What to see in November!

Hello out there!

It’s November and it’s pretty miserable outside. Mud, mist, rain and getting dark early. That notwithstanding, there is plenty to see in the mud, mist and rain and that’s the attitude I set out with that in mind to get some inspiration to write this blog. Most of the outside recently has looked like this.

november day

Now, if you look at that photo a bit closer, there are 7 little white dots and they are 7 Little Egrets, which I wasn’t really expecting to find! They were in the field just east of the Twineham Lane bridge that crosses the river Adur.

7 Little Egret dots

Little Egret dots

You’ll have to take my word for it that these little white dots are 7 Little Egrets. Little Egrets have, only in relatively recent times, established themselves in the UK and this isn’t the first time I’ve seen them around here, but they do stand out a bit!

Most of the plants have stopped flowering now and one of the last plants to flower, which is a good place to look for insects at this time of year, is Ivy. Most of the Ivy has stopped flowering by now but there are still a few flower heads that haven’t gone over.

Flowering Ivy

Flowering Ivy

Now that there are leafs on the ground, it’s a good time to get acquainted with what leafs belongs to what tree. I took this photo along Gratton Lane in Twineham and I’ve found 4 species in this selection, although there are probably areas around here that have a higher number. Anyway, the 4 in this selection are:

leaf guide1. Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis).

2. Ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

3. Field Maple (Acre campestre).

4. Common Oak (Quercus robur).

Ash is always a good tree to begin trying to identify trees by their bare branches because their black buds are very distinctive.

Ash Buds

Ash Buds

Wild Service Trees are not that widespread in the UK and one way to describe their distribution would be ‘locally common’. A good place to find Wild Service Trees around here is along the Gratton Lane bridleway, with a few trees growing right next to the bridleway in the small woodland on the eastern end of Gratton Lane.

Wild Service Tree leaf

Wild Service Tree leaf

Its leaf is a fairly distinctive sharp edged, spiky ‘tulip’ shape and this one was handily on a low hedge.

So with all the greyness around, here’s with a bit of colour.


Spindle berry

This is a the berry of Spindle, which could also be described as a ‘locally common’ plant. It often grows in hedges and its branches and twigs are green right to their tips.

Finally, this is the best time of year to go looking for the eggs of the Brown Hairstreak butterfly, which I have highlighted in previous blogs as a real stand out species for out area.

Blackthorn thorns.

Blackthorn thorns.

They are difficult to find and the best can do for now is show you a photo of where you can look for them. The eggs are laid at the base of the thorns on a Blackthorn bush, which is the bush that has blue Sloes for fruits. The eggs, if you find one, are tiny white dots, often described as ‘white pinheads’.

Hopefully that has given you a few things to look out for in these November days!


3 thoughts on “What to see in November!

  1. Angie Sparrowhawk says:

    Thank you for your blog. It was really interesting and informative. I hope you keep it going as I think it will keep the protest against Mayfield Towns alive. I still support it, wholeheartedly, feeling that our community should stand up to these big companies who seem to think they can bully people into submission. I accept housing is needed but the site chosen is totally ludicrous and should never be used for new homes let alone an entire town.

  2. Meg Price says:

    Great information and so local. It will hopefully make me and my grandchildren more observant when we are out walking.
    Many thanks
    Meg Price

  3. Julia Bunn says:

    Thanks for your observations Tom, it is great to find out more about the ecology of
    our local environment. I have just referenced you in an assignment for Plumpton !

    Great Work,


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