There are two species of thrush resident in the reserve: song thrush (Turdus philomelos) and mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus).  Here is how to tell them apart:

Cheryl Cronnie asks if this is a house sparrow (Passer domesticus) or a tree sparrow (Passer montanus) that she has photographed in the reserve.

Read on to find out

In response to yesterday’s fledglings, somebody sent me a link to a YouTube video of great tits leaving their nest. The screen is split so that you can see the inside and the outside of the nest box at the same time.


The reserve is full of little brown birds. Small and brown seems to be some kind of default programme for birds and accurate identification can depend on an extra millimetre in a  brown tail feather or the exact shade of a brown eye-stripe. Until they are otherwise identified, the RSPB calls them all LBJs: Little Brown Jobs.

Continue reading “LBJ”

Meet the Robin Family

by Cheryl Cronnie

There’s a little story behind the robin in this picture, whom I’ve called Rocky Robin. I’ve been feeding him since the end of August 2021. 

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A willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) photographed in the reserve by Cheryl Cronnie.

Audio: Willow Warbler by Stephen Barlow (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Park photography

by Simon Knight

There’s not a huge amount of easy-to-spot insect life at the moment. There will be the odd butterfly or two about: speckled wood, peacock, brimstone, small white, comma, green-veined white and holly blue. I managed to photograph this perfect male green-veined white in the picnic area whilst deliberating over whether to continue to feed the birds in the picnic area.

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Song thrush

A song thrush singing from its perch right at the top of one of the reserve’s oak trees, photographed by Ian Bushell.

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) recorded by David Bisset (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Long-tailed tit

by Simon Knight

This past weekend I had an amazing afternoon in the park watching a pair of hardworking, caring and protective parents. It was one of the best wildlife moments that I have had this year. As you can see from the pictures, the parents were long-tailed tits who, in my opinion, win the award for ‘cutest bird’. 

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Identifying small brown birds

Sun 24/04/2022 09:39 From Suzanne to Ali and Ian
Good morning,
This is another of the pictures sent by Cheryl Cronnie, who is a photographer rather than a ornithologist. Is this a twite?

Continue reading “ID”


The Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is tiny, only the goldcrest and the firecrest are smaller among British birds, but it has an enormous voice, apparently ten times louder, weight for weight, than a cockerel.

Audio: Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) by Lars Edenius from xeno

Images: taken in the reserve by Cheryl Cronnie


A Eurasian blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) photographed in the reserve last week by Cheryl Cronnie.

Audio by David Bissett from

One of the reserve’s greater spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) photographed by Cheryl Cronnie.


At this time of year, the reserve’s blue tits are building nests in holes in our old trees. The ash tree at Fiveways harbours a nest every year and the fenced oak near the bottom of the Arboretum seems to have attracted more than one pair already.

Here is a video of a female blue tit building a nest while, outside, the male guards the site from marauders and thieves.

Video from The Nest Box
Header picture by Simon Knight

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