Nature Report – W/e 10th Nov 2013

Dull November brings the blast, Then the leaves are whirling fast. – Sara Coleridge


What a change this week has brought in the weather.  The winds are now exceedingly chilling to the bone.  However the pure blue sunny skies have been very much welcomed these last couple of days.  I swear I even smelt snow in the air the other day but it was no more than that. I can certainly see winter is just a hop and a skip away but if all the days until next April continued like this I’d be one happy chappy.


I’ve managed to cover playing fields, parks, woods and even a river side this week.  It sounds more busy than it really is.  In reality I’ve just tried to encompass as many habitats as possible in my day to day comings and going.  The river walk was as I went to work one day while the rest have been covered pretty well in walks with Mouse.  The clear weather has helped to get me (and the pooch) out and about so much.


The bird feeders saw a little more action this week, although the front feeders are still being emptied way quicker than the back ones.  On the front feeders I saw a total of six house sparrows in one sitting.  On the back I saw various blue tits and great tits  I saw one appearance by the male black bird but that was it.  The rest of the time was filled with the ring neck doves and the giant wood pigeon.  I can hear and recognise the robin call well now.  He keeps making his entrance mid-morning on the table.

At the river I spotted a ‘gaggle’ of geese, the photo’s (below) aren’t very good as I only had my phone on me at the time but I think they were Greylag Geese, although with more white in their plumage than I’d expect to see.  I also spotted one Moorhen and several Mallard ducks along the way too.

I watched a group of starlings very closely this week because every afternoon about 3pm they have started to gather on the telephone wires outside the window and they are fascinating to watch.  It starts with just the one bird, then 2 then 3, then 20, then 40 and in between the gathering numbers they suddenly all take off in a burst, fly around a bit and settle back while the group increases until suddenly they must just decide they are all there and off they fly together.  I wonder where they go?


When I was in the woods at the weekend I heard much rustling which, from a very quick glance, appeared to come from either a rabbit or something slightly larger.  It was hard to tell it was that quick.  I was hoping to spot deer but of course I wasn’t there early enough in the morning to catch that activity.

As the wood pile begins to be used at home we’ve uncovered what I think could be some kind of House Mouse restaurant.  A little space, on the wood pile, no more than 20cm’s circumference was covered with bits of green leaves, droppings and other tiny debris.  It doesn’t look like it could have been living there permanently as there were’t that many droppings (or bedding material) but you never know, maybe it just got disturbed.  I am sure I’ll see the Mouse in due course as the weather gets colder and it turns towards it attention towards the bird seed and the composter.  I wonder if  it’s because the garden recycling bin is next to the log pile that it had a quick food source with all the greenery?  I’ve certainly spotted it in there before.


Blackberries are still fruiting I saw along some sheltered areas.  I also noticed that while most ferns are dying back in the woods now, in sheltered areas they were very much alive and enjoying the recent wet spells.   Stinging nettles have made another occurrence in my garden, and the woods, with the milder weather but it wont be long before they die back too


I spotted a lot of trees this week, everything from beech to conifer, oak to maples.  What I’m not great at doing is recording them as there are so many!  At this time of year as the leaves begin to fall you tend to notice those with the leaves still on, like the beech tree.  The bark of the beech was beautiful so I took a picture of that too.


I was hoping to spot lichen this week but to no avail.  Either I’m looking in the wrong places, or I’m not looking properly at all.

At the park I spotted more mushrooms.  White ones that could have come straight from the supermarket although I still wasn’t tempted to try one!


I uncovered a lot of snails this week moving hardcore about in the garden and I also found a 7-spot ladybird in my chilli grow house but nothing more than that to catch my eye this week.


I took a  close look into the river as I walked along it last week but alas I could see no fishes. 😦


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