Our top 10 wildlife sightings in October

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.
Autumn colours

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.

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

See the best reserves for autumn colour

Autumn leaf spotting sheet

Click the image to download our autumn tree and leaf detective

Hazelnuts, sloes, elderberries and hawthorn berries CC

Berries and nuts

Hedgerows, shrubs and trees are full of berries, fruits and nuts, which birds and small mammals are feasting on.

Look out for jays and squirrels burying nuts to eat when it gets colder and food is scarce.



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. 

See the best reserves for autumn fungi

See if you can find a rainbow of fungi this autumn!

Blackbird feeding on rowan berries


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! 

Goldfinch and linnets

Goldfinches and linnets

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 like Wells Farm nature reserve.

Meadow pipit

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 at places like Chimney Meadows nature reserve.



Merlins are the UK’s smallest bird of prey, not much bigger than a blackbird. 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.



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.



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.

Find out more about spiders

Wild clematis

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'

Autumn wildlife detective

Click to download our autumn wildlife detective sheet

Download our autumn wildlife detective sheet for some other wildlife to look out for this month. Will you spot them all?


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