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Our top 10 wildlife sightings in November

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Friday 27th October 2017 by bbowtblog

spindleSpindle by Alastair Rae/flickr

Winter migrants are arriving to spend the winter here, and there are colourful plants and fungi to discover. Find out which wildlife to look for this month in our area.

1 Bittern


We are fortunate enough to have a bird, once extinct in Britain, now regularly seen in our area, particularly in winter as migrants move inland. The bittern is a thickset species of heron with incredible camouflage that helps it blend with its favoured habitat of reedbeds.

Time spent in a reedy area such as Calvert Jubilee, Cholsey Marsh, Thatcham Reedbeds could reward the patient birder. An added bonus whilst waiting for a bittern is hearing pig-like squeals from the reeds! This is the unmistakeable call of a water rail hiding in the vegetation.

2 Fieldfare


Flocks of fieldfare arrive in Britain to spend the winter months as our climate is warmer than northern and eastern Europe where they spend the summer. These thrushes have grey heads and can appear quite ‘upright’ on the ground. Look out for large flocks feeding on grassland, including playing fields, and in hedgerows nearby.

3 Flocks of long-tailed tits

Long-tailed tit

Look out for large, noisy flocks of busy long-tailed tits flitting around the trees as they search for insects to eat. The flocks are often joined by blue tits and great tits for safety in numbers from predators such as sparrowhawks looking for a meal! Long-tailed tits are easy to identify from their ‘si-si-si’ calls.

4 Redwing


Listen out for a high-pitched ‘tseep, tseep’ at night. It’s the sound of redwings flying high overhead as they arrive in Britain to spend the winter here. They have a distinctive creamy white eye stripe and orangey/red patch under their wing.

5 Teal 


These little ducks dabble around for food on lakes, reservoirs and rivers. The males have distinctive green markings on their face, and a creamy patch at the base of the tail. Birds that live here all year round are joined by more during the winter months. These winter visitors come for the milder climate.

6 Woodcock


Woodcock can be found in many woodlands or hedgerows in winter as they roost after long nights feeding on open pasture. If you walk by one you will not miss it as it bursts out from beneath your feet with some determination!

7 Mistletoe


Mistletoe is the most intriguing of our festive greenery and very visible on some trees at this time of year. This common semi-parasite of willow, poplar and apple trees has no roots, relying instead on its host plant for the majority of its food and water.

The word mistletoe comes from two Anglo Saxon words: ‘mistel’ or dung and ‘tan’ or stick, which accurately describes one of the ways in which mistletoe is planted into a tree. Birds that have eaten mistletoe berries then pass out the seeds in their droppings onto twigs and branches where they take root and grow.

8 Spindle


Spindle berries are unmissable with their clashing colours of shocking pink fruits bursting open to reveal orange seeds! Spindle often grows in hedgerows, alongside other trees and shrubs such as dogwood, guelder rose, hazel and hawthorn.

9 Frosty teasel

frosty teasel

On chilly mornings, plants and seed heads such as teasel can take on artistic frosty forms. It’s worth keeping seed heads standing in your garden through the winter, not only for their attractiveness for us on cold winter mornings, but for birds looking for food and insects that hide inside through the winter.

10 Fungi

Fly agaric

After a fairly dry October, fungi had a slow start this season. Keep an eye out after rainy days and nights as more fungi appear on rotting wood, woodland floors and grassland. Have you seen our rainbow of fungi blog? There’s more to fungi than a drab, brown toadstool!

Things to do

  • See which of our nature reserves are at their best this month.
  • Find a nature reserve near you with the Wildilfe Trusts' Nature Finder app for iphone and Android
  • Share your photos of our reserves with us on Twitter and Facebook or upload them to our Flickr gallery
  • Oxfordshire photographer Andrew Marshall's book Photographing wildlife in the UK (published by Fotovue) includes advice on how to take great wildlife photographs. The book includes top locations for photographing wildlife and some images that were taken on BBOWT nature reserves (Greenham Common, Chimney Meadows, Foxholes and College Lake).
  • Sign up to our e-newsletter and stay up-to-date with our news about local wildlife
  • Our experts work with over 1,400 volunteers to look after over 80 nature reserves, four education centres and run hundreds of amazing events. We rely on the generosity of individuals, charitable trusts and businesses. Help us look after these precious places for your local wildlife by donating today.


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