“All eyes to the South” once the snow clears

Today has been a mix of wet snowflakes and cold sleety rain. Temperatures, which had been falling earlier, are now on the rise, so I am somewhat glad to be indoors.

Now that the official winter climate statistics are in, it is time to have a look back at how the season fared. This is achievable courtesy of this link – here. My figures tie in nicely with the actual C.E.T. Temperatures, with my anomaly being approximately 0.6C above average. The rainfall figures continue to show their undeniably downward trend, with a deficit of 43mm or so. According to my figures, we have received only 73% of the average precipitation across the winter season with 82% officially reported for England as a whole. After the warmth and dryness of autumn, I do hope spring brings us much-needed rainfall. With plans locally for yet more urban development (many thousands of new houses), our natural ecosystems will face damage beyond recognition. 

On a lighter note, the spring equinox, is approaching fast and migrant birds are on the move. I like to track this phenomenon online and there are many ways to do so. A website that I would highly recommend is The Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society. The aforementioned website can be an excellent resource for tracking the incoming and outgoing African migrants due to its global position. In addition, from a UK perspective, I use reports from birdguides and it is from here, that I will quote a few recent highlights.

Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) have possibly overwintered in the UK once again, with more recent coming from Cork and East Sussex.

Sand Martins (Riparia riparia) are being quite widely reported in low numbers. Yorkshire, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Manchester and Pembrokeshire, has reported this species so far.

Reports of Stone-curlews (Burhinus oedicnemus) received from Devon and West Sussex and a Hoopoe (Upupa epops) from Nottinghamshire are interesting. I am also aware of two reports of Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), one being in January from West Yorkshire and a February sighting from Gloucestershire.

I suspect there are other tales of interesting sightings and it shows the build up to migration changeover is gathering pace.

Best Wishes

Tony Powell

6 thoughts on ““All eyes to the South” once the snow clears

  1. Hi Tony,
    Just sort of roaming my own page headings to refresh my memory and came across your comment. THANK YOU for your comments.
    I like your website, it is refreshing!
    Nice to visit it and get away from all my own critical and negative themes.

    1. No problem. That was some time ago and I can’t really remember what it was that intrigued me at the time. Nevertheless, it is equally refreshing to see a blog such as yours which covers a multitude of important issues.

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

  2. Hello Tony,

    That’s really interesting stuff about the migrant birds. Are more migrant species returning early and/or overwintering here or are small numbers of these apparently unusual sightings recorded every year?

    1. Hi Finn,

      Bird Migration is a subject that I am particularly fond of, for a wonderful insight into the subject, look no further than Professor Ian Newton’s Bird Migration. In attempting to answer your question, there is indeed a trend for some migrants to arrive earlier, yes. Certain species do stay and of the unexpected over winterers, these would most likely be birds that are injured, malnourished or confused. The phenomenon of bird migration makes for a highly complex research topic with still many questions unanswered.

      Cheers

      Tony Powell

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