Exploring other aspects of Compton Verney

Compton Verney offers many things to many people, be it the permanent collections or the present British Folk Art exhibition. There’s also the extremely wide range and offer of educational activities, talks and workshops and a great cafe and restaurant! The outside environment however (as you’d expect if you know Compton Verney) holds other aspects to explore.

On this occasion I’m not referring to the substantial lake or angling, (although this will be featured in a blog post coming very soon), and I’m not referring to wild flower meadows, ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, veteran trees or ice houses! I am of course talking about bird life – the fascinating and, as we’re finding out – the incredibly wide range of bird life that passes through or resides at Compton Verney.

Our new-found knowledge has been compiled by our volunteer wildlife recorder Alwyn Knapton, who has been visiting all year with notebook, camera and binoculars. On the worst of days, Alwyn still managed to record an impressive 25 separate species, which occurred on a number of visits during July and August. The best day however saw 39 species make it into the notebook on the 20th May 2014 – the increase due to the breeding season.

A summary of birds found across Compton Verney:

  • East Park Meadow (Species vary depending on height of meadow grass)
    • Rook, Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Wood Pigeon, Skylark, Kestrel, Buzzard, Finch. + 6 spot Burnet moth and range of Damselflies and Dragonflies, and deer activity present.
  • Ice House Coppice (Woodland Garden Area)
    • Many species of birds including Tit family, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Tree Creeper, Spotted Flycatcher, Jay, Redpoll, Siskin, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Tawny Owl, Firecrest. + Purple Hairstreak, Speckled Wood, Grey Squirrel, Rabbit, Grass Snake, and various deer.
  • Upper Pool (Mostly observed from bridge with binoculars)
    • Reed Warblers, Coot, Moorhen, Heron, Sedge Warbler, Chiff-Chaff, Willow Warbler, Kingfisher, Mallard and Tufted Duck, Canada and Grey Lag Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan.
  • Buildings (Gallery/Chapel etc)
    • House Martin and Wagtail (around old stable block and learning centre), Kestrel and Little Owl (pellets found around gallery), House Sparrow, Spotted Flycatcher, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Wren, Tit Family. + Bat droppings regularly found. (Noctule bat colony recently found in/around the large Lime tree grove).
  • Lawns
    • Green Woodpecker, Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Pheasant. + Butterflies – Common Blue, tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and more.

Many thanks indeed to Alwyn for surveying our wildlife and helping us to increase our understanding of this important Local Wildlife Site.

Hopefully, the above list has tempted you to consider a visit to the wonderful landscape garden that is Compton Verney – a really special location in south Warwickshire. I love it and I’m convinced that for the serious and amateur bird watcher alike, along with folks keen to enjoy a little weekend fresh air – we have something for everyone.

Families – don’t forget there are Explore Nature Packs available from the gallery (recommended for ages 3+) to help younger visitors locate and identify wildlife.

Check out the Season Pass & Membership options if you’re thinking of visiting regularly!


Great Crested Grebe on the Middle Pool at Compton Verney. © Compton Verney/ Gary Webb 2014


Regards – Gary Webb, Head of Landscape & Garden at Compton Verney.