Common birds on the Walk

The Walk provides a very valuable environment for local wildlife, not least its birds. As the reserve consists of mostly young, deciduous, open woodland, a high proportion of the birds on the Walk are tits, finches and thrushes, but other birds more typically associated with maturer woodland are also sometimes seen.

We are particularly pleased to have had a pair of Grey wagtails nesting at the Highgate end for the last few years. The Grey wagtail is now on the RSPB red list, affording it the highest conservation priority.

Kestrels were once reasonably common but as woodland has encroached on open ground, the opportunities to see their prey have diminished.



Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

A distinctive greyish warbler, the male has a black cap, and the female a chestnut one. Its delightful fluting song has earned it the name 'northern nightingale'. Although primarily a summer visitor birds from Germany and north-east Europe are increasingly spending the winter in the UK. They eat insects and berries. 
Photo: © Kevin B Agar

Blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus

A colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green makes the blue tit one of our most attractive and most recognisable garden visitors. In winter, family flocks join up with other tits as they search for food. A garden with four or five blue tits at a feeder at any one time may be feeding 20 or more. Seen all year round. Eats insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts.
Photo: © Neil Cheesman

Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

The male is unmistakable with his bright pinkish-red breast and cheeks, grey back, black cap and tail, and bright white rump. The flash of the rump in flight and the sad call note are usually the first signs of bullfinches being present. They feed voraciously on the buds of various trees in spring and were once a 'pest' of fruit crops. Seen all year round, they eat seeds, buds and insects (for young).
Photo: © Colin Pumfrett

Carrion crow Corvus corone

The all-black carrion crow is one of the cleverest, most adaptable of our birds. It is often quite fearless, although it can be wary of man. They are fairly solitary, usually found alone or in pairs. The closely related hooded crow has recently been split as a separate species. Carrion crows will come to gardens for food and although often cautious initially, they soon learn when it is safe, and will return repeatedly to take advantage of whatever is on offer.
Photo: © Kevin B Agar

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

The chaffinch is the UK's second commonest breeding bird, and is arguably the most colourful of the UK's finches. Its patterned plumage helps it to blend in when feeding on the ground and it becomes most obvious when it flies, revealing a flash of white on the wings and white outer tail feathers. It does not feed openly on bird feeders - it prefers to hop about under the bird table or under the hedge. You'll usually hear chaffinches before you see them, with their loud song and varied calls. Seen all year round. Eat insects and seeds.
Photo: © Nottsexminer

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

A small olive-brown warbler which actively flits through trees and shrubs, with a distinctive tail-wagging movement. Less bright than the similar willow warbler and readily distinguished by its song, from where it gets its name. Picks insects from trees and also flies out to snap them up in flight. Seen all year round, but most arrive in late March and depart in August and September. Eats insects.
Photo: © Nottsexminer

Dunnock Prunella modularis

A small brown and grey bird often confused with the sparrow. Quiet and unobtrusive, it is often seen on its own, creeping along the edge of a flower bed or near to a bush, moving with a rather nervous, shuffling gait, often flicking its wings as it goes. When two rival males come together they become animated with lots of wing-flicking and loud calling. Seen all year round. Eats insects, spiders, worms and seeds.
Photo: © Colin Pumfrett

Goldcrest Regulus regulus

With the firecrest, the goldcrest is the UK's smallest bird. They're dull greyish-green with a pale belly and a black and yellow stripe on their heads, which has an orange centre in males. Their thin beak is ideally suited for picking insects out from between pine needles.Seen any time of year, they eat tiny morsels like spiders, moth eggs and other small insect food.
Photo: © Howard Booty