FIVE TO FIND IN NOVEMBER
November is when things start to unwind a bit in autumn migration. But birds are still on the move and it is very much still possible to grab a few more species for your year list, or just enjoy birds for their own sake!
The Twite is a hugely understated bird (if you will forgive the oxymoron). The upland equivalent of the Linnet, this little finch, like larger birds of its breeding range (think Merlins, Hen Harriers or Short-eared Owls), heads to the lowland coastal areas out of the breeding season. In fact, a surprising 100,000 to 150,000 Twite winter in the UK and Ireland (numbers boosted by continental visitors), mainly in the north (especially Scotland), as well as coastal north-west England and north Wales and the east coast of England. Like a Linnet, but with a peachy buff face and yellowish bill, lacking grey and pink on the head and breast (but males can show a pink rump) they feed in flocks on seeds on the ground.
Though actually a much commoner breeding bird than the Cormorant, the Shag is less familiar to most people as it is an almost exclusively coastal species, favouring the rocky coastlines of the north and west of the country. Some individuals, mostly brown juveniles, do wander inland and can turn up on rivers and lakes at this time of year. But the easiest way to see a Shag is to head for a rocky coast.