November 2014 continued to be mostly mild with no notable cold spells although there were several fairly typical days of ‘November gloom’ and indeed the second half of the month was mostly cloudy and often damp and rather raw. This is probably why insect records, especially of bees and hoverflies, largely dried up after the 12th. Another three species were added to the Garden’s list, which now stands at 735. One was Brown Rat, seen on two days (20th, 24th) near the Pond. Research showed that in fact Brown Rat had also been spotted on 8 October, also by the pond, and a photograph of the animal posted on an RSPB blog site.
Birds Thirty-nine bird species were recorded at Edinburgh during November. The month was particularly notable for the frequency of Kingfisher visits. Kingfishers were seen on 14 different dates during the month, with two separate individuals present on two dates (5th and 24th). At least two, possibly more, Blackcaps have decided to winter in RBGE, with birds being sighted on nine dates, all in the Chinese Hillside. Other notable records were Grey Wagtail (three dates), Cormorant (4th), Canada Goose (5th), Dabchick (Little Grebe) on 5th and Whooper Swan (two flying over on 16th). The full list of species recorded was: Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Cormorant, Dabchick, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Kingfisher, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Pink-footed Goose, Redwing, Robin, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Tree Creeper, Whooper Swan, Wood Pigeon, Wren.
Insects and other invertebrates: As flowers faded rapidly during the month so did the abundance and variety of insects and by the month’s end very few were being recorded. Nevertheless there were two additions to the Garden list: the bug Deraeochoris lutescens on 12th (see photo), and the arachnid (spider relative) Common Harvestman on 21st and 27th. An exceptionally late Holly Blue near Inverleith House on 3rd was the only butterfly record of the month and marked the end of a good year for this very scarce species in Edinburgh. Common Wasp was recorded three times and Buff-tailed Bumblebee twice, the last date for both being 12th. The only hoverfly recorded was the drone fly Eristalis tenax, seen twice, with the last date again being 12th. Bluebottles were seen on four days, and yet again the last date was 12th. Winter Gnats swarmed on two days (25th, 26th) towards the end of the month. Four species of bug were recorded. Three of them were shield bugs: Forest Shield Bug (3rd), Parent Bug (18th) and Hawthorn Shield Bug (21st). The fourth was Deraeocoris lutescens mentioned above. A couple of beetles were seen on tree bark but so far they have not been identified.
Other November 2014 was remarkable for the abundance and variety of fungi present in the Edinburgh Garden. Tree-moss, Climacium dendroides, was rediscovered in the Scottish Heath Garden, having first being recorded several years ago but not located during last year’s BioBlitz. The moss is easily recognisable, having the habit of a miniature tree (see photo).