Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

November 2003


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November Events
Nature Notes
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Crabbit Old Woman
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WI Report
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Progressive Dinner
Xmas Lunch

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Nature Notes

November is the ninth month of the Roman Calendar and in Gaelic is An t-Samhuinn, the month of the Samhain festival.

I reported last month the sighting in the village of a blackbird-sized honey-coloured bird with a bright red beak.  Thank you Jenny Bowes for reminding me that female bird is often drab compared with the male, and she believes, and I agree, that this bird was a female Golden Oriole.  A rare summer visitor, the more obvious male is a striking bright yellow with black wings and a red beak, but the female is honey green with a grey underside, still with the red beak.

With our hotter longer summers I believe we will begin to see far more “exotics” that would normally migrate to southern and central Europe pushing their journeys further north.  However, although the Golden Oriole is termed “a rare summer visitor”, there is a small breeding colony in Norfolk just outside Mildenhall.  I went to see them back in the early 70s and I understand they are still there.

October/November sees the arrival of the Fieldfare, a winter visitor to Britain , although a few numbers do stay and breed, mainly in Scotland .  Larger than a thrush, it is distinguished by its grey head, chestnut back, black tail and spotted underparts on a tan chest.  Seen through binoculars, it is a striking looking bird.  As its name suggests, it is a bird of open countryside and fields.  Years ago you would only see them over pastures and farmland, but like many farmland birds they now visit gardens in search of winter berries and are particularly fond of windfall apples.  They fly in loose flocks and are remarkably noisy, chuckling and chattering as they go.  From below they look pale in colour with flashes of white appearing beneath their beating winds.  Caught in sunlight against a winter grey sky, this looks quite enchanting.

23rd November, the last Sunday before Advent, was known as stir-up Sunday when the mixture for Christmas puddings was started to allow them plenty of time to mature.  They should always be stirred clockwise with a wooden spoon, and all present should take a turn in order – mother, father, children and babies by seniority and lastly visitors.

On 24th November the sun enters the House of Sagittarius.  For people born under this sign - “Both man and woman shall be inconstant in deeds; but of good conscience, merciful and better to others than themselves” Kalendar of Shepheardes 1604.

Grenville Moore

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Last modified: March 28, 2004