Stormy November sees autumn draw to a close and wildlife getting ready for the arrival of winter.
Our summer migrants should have left and many winter visitors will have arrived. Fieldfares and Redwings, two members of the thrush family that breed in Scandinavia, fly to this country for the winter months. Look for them feeding on berries in the hedgerows.
Exotic looking wildfowl such as Smew, Goosander and Goldeneye from the same location also come here and are found in varying numbers at the counties’ reservoirs, most notably Rutland Water.
Dusk is a magical time in the winter, when large flocks of crows and gulls can be seen flying to roost communally for the night, Foxes and birds of prey such as Short-eared and Barn owls are hunting for food, and deer are cautiously feeding too. The Trust’s woodland nature reserves such as Launde Big and Launde Park Woods, are places where Muntjac deer are found, although they are cause for concern in that they can damage trees and other plants.
Ulverscroft and Charnwood Lodge are likely to reveal a Fox in the shadows, a calling Tawny Owl or maybe a fast flying Woodcock. Short-eared Owls are regularly seen at Cossington Meadows in years when small mammal populations are high.
Species of the month
The Redwing is a common winter visitor in Leicestershire and Rutland, arriving from late September through to November and leaving in March and April.
It is our smallest true thrush and its creamy stripe above the eye and orange-red flank patches make it distinctive.
Flocks of redwings roam across the countryside, feeding on worms in open, grassy fields as well as on berries in hedgerows. Redwings will often join with flocks of Fieldfares but will only visit gardens and parks when snow covers the fields.
Photograph: Redwing c. Margaret Holland
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