THIS spring, bird lovers will get a rare opportunity to catch sight of the elusive hawfinch on the Sizergh Estate, near Kendal.

Hawfinches are native to the UK but rarely seen out in the open, preferring the cover of dense woodland to gardens and parks. At this time of year, though, they emerge to find a mate and to feed on the fallen seeds of the hornbeam trees found at Sizergh Castle.

The café’s veranda is one of the top spots in the North of England to see these shy birds, and on certain dates National Trust ranger Rob Pocklington will be on hand to provide expert guidance on how best to catch a glimpse.

Get there early, between dawn and 10am, or join one of the free hawfinch watches on Friday and Saturday mornings from March 13 to April 4, 8am-10am. On these days the café will be open earlier, from 9.30am.

Lucy Tickle

Senior marketing and communications officer, National Trust