Chris Farthing’s Woodberry bird highlights: November 2019
November is a month where not much bird movement happens in the absence of extreme weather conditions. It was a generally wet and mild month and consequently birding highlights were thin on the ground. It was the first month of the year when no new birds were added to the yearly total.
One significant event during the month was the dispersal of the five mute swan cygnets (main picture above) which hatched here in May and moved on at just over six months old. Hopefully they will have found their way to a patch of water without a breeding pair of adult swans.
In duck news, the first shelduck (picture 1 below) of winter were seen on the 11th, a pair which spent much of the morning here. Shoveler were present most days but only in low numbers, up to four. Teal (2) were seen all month in variable numbers, with the highest count of ten possibly being a site record.
Water rails could be heard squealing from the reed-bed all month. It is difficult to know numbers but the squeals have been heard from three distinct areas, and each of these territories may harbour one or two birds. Snipe have been equally difficult to see, with the maximum count being two.
The adult yellow-legged gull which was regular through October was only seen once in November, on the 6th. Common gull (3) numbers continued to rise through the month and probably reached close to three figures by the end of the month.
Kingfisher sightings have been regular all month, and all indications are that after two fairly barren winters for the species here, sightings are returning to historical levels.
Tit flocks can be productive at this time of the year and although no rarities were found amongst them, goldcrests have been very regular as well as the odd chiffchaff. Coal tits are also being seen frequently.
Finch numbers always rise in winter and there are now around six chaffinches seen regularly along the woodland trail. A small flock of linnets was also seen passing through on the 5th. Other birds seen passing through were the occasional small group of both redwing and fieldfare, and a female blackcap which was seen on the 30th. A pair of reed bunting (4) have been seen regularly together in the reed-bed and will hopefully stay and breed here in 2020.
The total number of bird species seen here in November was 60, an identical total to November 2018, and one less than the 2017 total.
[Photos by Chris Farthing]