November this year was milder and wetter than November last year. The mean temperature was 1.8 degrees warmer and there was almost 70% more rain. There was a comparatively dry spell between the11th and 27th.
Among the highlights this month were: a Mediterranean Gull at Sliddery on 5th, the second record this year; following on from coastal records in September and October a Little Egret at Glaister on 15th; and a Red Kite at Auchareoch on the 21st, the fourth record this year. There had been no records of Mediterranean Gull nor Red Kite in 2017.
Not surprisingly in November, winter visitors were to the fore. Throughout the month there were widespread reports of foraging Fieldfare and Redwing, sometimes in mixed flocks. The largest group was at Cnoc na Dail on 5th, with around two hundred Fieldfare with fifty Redwing. Other records of wintering birds included: six Rook and ten Yellowhammer at Sliddery on 5th; three hundred Common Gull at Kilpatrick Point on 7th; thirty two Golden Plover at Machriewaterfoot, eleven Turnstone at Drumadoon Point, seven Brambling at Cnoc na Dail and five hundred Starling at Kilpatrick, all on 8th; twenty-four Redshank at Sandbraes12th; a Dunlin and a Purple Sandpiper on Silver Sands on 16th; and twenty-five Lapwing on Cleats Shore on 18th.
Reports of wintering wildfowl included: seven Whooper Swan at Glenscorrodale on 5th, three hundred Greylag Geese at Sliddery also on 5th, forty Wigeon at Kilpatrick Point on 7th, sixty-two Teal in Torbeg on 8th, thirty Pink-footed Geese in the Shiskine Valley on 21st and three Goldeneye by the Fisherman's Walk on 30th.
Gardens are safe refuges during the winter months with many people providing regular food and water for their feathered friends. These are a small selection from the many reports from gardens round the island in November: eleven Coal Tit in Torbeg on 4th, six Brambling in Cordon on 6th, three Great Spotted Woodpecker in Glenloig on 14th, twelve Long-tailed in Gortonallister on 15th, two Goldcrest in Lamlash on 22nd, two Treecreeper in Whiting Bay also on 22nd and eleven Blackbird in Pirnmill on 29th.
Other November highlights included: an Arctic Skua and a Great Skua off Pirnmill on 3rd, a Merlin at Blackwaterfoot on 8th, two Goosander at Cordon on 15th, a Kingfisher by Kingscross on 18th, a Water Rail on Holy Isle (first ever record) on 25th and a Little Grebe in Loch Ranza on 28th.
Finally some firsts and some lasts. There was a Wheatear, a summer visitor, at Drumadoon Point on 1st, the last Gannet was reported off Pirnmill on 2nd and two Shelduck at Silver Sands on 26th were the first reports of Shelduck returning to Arran after their annual departure to moult.