7 Dec 2016
There's a strange, end of term kind of feeling around Haddo at the moment…
Admittedly it's still a few weeks until the holidays but the shortening days seem to be filled with organising Christmas events, and all the exciting end of year admin (visitor surveys, events evaluation, spreadsheets, lots of spreadsheets…) that needs to be done before we start again in January. Thankfully the weather's been nice enough that I've had a few excuses to get away from Excel (did I mention there were a lot of spreadsheets?) and go for a walk around. There's still plenty to see if you're out and about during the day. The squirrels aren't desperate for food yet- the ground is still soft enough for them to dig up their autumn caches and there are still plenty of wild mushrooms around- but they're coming to the feeders fairly regularly. They're also feeding quite happily by the driveway completely unbothered by cars but usually legging it into the bushes as soon as I get the camera out…
The bird life around the park has changed noticeably over the past few weeks as well. We've yet again been bypassed by the Waxwings (although outside Aberdeenshire Council's landscape services building in Inverurie seems to be quite a popular spot for them) but there are Bullfinches and Long Tailed Tits and lots of Treecreepers dashing about in the woods. The far end of the lake is busy with wintering Wigeon and Goldeneye and the Dippers seem to have moved up from the fish pass to the quieter section of the Kelly Burn by the Scots Mile Bridge.
One thing to look out when it's cold is the wonderful delicate hair ice or frost flowers. We've blogged about this before but always worth sharing a few more pictures of. The ice seems to form on the same bits of dead wood every year, and behind the squirrel feeders seems to be a fairly reliable spot for it- just wait for a hard frost after a couple of wet days and get here before the sun comes out!
Christmas Carol concerts come thick and fast over the next week or so. We start with the Haddo Voices concert Friday night (tickets available on the door), then Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society Carols at 2pm and 4pm on Sunday 11th and Saturday 17th (4pm performance on Sunday already sold out). There are full details and links to the ticket sales on our Events page above.
On the other hand, if you want a few hours break from anything to do with tinsel or shopping then a week on Sunday we've got our final Winter Wildlife Wander of the year. It'll be a couple of nice, relaxing, mobile free hours out in the park. We can guarantee plenty of ducks and geese to look for on the lake and I'll be very disappointed if we don't come across at least a couple of red squirrels as well.
The walk costs £5 per person (under 12s free, not recommended for young children as there's quite a bit of walking and quite a lot of standing very quietly involved!) and you do need to book in advance. Just drop us an email at email@example.com or call 01651 851041 and leave a message.
If you're planning on visiting Haddo over Christmas and New Year then do have a quick look at our Christmas & New Year Opening Hours (on the visitor information page). The park, gardens and playground will be open as usual, Mrs Smiths, the NTS tearoom and the shop will all be closed so be prepared to bring a flask if you're after a hot drink!