Aston Lodge Residents Association

Winter

What to see in November & December

For the birdwatcher this is the time for those winter thrushes from Scandinavia – Fieldfares and Redwings. But, large numbers of Blackbirds also come over to swell the local population. Initially they will feed on Hawthorn berries in the fields and hedgerows but, as those berries get eaten and the weather becomes colder, they often move into gardens.

Fieldfare
Fieldfare
Redwing
Redwing
Blackbird
Blackbird

One plant that remains in flower at this time is the Mahonia. It is much loved by Blue and Great Tits who visit the flowers to get at the nectar. It also has valuable berries in the summer.

Blue Tit on Mahonia Flower
Blue Tit on Mahonia Flower

If you are lucky, you might see a Blackcap on your feeders. These are birds from central Europe that are swapping their harsh winter for our less harsh one. Our birds move south.

Male Blackcap
Male Blackcap

Bird feeders in the garden are quite likely to attract Sparrowhawks

Male Sparrowhawk
Male Sparrowhawk

The Raven is one of the first birds to nest – usually in February – but they will be calling and displaying now. Look out for the diamond-shaped tail and the “tok tok tok” call as they fly over.

Raven
Raven

This is not the time for insects but on mild nights it is not unusual to see moths on the wing. They are usually aptly-named Winter Moths, whose green caterpillars drop from the trees on silken threads in the spring. You may find one on a lighted window.

Male Winter Moth
Male Winter Moth

If you are lucky you might see the aptly-named December Moth.

December Moth
December Moth

There are not many flowers to see now but, with global warming, we are seeing more out at this time. Here are a few that linger on.

Creeping Thistle
Creeping Thistle
Groundsel
Groundsel
Herb Robert
Herb Robert
Hogweed
Hogweed
Nipplewort
Nipplewort
Wood Avens
Wood Avens

Finally, do listen out for Pink-footed Geese flying over. They migrate from Iceland to the east coast from where they move westwards to the fields of Lancashire, often as a result of harsh conditions. North Staffs is well-placed to see these birds and we occasionally get flocks over the estate. They fly much higher than the commoner Canada Geese and sound a bit like yapping dogs.

Pink-footed Geese
Pink-footed Geese

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Copyright © - November 2021. Unless otherwise stated, images and text: David Emley. All rights reserved.