For many people, the RSPB Big Garden Watch has become a must do during the last weekend in January and Brinsop Court Estate provides a great setting for it. How it works is you settle down for an hour over the weekend of 25th and 26th January and literally count the birds that you see in that hour. When you see more than one bird of the same species at the same time, you can count 2 or 3 or however many you saw at that one moment in your hour. Easy!
In Herefordshire in 2012 the top 20 birds that showed up in our local gardens were House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Robin, Dunnock, Starling, Long tailed tit, Greenfinch, Collared Dove, Magpie, Coal Tit, Carrion crow, jackdaw, Pheasant, Fieldfare and Feral pigeon, with the house sparrow at number 1 and the feral pigeon at number 20. Last year, the same birds were seen although in a slightly different order with long tailed tits and coal tits getting higher up in the rankings.
If you come to Brinsop then bird watching is just one of the activities you can do without leaving the estate. With the Big Garden Bird Watch coming up, I got to thinking about some of the other things that can do done in the gardens and grounds at Brinsop that won’t cost anything very much and will absorb not only the children, but the adults as well.
Pond dipping is a fascinating pastime and the moat at Brinsop is the perfect place to try it out. You will need a jam jar and a small net for each pond dipper as well as a book or reference guide to enable you to determine what you found in the pond. Or ask Jonathan! The Woodland Trust provide a brilliant set of resources to get you started. Just be careful no-one falls in!
If your brood prefer something a bit more active and were inspired by the summer of Olympics create your own Olympic games in the grounds at Brinsop. There is the swing over by where the start of the Ghost Walk will be in the kitchen garden woods that could be incorporated into an obstacle course. There are lots of places to run and lots of places to play hide and seek. Egg and spoon races are a perennial favourite in our house as well as three legged football.
Pat loves the idea of children making dens in the woods, damming the stream, getting dirty and muddy and having lots of fun out in the fresh air. And there is plenty of fresh air to be had here on the estate.
If you are planning to spend an hour this weekend watching birds, so let us know through Facebook what birds you see in your garden. Find the photo of the sparrow on Ivy’s roof (same as above) and comment.