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November 2014

2nd, Grosmont
We cleared out much of the garden today and revealed a good stone pathway leading down to the lower part of the garden. A Newt was found amongst the thick grass whilst woodland birds abounded in the trees. A few Grey Wagtails were also seen and heard in the surrounding area. Meanwhile about a dozen WHOOPER SWANS were seen heading south between Flylingdales and Goathland, my first wild swans of the winter, whilst a couple of Nuthatches were at Darnholm.

4th, Wold Garth
A ground frost at dawn, the first of the winter 2014/15 season. Meanwhile in the evening a skein of PINK-FOOTED GEESE were heard passing over at around 6.30 pm, undoubtedly heading back to the Humber estuary on what was initially a clear, cold and moonlit autumn evening.

5th, Wold Garth
A Bumble bee was seen amongst a clump of cyclamen this morning.

5th, Beautiful November
I love November, I always have, and as I wandered through the late autumn woodland near my home yesterday afternoon on what was a beautifully cold and sunny day with mist hanging over the surrounding fields I was in heaven. The Saami people of northern Scandinavia and the Kola peninsula believed that heaven was a place which was just like their own terrestrial homes, but with just more reindeer, and for me this is an appealing concept as I for one would love to spend eternity wandering the lands which I call home, though instead of more reindeer (though that would be nice) I think my heaven would contain far fewer people! Of course the reality of modern life is somewhat different but having come to know many hidden backwaters in eastern Yorkshire over the years I have found a few places where such dreams are almost reality, the 100 acre woodland of birch and willow carr which I frequented yesterday being one of these rare gems where time itself seems to stand still.

The turning back of the clocks at the end of October is a time I look forward too, the return of dark, quiet, and cosy evenings by the warming hearth bringing forth a wealth of happy memories of winter’s past, whilst the sight of the warm glow of lamp lights shining through the windows of a country cottage when returning home from an evening walk brings an emotion which is hard to describe in mere words. Indeed I like the dark and the cold, and consider that the short days of winter are nature’s way of telling us the importance of reflection, rest and togetherness, though unfortunately the outside world has increasingly little time for such basic and rustic pleasures, partially indicated by the now annual campaign to have ours clocks put forward an hour by self-interested and largely urban based politicians.

Meanwhile I was down near the river Humber last week, arriving at my destination just as the sun was rising above the muddy waters of this industrious estuary, and as soon as we started our walk we heard the distinctive sound of PINK-FOOTED GEESE in the distance. A few minutes later we were treated to the sights and sounds of repeated skeins heading inland towards the nearby Yorkshire Wolds and only in north-west Norfolk have I seen so many Pink-feet in one place. This does possibly confirm that large numbers of Pink-feet have arrived in the British Isles this year, as I have seen more skeins this year than ever before, and hopefully this means that the numbers which winter on the Humber may be on the increase again after slowly dwindling in recent decades.

5th, Beverley Westwood Fireworks
Good weather meant it was a good night for the annual firework display at Beverley Westwood, the final climax being particularly impressive from our viewpoint near our home.

6th, Wold Garth
First air frost of the season with a minimum of -1.2 C (29.8 F). Mist and fog patches in the morning as well, dense in low lying areas.

8th, Beverley Parks
Heard my first FIELDFARES of the winter near Woodmansey.

15th, Wold Garth
Thick fog in the morning with everything dripping wet.

19th, Darnholm
A couple of Dippers showed well at the ford at Darnholm, one almost landing right beside us as we enjoyed an impromptu picnic beside the beck. Nuthatches were additionally seen, as was a single Grey Wagtail.

19th, Beverley Parks
A brightly coloured GREY WAGTAIL was seen on the temporary fence beside the still under construction bypass, the large areas of mud and new area of open water seemingly acting as a draw to this usually riverine species. The aforementioned pond/lagoon/lake also hosted about a dozen Mallard.

23rd, Great Central Railway
We decided to attend the end of season gala at the Great Central today on what was a grey November day down here in the East Midlands. All the locos on show were from the railways own stable of heritage steam engines including the former NYMR 9F, the lovely red 8F and my favourite the little 'Jinty'.

26th, North Cliffe Wood
An enjoyable walk around North Cliffe Wood with my father on what was a grey and murky kind of day, but nevertheless the wood was as beautiful and interesting as ever with not a soul to be seen other than ourselves. Wildlife highlights included at least 5 and possibly 6 WOODCOCK, a couple of which were seen in excellent detail, whilst a noisy Jay was also heard many times, a bird species becoming noticeably more common in the East Riding. Fieldfares were also observed in the fields, this winter thrush having not been particularly common so far this winter, at least in the Beverley area anyway.