In November, many mammals are preparing for hibernation while some new faces are arriving on the scene. In the latest instalment of my monthly series for Bloom in Doom magazine, I’ve shared some of the British wildlife highlights that can be seen during November.
Winter is an excellent time for birders because of all the overwintering geese, ducks and waders that have arrived. It is thought that around 50,000 barnacle geese travel from as far away as Russia to reach our shores, which may seem chilly but are far warmer in comparison!
All those birds attract the attention of raptors, so also keep an eye out for peregrine falcons and harriers which are looking for a possible meal. Short-eared owls also travel south for winter and are often seen near the coast.
Many mammals are now looking to start their hibernation in November, including our special but now scarce hedgehogs. They search for large piles of branches and leaves, which sadly often include bonfires. Please always check bonfires for hibernating hedgehogs – the best thing to do is build it just before you light it. Also, it’s a good idea to leave fallen leaves on the ground instead of raking them up because they provide important hedgehog nesting material.
In November there are usually lots of baby hedgehogs handed in to wildlife rescue centres because they are born late and therefore too small to survive hibernation. For more information on what to do if you find an injured hedgehog, check out this link.
November is usually the peak of the salmon run – a dramatic and impressive feat. Mature fish are swimming upriver from the Atlantic to their spawning grounds, having waited in estuaries for the rains that raised the water levels enough to allow them to travel back to where they were born.
As if leaping several metres into the air to pass thundering water wasn’t impressive enough, during this time the salmon don’t feed at all and concentrate solely on their mission to breed.