Late show seasons to be cheerful
THE trees seem reluctant to give up their leaves this winter. As I write, looking out of the window it would be easy to think it was the start of October with the oaks appearing fully clothed in yellowing leaves. This extra, prolonged cover is providing
THE trees seem reluctant to give up their leaves this winter. As I write, looking out of the window it would be easy to think it was the start of October with the oaks appearing fully "clothed" in yellowing leaves.
This extra, prolonged cover is providing plenty of shelter for late insects and birds. We seem to be some time away from the times when spotting smaller birds like treecreepers and goldcrests is a lot easier because of the bareness of the trees.
I have been recording so many "latest ever" dates for various things this month, including house martin on November 4, migrant hawker on November 8, and speckled wood and red admiral on November 9.
Insects may seem very delicate and vulnerable, but occurrences such as these remind us they are actually very hardy - and they need to be to survive.
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Most wintering birds have made an appearance now although, from a numbers point of view, there are still many more to arrive.
In fact, the arrival of wintering species happens over a lengthy period. They do not all arrive at once and are then present for the winter.
- 1 Turners ‘massively impacted’ and Knowles up pay to hire HGV drivers
- 2 Hunt is on to find stags that escaped from farm
- 3 Villagers team up to honour 'a real character'
- 4 ‘Enough is enough’ says MP at the scene of drink drive crash
- 5 Mobile upgrade work may cause TV interference
- 6 MP the “most handsome and kindest member of the government’
- 7 Sex offender caught with 76 of most serious child abuse photos
- 8 ‘Tired and dated’ road can only get better with our 40 new homes, say builders
- 9 Jail for paedophile who booked hotel to abuse three children
- 10 ‘High risk’ paedophile had indecent images of children on his phone
Arrivals continue all through the winter into February, when we may get influxes of wild geese, so numbers are constantly changing.
Cold weather on the continent brings in fresh arrivals, while food shortages or particularly hard weather here may see them head to the continent and abandon us.
Birds regularly move around in response to the weather, too. On the rare occasions we do get proper winter weather now, you may well see flocks of thrushes, lapwings, golden plovers and others flying purposefully in formation, heading to new places.
Where are all the hedgehogs? I only hope you have been seeing more than I have. I can't recall the last time I saw one, dead or otherwise, which is extremely worrying. I honestly don't think I have seen one all year.
This shortage must be related to lack of food (slugs are a favourite of these spiny shufflers). It can't be a case of poor observational skills from me, as I'm not seeing the usual sad sight of squashed individuals as road traffic casualties either.
Hopefully, it isn't the case everywhere and it just happens that I have been spending a lot of time in hedgehog-less zones.
Of course, most are in hibernation now, so it will probably be several months before I do, finally, get to see one of my favourite mammals again.