An attractive yet inaccurately named bird, bearded tits are neither bearded nor a tit. The males are actually moustached (think wrestler Hulk Hogan) and the species’ closest relatives – surprisingly – are now considered to be larks. October is prime time for watching bearded reedlings (as they are properly known) in their favoured reedbeds. With breeding complete, families become less secretive and flock together. ‘Beardies’ also change their diet, switching from insects to reed seeds. To aid digestion, they take in grit – often from grit trays installed by savvy reserve wardens.
TOP TIP Listen for the birds’ ringing ‘ching, ching’ calls.