Blackbird song

Early though it may be, male blackbirds are already tuning up ready for the spring. These are birds that were hatched last year. Inexperienced and without established territories, they have a lot of songs to sing and battles to win if they are going to breed this year.

Common blackbird song recorded by Beatrix Saadi-Varchmin (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) xeno-canto.org

A very early song thrush has been practising his spring song from the ash tree at Fiveways.

Song thrush recorded by David Bisset in Essex UK (xeno-canto.org)

Fact of the week!

Eurasian wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) share territories during the winter, in particular they will share sheltered winter roosts, sometimes crowding together for warmth in nesting boxes. The record number of wrens seen leaving a nesting box after a cold night is sixty three.

Header image: wren by Cheryl Cronnie

Thrush

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:

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

Audio: Willow Warbler by Stephen Barlow (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) xeno-canto.org

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) xeno-canto.org

Wren

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 canto.org

Images: taken in the reserve by Cheryl Cronnie

Blackcap

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

Audio by David Bissett from xeno-canto.org

Robins, male and female, sing all year round but the male’s spring song is louder and more confident as he prepares to do battle for territory and a mate.

Header image by Simon Knight
Audio: European Robin from xeno-canto by david m.

Have the blackbirds started singing yet?

Young males will begin to sing this early in order to establish and defend the territory they hope hold for the rest of their lives. Older and more experienced birds will wait until February or March.

Four calling birds

Not calling birds, according to the experts, but colly birds. Colly is an old word for soot or coal dust and a colly bird is a blackbird. We have tuneful blackbirds by the dozen in the park.

Audio by Beatrix Saadi-Varchmin (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) xeno-canto.org

Blackcap

Since the 1960s, the number of Eurasian blackcaps that overwinter in the UK has got bigger and bigger. It’s no longer a rare sight to see them in the reserve in the middle of winter. The blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) is one of the rare species that sings all year round. Listen out for them:

Recording: Blackcap by Alexander Henderson (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) xeno-canto.org

Returning chiffchaffs

Has anybody heard our chiffchaffs yet? This is the time of year when they come back from the Mediterranean and Africa to nest in the park and their unmistakeable call is a welcome sign that spring is here. Message or email us if you have heard them .

All these pictures were taken in the park by DKG.

It might be cold but the robin at Fiveways is still singing.

Both pictures of the Fiveways robin were taken by DKG in 2019.
Recording by Beatrix Saadi-Varchmin CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) xeno-canto.org

There is a family of Eurasian wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) sharing a winter territory in the copse to the north east of the big pond. Have you seen them?

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