Notes on Use of This Blog

1. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

2. Please don't submit comments that include your own web address. For obvious reasons, they will not be published.

3. I'm now on Twitter - @RichardPegler1

Saturday 25 November 2023

The First Half of November, 2023

This post, covering the first half of the Month of November will bring me as far up-to-date as I am ever likely to get - unless I start mending my ways! It covers three short trips out, and garden observations - a few of which were cause for excitement.

Friday, 3rd November          Garden  :  Saltersford Valley Country Park  :  Thortit Lake

A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly graced us with a visit this day - not a rare butterfly, but a rather late one. It seemed to be in fine condition.

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) - our garden
After lunch, I had a short trip out to Saltersford Valley, in the hope of finding some late dragonflies or damselflies. I had no such luck as, after the heavy rains, the boardwalk was closed due to it being under water. Other parts of the area were only just passable too without the benefit of wellington boots. The only photos I took were of a Coot, and a Black-headed Gull with Tufted Duck and Moorhen in the background.

Coot (Fulica atra) - Saltersford Valley CP
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) - Saltersford Valley CP

Being somewhat disgruntled by the lack of wildlife on show at Saltersford Valley, I called in at Thortit Lake on my way home. Here again, I was thwarted by flooded paths, the only bird even vaguely photographable being a distant and noisy Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) (male) - by Thortit Lake
Sunday, 5th November          Garden  :  Old Parks Farm

The weather was relatively dry this day and, having finished lunch (always taken in the conservatory), I photographed a few of the birds in the garden. These ranged from the very common Great Tit, the slightly less common Greenfinch, and the extremely infrequent, and delightful, visitors in the form of Long-tailed Tits.

Great Tit (Parus major) - our garden

Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) (female) - our garden

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) - our garden

I had seen a report of a Short-eared Owl being seen from the Ashby de la Zouch bypass the previous day and, as the weather was reasonably favourable this day, I determined to go and look for it in the area that it had disappeared into. I spent about an hour and a half until dusk approached and saw nothing more interesting than some brown sheep, which I found amusing, and some fungi, the identity of which I have no idea.

Sheep - Old Parks Farm, Ashby de la Zouch
Fungi - Old Parks Farm, Ashby de la Zouch
Monday, 6th November          Garden

Carrion Crow are now daily visitors to the garden, frequently coming as a pair. This was one of our better weather days.

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) - our Garden
Tuesday, 7th November          Garden

Our male Robin is getting to be rather territorial. We are quite used to seeing Robin getting aggressive towards Dunnock and other Robins, but lately he has been seeing off Chaffinches and House Sparrows too.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula) - our garden
Wednesday, 8th November          Garden

The Long-tailed Tits were back again on this day.

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) - our garden
Friday, 10th November          Longmoor Lake, Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Woodland

It had been a long while since I last visited this place, which is only about ten minutes by car from our home.

I was a little surprised as to how much the trees had grown since I last visited, and a little disappointed at how few birds were in the area whan I visited in the late afternoon. 

A visit to the shelter, not far from the entrance, showed a lack of pellets on the floor, indicating that birds of prey, especially Barn Owl, were probably not roosting there .

Little was seen on my way down to the lake, and I only spotted common fare on the lake. Most obvious were the Canada Geese.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) - Longmoor Lake

Mute Swan were there - as always.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) (immature) - Longmoor Lake

There were plenty of Black-headed Gulls on the water at the far side of the lake and, occasionally, one would take to the air and fly by.

Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) - Longmoor Lake
I spent most time, however, trying for shots of Wigeon. These are quite nervous birds and, even at a respectable distance, tend to swim away from any moving person. Here are some of the results.

Wigeon (Mareca penelope) (male) - Longmoor Lake

Wigeon (Mareca penelope) (male + female) - Longmoor Lake

I had been hoping to see an owl, but no such luck came my way.

Sunday, 12th November          Garden

This was an exciting day in the garden as we saw our first visit by a Pied Wagtail since February - a very smart male bird.

Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii) (male) - our garden

Almost as exciting was the return of a Bullfinch for the first time since early September, when a juvenile had visited us.

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (male) - our garden

Tuesday, 14th November          Garden

A visit from a Blackcap this day was our first observed since mid-March. It was a dull day, and photography was difficult.

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) (female) - our garden

Wednesday, 15th November          Garden

The Sparrowhawk was, and still is, making things difficult for the other birds visitng our garden. Here it is on one of its visits this day.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) (male) - our garden
Carrion Crow is not bothered by the Sparrowhawk, and affords some protection to the smaller birds. I think its intelligence shines through in this shot.

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) - our garden

I expect that my next post, in about a week's time will cover the second half of November, and will feature some more recent visitors to the garden as well as some old friends, and maybe a visit out.

In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature. Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard


  1. I love this time so at this moment was the Small Tortoiseshell, beauty. Brilliant the Carrion Crow and at all the Sparrowhawk. I love them Richard.

    1. Thank you, Bob. I am so glad that we have got a garden that attracts the wildlife.

      Best wishes - stay safe - - - Riochard

  2. Quite envious of the Bullfinch and Blackcap in your garden Richard, the former not expected in our garden any time soon if ever, and the latter a female Blackcap, my sightings anywhere have invariably been male. I think the drake Wigeon is a beautiful duck.


    1. We're very lucky to have the Bullfinch, Pete, and it's currently visiting on a daily basis - I just hope that the Sparrowhawk doesn't get it.

      Our excitement at the moment is regular visits by Goldcrest and Pied Wagtail. I know that they're common birds, but they're a bit scarce in the garden. Yesterday we had male and female Pied Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail too - all at the same time. Sadly, the Pieds saw off the Grey.

      When we do get Blackcap, the balance between male and female is, I reckon, about even.

      Was good to talk with you the other day. Best wishes - - - Richard

  3. Bonjour Peter ! What richness there is in your garden! I never tire of your superb photos! The tit has very elegant colors. I don't know what you said to the sheeps but they turned their backs on you and this photo makes me laugh! A bientôt ;)

    1. Hello Philfff. This is Richard here - Peter's out of the office today! ;-}

      I'm pleased to know that it was not only me that was amused by the sheep.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

    2. Ah ah ah! ! I dont know why I called you Peter ! In fact I do not know any Peter. Best wishes Andrew.

    3. Now you've got me wondering if Andrew is your real name?!

    4. Ah ah not a all Richard, just a joke, just a joke. Take care.

  4. Hello Richard :=)
    November is not usually the time to see any butterflies. They have all disappeared from my garden. How fortunate you were to see the beautiful Small Tortoiseshell, it's a lovely capture. I need to plant more shrubs with berries to attract different species of birds to my balcony. Beautiful captures of the female Blackcap and Bullfinch, the Long.tailed Tit, and the Pied Wagtail. The Robin can be a bully, but I still love to see them on my balcony, also the Greenfinch can be quite feisty and chase other birds away from the feeders, but it's also a welcome visitor to my balcony Lovely captures of the Carrion Crow and Sparrow hawk, the Wigeon,
    which I have never seen except in photos, and. the Canada Geese. I'm glad you included the sheep in your post, they made me smile. ;=)
    Thank you for sharing your delightful post.
    My best Wishes

    1. Hello Sonjia. All the butterflies have now gone from our garden too, and we have had some very heavy frosts, with the pond being frozen over all day. There is, of course, the possibility that some may be hibernating somewhere.

      For some reason that I am not aware of, the berries in our garden are largely being ignored by the birds this winter. I was hoping for some winter thrushes - Redwing and Fieldfare.

      Our Greenfinch seem very placid in their interactions with other birds.

      My best wishes - stay safe - - - Richard

  5. Hi Richard!!! Lovely birds and images...How funny the photo of the sheep with their backs turned. Take care

    1. Thank you, Ana. I couldn't resist posting that photo of the sheep with their backs turned to me.

      Best wishes - stay safe - - - Richard

  6. You certainly experienced a wonderful beginning of November!

    Your waterfowl photographs are terrific. We are just now beginning to see migrating ducks in our area and by next week there should be a large influx as several cold fronts are sweeping through the country.

    Any day in the garden with a Wagtail and a Goldfinch is a good day, indeed.

    We're having an issue similar to yours in our own yard with a nice-to-see-but-not-so-nice-to-have-hang-around visitor. A relative of your Sparrowhawk, the Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii), has been ambushing our feeders and snagging a large White-winged Dove over the past week. The Circle of Life is not easy to observe at times.

    Gini and I are having great fun exploring and cannot believe there are no medical appointments on this week's calendar. If you need us, we shall be in the swamp, forest, field and/or beach area.

    We hope you and Lindsay are having a great start to this new week. Take good care.

    1. It was a good start to November in the garden, Wally, but it's starting to look like the second half of the month might be even better.

      You mention Goldfinch, although it does not feature in this post, and I suspect you meant to write 'Bullfinch'. Goldfinch is, without a shadow of doubt, the most numerous bird to visit our garden, with us sometimes getting around 20 at a time.

      The similarities between our Sparrowhawk and your Cooper's Hawk also, it seems, extend to their prey, with ours taking a Collared Dove last week.

      I hope that you are able to take full advantage of your medical appointment-free week. Our week is not quite medical appointment-free, with me taking Lindsay to the dentist on Friday. Next week is a little more daunting, however, with me having an ultrasound on my liver on Monday and an eye injection on Tuesday.

      Best wishes to you and Gini from a cold and damp England - take good care - - - Richard

    2. You are, of course, correct. "Bullfinch". I apparently had Goldfinches on the brain as those little migrants are just beginning to show up for their winter vacation.

    3. I'm glad its not just me - a few days ago, I found myself saying to someone that I'd recently swapped to 'digital' rather than 'mirrorless' ! I knew it sounded wrong at the time, but couldn't figure out why.

  7. Hello Richard,
    Big yield in the first half of November, I thought about what the sheep were thinking at that moment ;-) nice, the crows also turned out great photos, the sparrowhawk anyway and I only saw the blackcap at second glance.
    Greetings Frank

    1. That Blackcap was a bit difficult to photograph, Frank, as it kept itself hidden for most of the time and didn't stay still for long. Sadly, it has not been seen since then.

      Best wishes - - - - Richard

  8. Otro maravilloso reportaje que me hace muy feliz verlo. Van preciosos pájaros a tu jardín, alguno de ellos también vienen al mío. Abrazos.

    1. Por lo que he visto en España y mirando fotos de gente en España, parece que compartimos muchas aves de la misma especie, Teresa.

      Me alegra saber que te he traído algo de placer.

      Mis mejores deseos - - - Richard

  9. I wrote a long comment on this post ages ago!!! The gremlins are visiting again. I distinctly remember saying I hope the Sparrowhawk has not been successful with its visits!!!
    Not writing it all again but keep well, Cheers Diane

    1. Thank you, Diane. The Sparrowhawk is getting more proficient in its hunting, which leaves me with mixed feelings.

      Stay safe - - - Richard


Please Note: Blogger seems to be making it difficult for some (many?) people to leave comments on blogs, and also making it difficult for the recipient of comments to detect that a comment has been left. If you have any difficulties leaving a comment on the blog, please feel free to email me on However, if you are solely trying to promote your own blog or business by leaving a link in your comment, it will be blocked. If anyone wants to find you as a result of a comment that you have left, they can do so by looking at your profile.

Please, Blogger, get this mess sorted out.