November began as October ended, quiet and mild. However after the first few days there was an abrupt change when a series of Atlantic depressions brought gales and lots of very heavy rain. For the first time in several months no species were added to the Garden’s list, which remains at 788.
Amphibians It’s not often these get a mention in these monthly reports, but a Common Toad was seen on the windowsill of an office in the Balfour Building on 13th.
Birds Thirty-six species of bird were recorded at the Edinburgh Garden during November. By far the biggest highlight was a Dipper which was seen on six different dates (10th, 13th, 16th and 28th-30th) by five different people (unfortunately not including myself), always beside the upper two Biodiversity Garden ponds beside the John Hope Gateway. It might have been taking refuge from the nearby Water of Leith which during that period was exceptionally high and turbulent because of all the heavy rain. These were the first Dipper records for Inverleith since 1999. Grey Wagtail was recorded four times (1st, 6th, 11th and 26th) and there were also four sightings of Buzzard over the Garden (12th, 16th, 17th, 24th). Redwings were recorded on six occasions, mostly at the end of the month. Mallards virtually deserted the Garden during the month (and in the last week or so of October); apart from one pair on the Biodiversity Garden ponds (13th) and a fly-over on 4th, there was only one record (of 11 on the Pond on 19th) until the last week of the month when they returned to the main Pond. It is possible that they may have been affected in some way by the Botanic Lights installations in the two main Ponds, although, if that were so, the resident Moorhens were completely unaffected by those and indeed used the ones in the Pond as perches while they were switched off during daylight hours. The complete list of 36 species recorded during November was: Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Curlew, Dipper, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Pink-footed Goose, Redwing, Robin, Siskin, Song Thrush, Tawny Owl, Wood Pigeon, Wren.
Insects and other invertebrates: Compared with October, there were far fewer insects around in November, even the quiet first week. Their near absence in the remainder of the month was expected because of the much poorer, very wet weather. No butterflies or macromoths were recorded although the mines of six leaf-mining micromoths were still present and an as yet unidentified caterpillar, probably of a geometrid moth, was seen looping up the bark of a birch tree (see photo at bottom of this post). Honey Bees were seen on 6th and 12th but bumblebees, wasps and other hymenopterans were absent. The only hoverfly sightings were two records of the drone-fly Eristalis tenax on 2nd and 11th. The mines of seven different leaf-mining flies were seen and the crane-fly Tipula pagana was seen on 4th on a dead nettle stem. Gorse Shield Bug (11th) and Hawthorn Shield Bug (18th) were both recorded once, while Pine Ladybird (25th) was the only beetle record. Two harvestmen species were seen: Dicranopalpus ramosus (new to the Garden’s list last month) twice on 16th and 17th, and Oligolophus hanseni on 18th.