Birding at Hetton Lyons Country Park

Birding at Hetton Lyons Country Park

One of our education leaders, John, reminisces on an exciting day of bird watching at Hetton Lyons Country Park, whilst leading one of our Healing Nature events. Read about his experience below!

The strong midday sunshine made for lovely conditions for our Healing Nature birdwatch at Hetton Lyons. Once the site of a thriving mining community, nature has since reclaimed the site and with careful site management, the ponds and nearby bushes host a wealth of wildlife wonders.

Out of the large pond, pochard and tufted ducks mingled with a fledged family of little grebes (dabchicks), while the army of mallards and mute swans congregated nearer the shore. Coots and moorhen crept through the reeds, teaching their young how to surreptitiously avoid predator detection.

Hetton Lyons

Photo by Alexander Permain

Despite being a birdwatch event, the stars of the day were the late summer dragonflies, with crisp Common Darters zipping in-between their larger Chaser and Emperor cousins at the lakeside.

Proof that summer is waning came from only two swallows over the smaller ponds and a distinct lack of bird song from the surrounding hawthorn shrubs. Some Bullfinches and shy sparrows occasionally shot across the paths while late on in the day a heron soared overhead just a buzzard mewed – but remained in hiding.

The resident parent Mute Swans, using one of the smaller lakes as their nursery, led their three not-so-small cygnets around the lake periphery.

What a glorious, tranquil afternoon!


We have more bird-watching walks and other wildlife walks planned for the winter season. Please visit Events | Durham (  to find out more.

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