Badger playtime

This is the time of year when badgers bring their cubs out of the sett for the first time. The weather is warmer and the cubs are now three or four months. This pair (male and female) entice their cubs out to be groomed and to play.

April, come he will…

Has any body heard a cuckoo yet?

The rhyme is a traditional nursery rhyme


All over the reserve, all sorts of seeds are germinating.


There is a rabbit warren under the hedge where Corn Field, Sheep Field and Sleepers meet. Its many entrances and exits are hidden under the brambles but you may well have walked atop the warren itself.


Tardigrades have been found everywhere in Earth’s biosphere, from the highest mountaintops to the deepest sea  and from tropical rainforests to the Antarctic. There are sure to be some, somewhere, in the reserve’s ponds, going quietly about their business.

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The winter thrushes

Fieldfare (Turdus pilarus) and redwing (Turdus musicus), migratory thrushes from mainland Europe, are common winter visitors to the park. They are easily confused; here is a video to help you distinguish the two species.

Header picture: Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) by Teresa Reynolds (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Time-lapse fungi

None of these species of fungus are local, in fact they all come from the other side of the planet. But this is such stunning time-lapse photography by Australian Stephen Axford that we felt you should see it.

Header image by our own wildlife photographer Simon Knight.


Although we haven’t yet found a nest, there are always European hornets working somewhere in the reserve. Here is an astonishing video of hornets in flight.

Video by nature photographer, Lothar Lenz, published by Caters Clips.

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.

Swallows, swifts and martins

The swallows, house martins and swifts have all returned now and are hunting for winged insects over the reserve. Here is a short video to help you tell the three species apart.

Easter Bunny

For decades there has been a rabbit warren in the hedge between Sleepers Field and Cornfield, in the stretch from the picnic place to Puddle Corner. Here’s a video that shows how astonishingly complex such a warren can be.

Header image: rabbit (CC0) from

We have been working with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Water Team to establish great crested newt habitat in the reserve. Here is a video of what we hope might be happening somewhere in one of our ponds.


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

Buff tailed bumblebees

The aerodynamically unlikely buff tailed bumblebee queens are already out of hibernation and buzzing around between the park’s spring flowers. Here is a video about their surprising flying skills:

This is the time when great crested newts emerge from their winter hibernation.

Here is a video following a female newt’s search for a mate and the ideal conditions in which to lay her eggs. We are hoping that our newly established pond (see here, here and here) will attract this rare and endangered species to breed in the reserve.

On the twelfth day of Christmas

The park’s twelve drummers drumming are great spotted woodpeckers. They begin drumming at the end of winter as part of a courtship ritual in which the male marks out his territory and advertises his presence. He drums his beak against hollow wood 10 to 20 times in just 2 seconds, and the females replies briefly as she enters his territory.

Here is a video:

Video recorded in March 2019 by George Ewart

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