Goldfinch perched on top of a teasel head against a blurred background
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) on teasel head, 18 November 2019. Photo Ken Dobson.

November 2019 was a pretty grim month at RBGE. It was wetter than average, with a total rainfall of 76.6 mm (155% of the long-term average). Most of this fell on the first four days, with  17 mm on 4th; there was another, less wet, spell towards the end of the month from 23rd to 26th. Sunshine, at 40.4 hours in total, was only 37% of average and more than a trace of sunshine was recorded on only 12 days out of a possible 30. Temperatures were average or slightly above during the two wet spells, but in between  there was a long chilly period with ground and occasional air frosts, while the end of the month was also cold with the maximum daytime temperature only 2.3°C on 30th and the lowest miimum temperatures of -4.6° (air) and -8.7°C (grass) the night before. 

No new Garden wildlife records were made during the month and the total count remains at 1,131.

Birds: Forty-three bird species were recorded at RBGE during November 2019, a number swollen by some winter visitors. A probable Peregrine caused disturbances to lots of birds over the Botanics and particularly neighbouring Inverleith Park on several occasions during the month.  Winter thrushes included Fieldfare on 18th, Mistle Thrush on 4th and 19th and Redwing on eight occasions throughout November. A Goosander was present on the Pond on 3rd. There was one record of Woodcock (22nd) and also a single record of Siskin (30th). Wintering Blackcaps were noted on eight dates throughout the month, with both male and female birds being photographed. Kingfisher was also seen throughout the month (19 dates at least), with up to three individuals (two males and one female) visiting. There were ten sightings of Grey Heron, eight reports of Nuthatch, five each of Goldfinch (often on teasel heads), Grey Wagtail and Sparrowhawk, four of Tree Creeper, three each of Jackdaw and Song Thrush, two each of Black-headed Gull (3rd, 13th) and Mute Swan (8th, 14th), and one each of Buzzard (14th), Collared Dove (5th), Oystercatcher (18th) and Tawny Owl (27th). The complete list of 43 species recorded during November 2019 was: Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Kingfisher, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Redwing, Robin, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Tree Creeper, Woodcock, Wood Pigeon, Wren.

Brown Rat eating what looks a peanut on a mossy surface.
Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus) having a snack, 29 November 2019. Photo Ken Dobson.

Mammals and amphibians: A Brown Rat was seen on several occasions, with photographs being taken more than once. A Fox was reported on 8th, while a Badger was seen on 21st and grubbing activity noted on other occasions. No amphibians were recorded during the month.

Insects and other invertebrates: No doubt due to the dull and largely chilly, sometimes wet, weather conditions, few invertebrates were noted during November, in stark contrast to October.  The only butterfly seen was a Red Admiral on 5th, while there was also a single moth record, of a Winter Moth on 21st.  No bees or wasps were noted. Dragonflies and hoverflies were also absent, as were identifiable other flies. Birch Shield-bug was seen on 2nd, the only bug record of the month, while there was also a single Pine Ladybird record (18th). Arachnida were represented by a young Garden Spider on 12th whose colour and markings made it look like a little red hot cross bun! Finally, two Garden Snails were photographed in the crack of a rock on 18th.

Two Garden Snails sheltering in a crevice
Two Garden Snails (Cornu aspersum) sheltering under a crevice, 18 November 2019. Photo Ken Dobson.