Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

Out Now - Wildlife and Places to See in November!

Here you can find out about the wildlife you can seen in Wiltshire and Swindon at the moment. Visit this months featured site to see a wealth of wildlife, take a look at our identification guide to find out a group you are most likely to see, don’t forget to send us in your records!
 

Three To Spot

Brown Hare, WWT/ Darin Smith
Brown Hare - Lepus europaeus Brown Hares are hard to spot as they are most active at night, so the best time to them is in the early morning or at dusk when feeding. Outside of spring, autumn and winter are the best times to spot Brown Hares, as the nights draw in they are active earlier. Usually solitary animals, the Brown Hare is overall much larger than the Rabbit, they have much longer hind (back) legs and longer ears that have black tips, their tails also have black tips. They also run, rather than the hopping motion of rabbits, and can outrun predators reaching speeds of over 40mph, they will also crouch when threatened flattening their ears against their body.
Tree Sparrow, David Kjaer
Tree Sparrow -  Passer montanus
  The Tree Sparrow is a resident in Wiltshire and can be seen year round. They can be seen feeding on seeds and insects in open farmland with plenty of hedgerows, trees or small woodland patches for cover. It is rarely seen in urban areas and is generally quite shy, but can be seen in larger gardens as well as disused quarries on the edges of wetlands and open water such as gravel pits. Tree Sparrows are easily distinguishable from the House Sparrow as it is smaller and has a chestnut brown head rather than grey. Males and females are similar in appearance and probably most identifiable by their white cheeks and collar with a black cheek-spot and black bib.
House Sparrow, Darin Smith/ WWT
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus This resident bird was once a common sight in our gardens, towns and wider countryside; but like many other common birds it is now struggling to survive in the UK. House Sparrows are highly sociable and this is most noticeable during winter when they gather in large flocks to feed, bathe and roost. Juvenile House Sparrows gather in large flocks outside the breeding area where they can find a plentiful supply of food. These are areas rich in grass and weed seeds. They move on to grain fields once they start to ripen, and are joined by the adults once breeding has finished.

 

This Months Must See

Barn Owl - Tyto alba The Barn Owl is a resident bird that is often seen after dusk, caught in the headlights of cars that make it look pure white in colour and giving it a ghostlike appearance as it hunts at the roadside in farmland areas where there are hedgerows and copses. Autumn and winter are the best times to spot Barn Owls as the nights draw in they are active earlier. Keep an eye out for them around old barns, ruins and exposed buildings on farmland, on the outskirts of villages and in some cases open woodlands.
 

Common Chrysalis Snail , Christophe Quintin @Flickr.com

November ID Parade; Snails - Snail-hunting is a great November pursuit, as fog and autumn rains provide the humidity they prefer. In years with wet summers snails flourish, and they will be seen in greater numbers than usual. Look in leaf litter in hedgerows and woodlands, gardens and even grassy path sides are great places to spot snails. Find out about identifying the snails you see this month with our ID guide  
 

November Site Focus – Explore the County's Woodlands Autumn is one of the best times to visit our County's deciduous (broadleaf) woodlands as they put on an amazing show of colours at this time of year. Take a walk in any deciduous woodland to see the stunning array of red and gold leaves. Look on the ground to see fungi including stinkhorns, Dead Man’s Fingers, Common Earth Ball and the unmistakable Fly Agaric to name a few; look up into the trees to spot Jew’s Ear, Yellow Brain and Birch Polypore.

 

Take a look at what has been seen recently

Our Wildlife Moments page hosts some of the fantastic photos and videos that have been sent into us recently of what has been recorded around the County. If you capture a wonderful wildlife moment, a stunning landscape on a camera or mobile phone, or need help with identification of wildlife you have photographed, then find out how to send it in to us, and you could see your photo/ video showcased here!


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