long tailed titsThe nature reserve has now settled into autumn and I took a walk around the reserve to see how some of the areas not covered by the webcams had been changing. Many of the trees have now shed their leaves and changed colour but why?

Well, they do this to conserve water and energy during the winter.

Some vegetation has naturally died back while others have been cut as part of the management that keeps the reserve healthy and balanced. There are many blackbird and robin making themselves known by their loud and melodic calls. A noisy feeding party of long tailed tits crossed my path on more than one point during my walk.

Many of the foot paths are muddy and filled with large puddles of water. An annoyance for us humans but provide an easily accessible water source for wildlife. A I turned a corner I inadvertently disturbed a pair of moorhens Every now and then a rabbit would hop off into the cover of the longer vegetation.

I followed a narrow path that leads through a wooded areas away from the more regularly used all-weather public footpath. This area was alive with bird activity. There were many noisy long tailed tits, blue tit and great tit foraging in the branches. There was a large pool of water that seemed to be a focus for many birds and even a rabbit.

goldcrestAs I watched a tiny gold crest made its way thorough the branches. The goldcrest is the smallest of our UK songbirds. They are a dull greyish-green with a pale belly and a stripe on their heads. The black-bordered crest stripe is orange in the male and yellow in the female. There is also a whitish wing bar. The goldcrest has a thin beak and feeds on insects, spiders and similar prey. Goldcrest are present in the UK throughout the year but may be joined by goldcrest winter migrants.

There was also a small flock of red wings, a winter migrant, which be the subject of a later post.

Back in the pool blackbirds took it in turns to bath

As I was filming this clip, a movement caught my eye, a robin hoped from behind the log in front of me. Just a  few inches from my feet it looked up at me and then hopped off continuing its search for food.

dunockAt first glance the dunnock can easily be mistaken for a sparrow, but the dunnock has a distinctive blue-grey head and breast.

Unlike the omnivore beak of the sparrow, dunnock have a thin beak and feeds on insects, spiders and other leaf litter invertebrates.