Welcome to the BBOWT blog

Get an insider's view into the work of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust. Find out what conservation work we're carrying out and meet some of the wonderful people, from our reserves staff to our trainees, that are behind everything we do.

Email updates

Sign up to get new posts in your RSS Reader

Smartphone Safari

Every weekend on BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC Radio Oxford we broadcast a Smartphone Safari. Listen along as we explore some of our fantastic reserves and introduce you to the wildlife you can see. 

My Wild Wish

What are your 2018 wishes for wildlife? Take a look at #MyWildWish collection created by the BBOWT team and friends. 

Back to blog listings


Our top 10 wildlife sightings in October

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Friday 29th September 2017 by bbowtblog

Blackbird feeding on rowan by Margaret HollandBlackbird feeding on rowan by Margaret Holland

Leaves are changing colour and migrant birds are arriving; all signalling autumn is here. Find out which wildlife to look for this month across our nature reserves.

1 Autumn colours

Woodlands are turning shades of gold, orange and bronze and the ground is covered with fallen leaves. Use our handy id chart below to identify from which tree the fallen leaves have come - click on the image to download the full pdf.

We’d love to see your photos showing the colours of autumn on our nature reserves; share them with us on Twitter and Facebook

2 Berries and nuts

Hedgerows, shrubs and trees are full of berries, fruits and nuts, which birds and small mammals are feasting on. You might see some jays and squirrels burying nuts to eat when it gets colder and food is scarce.

If you find nibbled nuts you can work out who’s been eating them with our spotter sheet below, click on the image to download the full sheet. 

3 Fungi

Look for fungi growing in all sorts of different places from dead trees and fallen branches to the woodland floor and even grassland. Remember, some fungi can be deadly if eaten so it’s best to leave them for others to admire too. Find out more about fungi in Berks, Bucks and Oxon with this handy guide.

Here are some fungi to look out for this autumn, click on the image to download the full sheet.

4 Blackbirds

During the autumn the number of blackbirds in Britain increases dramatically as many birds from northern Europe come here for the winter, where conditions are milder. Blackbirds, and other thrushes, like feeding on windfall apples in gardens, so don’t tidy them all way! 

5 Linnets and goldfinches 

Look out for mixed flocks of goldfinches (left) and linnets (right) feeding on seed heads of plants, such as thistles and teasel, particularly around farmland.

6 Meadow pipits

During the autumn and winter meadow pipits move further south in Britain, where conditions are milder than the uplands they live in during summer. Look out for small flocks of them on farmland and areas of grassland.

7 Merlins

Merlins are the UK’s smallest bird of prey. During the winter months they move south from upland areas towards the coast and lowland areas inland. Look for them hunting small birds in open countryside. This short video from the British Trust for Ornithology will help you tell merlins apart from kestrels.

8 Robins

You might notice more robins around during the autumn and winter. Juvenile robins are starting to get their red breasts so they become more recognisable as robins, and other robins are arriving here from northern Europe. Some of these will stay and spend the winter in Britain while others are passing through on their way to southern Europe or North Africa.

9 Spiders

Autumn is a good time to look for spiders in gardens, along hedgerows and in heathland. Look out for the huge variety of spiders and their webs. Can you spot some of the different ones on our spotter sheet? Click on the image to download the full pdf.

10 Wild clematis

Wild clematis becomes more noticeable in the autumn thanks to the fluffy seed heads; hedgerows can be covered with this climber as it scrambles over shrubs. Finches feed on the seed heads and many different species will use the fluffy seed heads for nesting material in the spring. The distinctive silky hairs on the seed heads give it its common name of 'old man’s beard'.

Things to do

  • See which of our nature reserves are at their best this month.
  • Find a nature reserve near you with the Wildilfe Trusts' Nature Finder app for iphone and Android
  • Share your photos of our reserves with us on Twitter and Facebook or upload them to our Flickr gallery
  • Oxfordshire photographer Andrew Marshall's book Photographing wildlife in the UK (published by Fotovue) includes advice on how to take great wildlife photographs. The book includes top locations for photographing wildlife and some images that were taken on BBOWT nature reserves (Greenham Common, Chimney Meadows, Foxholes and College Lake).
  • Sign up to our e-newsletter and stay up-to-date with our news about local wildlife
  • Our experts work with over 1,400 volunteers to look after over 80 nature reserves, four education centres and run hundreds of amazing events. We rely on the generosity of individuals, charitable trusts and businesses. Help us look after these precious places for your local wildlife by donating today.
  • Download our autumn wildlife detective sheet for some other wildlife to look out for this month. Will you spot them all?

Read bbowtblog's latest blog entries.