NOVEMBER – What to look out for
Welcome to November!
The clocks have gone back, so dusk comes early in November. The first frosts have arrived and the trees are rapidly losing their leaves….but it’s a good time for wildlife spotting. Winter visitors are streaming in, so there’s lots to look out for!
The North Pools
As the cold sets in further north and east, many ducks fly in to enjoy our milder winters. We do regular monitoring counts on the reserve and the charts of the duck numbers on the North Pools clearly show this happening.
Both these species breed on the reserve, so they are here all the year round, but their numbers on the North pools are bigger in the winter months.This will be due to local birds moving to the North Pools where there is safety and lots of food, but also their numbers will be boosted by extra birds coming in to join them from elsewhere.
|These two species spend their summer further north and just visit us in the winter.The numbers that reach us will depend on how harsh the winter is elsewhere.
Will this year bring bigger numbers? The October counts looked good, but we’ll have to wait until December or January to know for sure!
The South Pool
Recent management work has opened up the South Pool and the water levels have increased with the wet weather. The South Pool hide is a great place to sit and search for Snipe. Snipe numbers also increase in the winter, but they are hard to spot amongst the tussocky grasses because of their amazing camouflage. They have impressively long beaks for their size and fly away with a zig-zag flight if disturbed.
The count on 27th October also saw the first winter thrushes – a flock of Redwings. Look out for big flocks of both Redwings, Fieldfares and Blackbirds on the Hawthorn trees around the reserve as they swoop in to strip the trees of their berries or “haws”. Some years the crop has almost gone by the end of the month!
As well as hawthorn berries there are lots of other seeds to look out for. Keep any eye out for these on the reserve, of course, the hungry wildlife might get them first!
The weather might not always be friendly in November, but a visit to the reserve is always worth the effort. You never know what you might see!
Images: some supplied by “Friends” others are courtesy of www.pixaby.com thank you all!