Weather: The sunshine was the most notable feature this month, ranking as the 9th sunniest November since records began, back in 1929. Most areas had above average sunshine hours, but it still wasn’t as sunny as last year. It was also a colder than average month for the UK overall. Rainfall was below average for most, with the south east being the driest area of the country.
Places Visited: Amwell, Cheshunt and Rye Meads.
‘If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to
the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago.
If insects were to vanish the world would collapse into chaos.’
Thanks to the fine weather this month, it was much better on the trip front. Several visits to all three LVRP Reserves were made.
For some reason, the work at Amwell has been delayed, allowing people to visit during the week. When I eventually found out, I took full advantage, paying three visits in all.
The month started where the previous one ended, with visits to Rye Meads. It started well, with a sighting of a pair of Water Pipits, outside the Gadwall Hide. They were quite possibly the same ones from last season.
There were also lots of Wagtails about, Grey as well as Pied; while Kingfisher showings were starting to get less and less. A pair of Stonechats showed up on the goalposts in the HMWT meadow. Redwings continued to flourish, but I have still to see any Fieldfare.
Next up, was a trip to Cheshunt. I had intended to head even further south, to the London Wetland Centre, but problems with the trains changed my mind on that particular morning. It happened again, towards the end of the month, so hopefully, by next month, they will have sorted it all out.
Bitterns were being seen regularly, from the aptly-named Bittern Hide. However, not on the one occasion I was there. Water Rails were good value, though. A pair bickered over feeding rights, giving me good views of their constant squabbling. A pair of Reed Buntings flew around the phragmites. They seem to have been a bit sparse this year.
The Feeders were doing good business, with birds coming and going all the time. As did a few people. From the Hide that is, not the feeders.
Elsewhere, a pair of Kingfishers flashed up and down the relief channel and there were good views of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Unfortunately, despite exhaustive searching, I couldn’t find any Goosander in the surrounding area.
When I heard that Amwell was still open for business I headed down, making three visits in a row.
Goldeneyes had turned up, albeit at the far end of the lake, outside the Gladwin Hide, where the great unwashed weren’t allowed to venture. Red Kite and Sparrowhawk were seen on regular occasions, above Easneye Wood.
A Water Rail gave a wonderful close-up view, in the sunshine, outside the James Hide, where Phil the Pheasant showed up again! It’s been a long time, Phil.
There could only be one reason - because the Feeders were now being regularly topped up again, thanks to Mary & Katy. Other than the regulars, they also brought in Coal Tit & Marsh Tit. Though, the Reed Buntings were conspicuous by their absence.
The walks through the Woodland were disappointing, with very few birds on show, other than single Redwing and Goldcrest. However, on the final visit of the month, a flock of Siskin flew through, stopping off at the Alders. They were my first of the season.
Waterfowl were still arriving, but still arriving in low numbers. I can only hope that, due to the mild weather, they are staying where they are. It will be interesting to see if they turn up if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Snipe showed up again, early in the month, while Water Rails started to appear on regular occasions, almost everywhere. Gulls started to appear in large numbers, especially at roosting time at Amwell.
It was a little better on the mammal front this month. A Fox was seen sunning itself at Amwell, quite near to a Muntjac, who are now starting to appear regularly. A lively pair of Bank Voles were seen under the Feeders, outside the James Hide.
The absence of anything else, i.e. invertebrates was tempered by the disappearance of the painters & decorators, plus their scaffolding, outside my place. They vanished and lo, there was light and silence prevailed once more.
All in all, a much better month. The first snow fell on the last day of the month, albeit a few flakes. The coming big freeze should hopefully force the Bitterns out of hiding. I know there will be a big freeze – the Daily Express said so.
‘If a quote appears on Twitter, it is likely to be misattributed.’ Cicero.
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