Birds

The Heath benefits from a variety of native birds, as well as some migrants. Traditionally numbers grow until May. Below is a selection of some of the birds that can be seen on and around the Heath.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
barnowl Following sightings of barn owls hunting the field hedges over the years, we have installed 4 barn owl boxes in trees around the edge of the heath. The boxes have hosted various species such as jackdaws, starlings and squirrels, but we were proud to witness the rearing of two chicks, which were born in one of the boxes in summer 2016.
The Barn Owl has a distinct heart shaped face and buff back, and pure white under parts. Feeding on mice, voles and shrews, the sighting of this bird on the heath indicates a diverse ecology.

Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus)
bluetit A common bird, this can be seen throughout the year. Nesting in holes in trees in the woodland sections of the heath, Bluetits feed on insects, caterpillars and nuts.

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
bullfinch The Bullfinch can be seen all year around, particularly in at the edge of woodlands. The male has a distinct pinkish-red breast and cheeks, grey back, black cap and tail, with a bright white rump. They feed on the buds of various trees in spring, and insects for their young.

Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
buzzard Britain's most common bird of prey and can be frequently seen gliding over the heath, which also provides ample nesting.

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
chiffchaff A small olive-brown warbler, that can be seen flitting between trees and shrubs, with a distinctive tail-wagging and song. Eats insects from trees and in flight.

Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
nightingale A little larger that robins, it has a robust broad tail, with a plain brown colour. Its song is particularly noteworthy, that is unmatched by most birds with a fast succession of high, low rich notes.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
robin Possibly Britain's favourite bird and one of the most easily recognised. The young do have spotted golden brown breast. While having a cute appearance, they protect their territory with some aggression. They can be seen all year round.

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
songthrush Becoming rarer across the whole country, the song thrush can be found in good numbers on and around the open grassland areas. One will greet you in Spring as you start to leave the car park for your walk. Its song is loud and musical, which it repeats in quick succession.

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
songthrush Willow warblers are becoming less common generally, but each year there is a good population breeding on the heath. They look similar to the chiffchaff and arrive a bit later, in late March or early April. Their song cascades down from the trees, in short bursts of descending notes.

Linnet (Carduelis cannabinas)
linnet The linnet is distinguishable in Spring and summer by the pink highlights on its chest. It often perches on the high gorse near the road, and feeds on seeds and small insects on the grass in summer and the trees in winter. It has a rich, musical, varied warbling song and twitters in flight.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
songthrush The heath, with its light sandy soil, provides a rich food source for the sparrowhawk, with the many small mammals that make their home in holes which they can easily dig.

Sparrowhawks regularly nest in trees and can be seen spiralling above open areas while hunting (as opposed to the kestrel which hovers).

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