Top 10 Facts: Waxwing

Winter visitor. Waxwings are winter visitors to Britain, migrating here from their breeding grounds in the boreal forest belt that stretches from Scandinavia, through Russia and across parts of North America. The numbers that reach the UK depend on the availability of berries on the Continent. In years where berry-crops fail, birds are forced to…

Top 10 Facts: Fly Agaric

Infamous. Amantia muscaria is one of the most recognisable fungi in the world. A recent study by European scientists, during which subjects were shown images of various mushrooms, found that respondents successfully identified the species on 96% of occasions. Common, white forms of fungi were successfully identified by only 53% of participants. Romanticised. The red…

Top 10 Facts: House Sparrow

A history of declines. Once one of Britain’s commonest birds, sparrow numbers have crashed in recent years, with London alone losing three-quarters of its sparrows between 1994 and 2000. Declines in rural sparrow populations are thought to be a result of changing farming practices, particularly the loss of Winter stubble, though the exact reasons for…

Top 10 Facts: Long-eared Owl

Communal Roosts. A unique characteristic of the Long-eared Owl is its tendency to roost communally during Winter. Usually solitary, this species has been known to gather in groups of between 2 to 20 individuals, usually in thick cover, but in some locations have been observed gathering in incredibly large numbers. A prime example of one such prominent…

Top 10 Facts: Willow Tit

Late discovery. The Willow Tit and the much more abundant Marsh tit are incredibly difficult to tell apart, even by professional birders. They are so similar, in fact, that they were once mistakenly believed to be a single species. Indeed, the Willow Tit was the last regular British breeding bird to be identified – only…

Top 10 Facts: Yew

One of the oldest wooden artefacts ever discovered by modern humans was made from Yew – a spearhead found in Essex dated at approximately 450,000 years of age. This particular spearhead was unearthed in 1911 at Clacton-on-sea and represents not only the oldest wooden find from the UK but one of the most significant worldwide.

Top 10 Facts: Surprising UK Non-Natives

American Bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus. Around twice the length of our native Common Frog, American Bullfrogs are most often identified by their loud, deep calls. Deemed a risk to British wildlife due to their tendency to prey on everything from small mammals and ducklings to other amphibians, Bullfrogs may also spread Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis – a form of Chytrid…