As the seasons change and the birds around the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire 500-acre estate start to migrate, there is no better time to experience the property’s unique SWAROVSKI OPTIK Birdwatching experience.
Introduced in collaboration with SWAROVSKI OPTIK, a world-leader manufacturer of long-range optics, to offer guests a fun and sustainable way to discover wild birds in their natural habitats, here, renowned Ornithologist John Clark shares just what guests will encounter on one of the walks this season.
“Warblers, swallow and martins have started their long journey to tropical Africa, while birds which come to us for the winter are arriving in force, “John explains.
Guests who stroll down to the property’s historic Tundry Pond, will be pleased to see a big increase in the number of birds.
“Shovelers are busy feeding on the surface of the water while Tufted Ducks are diving for mussels, their favourite food. A squadron of 30 Cormorants are diving in unison to try to herd fish into an area where they can catch them. Having taken their fill, they fly up into a large oak tree to dry their wings and others perch on a low fence. Several Great Crested Grebes, still in their summer breeding dress, can be seen diving for fish as well. House Martins and Swallows are feeding for insects low over the pond before they continue their journeys to the south. As well as the ubiquitous Grey Heron, two more exotic members of its family are present. A Great White Egret, a stunning bird with all-white plumage and a dagger-shaped yellow bill, was fishing along the shore with six Little Egrets, which are smaller with a black bill. Little Egrets spread into the UK from France and Spain about 30 years ago and are now quite commonplace; the Great White Egret has recently colonised but is as yet only nesting in a few secret places.”
Further afield on the estate, there is more to be seen with Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire’s resident Buzzards, Kestrels and Red Kites, often joined by a Peregrine Falcon or Sparrowhawk. John continues “Owls are elusive, but three species occur in the park – Barn, Tawny and Little. There is always a chance of seeing a Little Owl as they can be active during the short winter days. And winter is the best time for seeing small birds such as thrushes, finches, Nuthatches, Treecreepers and woodpeckers because the deciduous trees have shed their leaves. It’s also a good time to see a flash of blue on the pond or nearby Basingstoke Canal – Kingfishers are regularly seen.”
The SWAROVSKI OPTIK Birdwatching experience offers guests the chance to see these elusive birds on the guided walk with a pair of high-quality CL Companion 8 x 30 or 10 x 30 binoculars, providing high-precision optics which fit perfectly in the hand. The guided bird walk can also be enjoyed alongside the Hotel’s additional wide variety of activities on offer to guests including fishing, croquet, tennis, falconry and cycling. The estate’s original 18th-century stable block is home to a luxurious spa, a 20 metre (65 foot) indoor conservatory swimming pool, an outdoor vitality pool and the Hotel’s family adventure pool, Sharkie’s Reef.
Prices from GBP 150 for groups up to five people – booking essential – contact 01252 853000.
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Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
Set within 500 acres and surrounded by 1,000 years of history, escape to Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire to experience the very best of English countryside living. Located only an hour from London, the Hotel is perfectly positioned for both overnight and day getaways from the capital. Equestrian facilities house horses and ponies, with instructors on site, and other recreational activities include fishing, croquet, tennisfalconry and cycling. The Estate’s original 18th century stable block is home to a luxurious spa, a 20 metre indoor conservatory swimming pool, an outdoor vitality pool and the Hotel’s new family adventure pool, Sharkie’s Reef.
About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Founded in 1960, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is dedicated to perfecting the travel experience through continual innovation and the highest standards of hospitality. Currently operating 116 hotels, resorts and residences in major city centres and resort destinations in 47 countries, and with more than 50 projects under planning or development, Four Seasons consistently ranks among the world’s best hotels and most prestigious brands in reader polls, traveller reviews and industry awards. For more information and reservations, visit fourseasons.com
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About SWAROVSKI OPTIK
SWAROVSKI OPTIK, headquartered in Absam, Tyrol, is part of the Swarovski group of companies. Founded in 1949, the Austrian company specialises in the development and manufacturing of long-range optical instruments of the highest precision in the premium segment of the market. The binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, and optronic instruments are products of choice for demanding users. The company’s success is based on its innovative strength, the quality and intrinsic value of its products, and their functional and esthetic design. The appreciation of nature is an essential part of its company philosophy and is reflected commendably in its environment-friendly production and its long-term commitment to selected nature conservation projects. The turnover in 2019 was 158.7 million euros (2018: 156.3 million euros), with an export ratio of 91%. The company has around 980 employees. For more information, visit www.swarovskioptik.com