Don't be put off by the dropping temperatures, November is a great time to get outside and catch up with some of the best wildlife spectacles the UK has to offer. It just so happens that many of the species involved with these special wildlife spectacles begin with the letter 'S'! Here are a few examples in no specific order!
It's murmuration time yet again! We are already getting a few requests from people asking about where to go to watch these phenomenal roosting displays. The reliable sites like Ham Wall, Aberystwyth pier and Leighton Moss are well worth a visit but in truth, these roosts can turn up in the most unusual of places. Even a small stand of conifer trees can attract a roost of hundreds of birds, wherever you go, keep an eye out for small groups of starlings heading towards reedbeds, woodland or sheltered manmade structures like piers, you might stumble on a significant roost! Some more sites to consider can be found here. If you are heading down to Ham Wall, don't forget to check the starling hotline to get the latest news on the roost, call 07866 554142 or email email@example.com
If you want to see something really cute this winter then look no further than the grey seal pups that are being born around our extensive coasts right now. There are loads of places where you can get safe views around the UK, both for people and the seals, such as Horsey in Norfolk, Donna Nook in Lincolnshire and if you fancy seeing them by boat head to Morston Quay where you can get a trip to Blakeney point, Norfolk. They could be viewed from clifftops around many other parts of the UK as well especially in Cardigan Bay, the southwest, the Farne islands, Strangford Lough and many places in Scotland. Just remember not to approach them or take your dog along.
Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
These graceful creatures are one of the highlights of the winter for me, I love the soundtrack of the whooper and Bewick's as they feed and socialise out on the marshes and graze on the stubble fields and pastures. Of course our native mute swan shouldn't be left out of the equation, they are just as stunning! Whilst mute swans could be found on pretty much any watercourse, our winter swans are best spotted at places like the RSPB Ouse washes or WWT Welney in the fens, in Scotland our sites at Broubster Leans, Abernethy and Fetlar and also down at WWT Slimbridge.
This is a tricky one and may take some travel for many of us but if you get lucky and find them it is well worth the effort. You might think you have to go to Scotland to see this spectacle but not so, some rivers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales have opportunities to watch the salmon run. I came across a blog on the Autumnwatch webpages with some interesting suggestions of places to view salmon.
Kaleel Zibe (rspb-images.com)
OK so it might not be as dramatic as a whirling flock of starlings or as cute a fluffy seal pup but there is a certain appeal in looking for fungi, maybe its the possibility of finding new species. Anyway trying to find new fungi species on your local patch is a challenge and worthy of a mention as some of them or very attractive, some of them have great names and some are just huge! Convinced? If you can get on a guided walk with a fungi expert then do so, it is amazing just how many varieties are all around us. Try your local woods or parks and see what you can see, or smell! Just make sure you don't eat anything you find unless you are sure of what you are doing, in most cases it's best just to look and photograph.
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