return indoors, to learn the different owl calls from recordings. The green finches were a highlight of the morning walk, with other spots including great spotted woodpecker, linnet and siskin.

Bird watching in the Land of Oak & Iron with Michael Turner

Other wildlife enthusiasts joined local ornithologist, Michael Turner, at a very early morning dawn chorus bird watching event from 4.15am on Sunday at our Winlaton Mill Heritage Centre. They were greeted by a robin, before the birdsong started to build including all the firm favourites. blackbird, song thrush, wren and all members of the tit family. The added bonus of three roe deer feeding in the meadows made it all worth getting out of bed so early. The participants enjoyed a delicious breakfast in café shrub afterwards, making the most of more time to chat with local ornithologist Michael Turner who had led the walk.

We now want to offer a similar bird watching experience to families, so they too can discover more about the wildlife of Land of Oak & Iron. Of course, 10pm finishes and 4.15am starts aren’t exactly conducive to kids’ sleep and no parent wants to deal with those over-tired meltdowns, that’s why we’ve offering a family-friendly bird watching event that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or bird watching abilities.

On Thursday 30th May during the school half term, parents will be able to keep the kids entertained at one of two Family Introduction to Bird Watching sessions. They will take place at the Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre at Winlaton Mill from 10.00am to 11.30am and from the Tyne Riverside Country Park in Prudhoe from 1.30pm to 3.00pm. During each session, Michael will guide families through the basics of bird watching, showing you how to get the best out of this most enjoyable pastime. Learn how to identify birds by sight and sound, and find out what equipment you need to help you spot wildlife, and perhaps more importantly when it comes to keeping the cost down for mums and dads, what equipment isn’t needed too.

Find out more.