So long Winter, see you in nine months time

After the Winter we have witnessed here in the United Kingdom, I think most would welcome a human type gestation period of calm before the rebirth of a Winter anything like the one we’ve just witnessed. By way of example, just how wet was it? Here is the view from the UK Met Office. To add a personal perspective, here’s the Davis data for my locale from Berkshire in England.

December 2013 precipitation
December 2013 precipitation
January 2014 precipitation
January 2014 precipitation
February 2014 precipitation
February 2014 precipitation

When viewing the above charts, I have put in a false red line which shows in my view at least, the days you would normally describe as soakers, i.e. those producing 10mm or more, which is the equivalent of approximately 2/5ths of an inch. In actual Meteorological terms, a “wet” day is where precipitation exceeds 2mm and a “very wet” day is classed as a day on which 20mm is exceeded. So yes, you can safely say Winter 2013/14 has been wet in my patch with only 20 out of the 90 days registering as a day without precipitation*. However, it wasn’t necessarily my region which made the headlines. The attached link from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) shows the devastating effects of the flooding from Somerset. On there you should be able to view other reports, complete with video clips, from other UK regions which were affected by the odd Winter weather. We should not forget that it was also very windy on occasions, although my own readings are lower than most, you can see from the attached images, where winds have exceeded the 38mph mark as indicated by my red line. This dates can be described as Gale days, although perhaps not strictly under Meteorological definition. Any wind gusts which exceed the green line shown would normally represent a windy day for my location, based on my own experiences of past events.

December 2013 Top Wind Gusts
December 2013 Top Wind Gusts
January 2014 Top Wind Gusts
January 2014 Top Wind Gusts
February 2014 Top Wind Gusts
February 2014 Top Wind Gusts

As for snow, well, Scotland nicked it all, this article again from the BBC being typical of highland Scotland’s Winter in 2013/14. For the rest of the British Isles, it had been a very poor one for those who wanted to see some wintry ice crystals, in fact I barely saw two days of sleet throughout the whole Winter. The Air Temperatures weren’t especially noteworthy with the mean for the Winter as a whole, somewhere around 1c above the long-term average, based on the 1981-2010 CET series. The lack of Air Frosts was notable for my location however, with only nine (9) being achieved in total and not all of these were before dawn due to my 24 hour reporting periods. As for the effect on the Natural World by way of phenology, more reports on that are forthcoming.

*only one dry day in January and this fell within a period of 33 days with only the one dry day in total

and

Winter bites over parts of Southern England

Hello, I am still breathing and I admit, my commitments as a blogger have been somewhat slipping under the radar. As for now, this will be a brief posting. I simply want to illustrate why the current weird weather pattern is occurring (yes it is very cold) and as to what the future may hold. Today, the 4th November saw some lying snow in parts and for others, simply cold wet rain. I personally missed the fun and games but the following, courtesy of BBC weather illustrates how difficult in reality, the actual task of forecasting snowfall, truly is.

Sunday 4th November snowfall in Southern England

Looking further ahead (longer-term forecasting) is an equally unenviable task but someone who is up for such things is Matt Hugo, as shown below.

3rd November update from Matt Hugo’s wordpress blog




naturestimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell
on Google+

Sort your life out……………………………………

Naturestimeline is back, I hear you gasp. Cue rapturous applause…………………………..

Where has our venerable host been and why were there no updates! Well, sometimes life’s chores tend to overwhelm but hell; I am not to be defeated by what seems a never-ending list of tasks. Besides, I have a responsibility, as a blogger to inform and educate (at least to my knowledge) so here is a brief rundown of what I meant by my “Sort your life out” comment.

As a relative newbie to the Conservation/Ecology sector, like most of us, I must devote time to career expansion. Much reading, studying and attending courses, webinars and the like has taken place during this time. For example, I attended a Dragonfly workshop back in early August. Additionally, I have met up with or have been networking with important work colleagues. As a requirement to add skills to my CV, I am also currently undertaking a Project Management course and have other ventures in planning. Aside from this however, there were occasions when nature did acquire my full attention. To this end, I will now enlighten you with a select few natural events.

Today has seen most of the additional Phenological events logged onto My Natural Events Calendar. As usual, you can best access this via the Agenda option and from there you can view past dates for any action missed, since my last post.

Ten weeks can be a long time for the natural world and since my hiatus; many phenological events have taken place locally and non-locally. For example, many young birds have been flocking to my busy feeders and for the first time, I have added an immature Carrion Crow to the records, not bad for a semi-suburban locality. Alongside this, during this time, various finches, tits, a Great-Spotted Woodpecker, daws and corvids had been raiding the feeders and fat balls with a summering Blackcap on the latter mentioned. Only in recent weeks, has this feeding frenzy decreased and I suspect the reason for this is simply moulting activity. Who says we shouldn’t feed the birds all year round? In fact, many of the youngsters were finding the bird table and its feeders, useful sheltering positions during the wetter periods.

Looking back

On the 10th June, it was most pleasing to witness a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the garden during a sunnier interlude. By the 30th June, the Buddleia was noted in bloom, which it still is to this day.

July continued the overall weather pattern (often cool and wet) of the previous few but briefly relented, come the final week. It was during this period, in which I most probably saw my final Common Swift of the season. The 27th July date for this event being significantly earlier than the normal date of 14th August, albeit based on a limited sample size. The first harvesting locally and predictably a couple of Thunder days during July were to be expected. Also on a local level, I witnessed the first Ringlet on the 13th July, Marbled White and Meadow Brown on the 19th July and a first Gatekeeper butterfly on the 24th July. Only the Meadow Brown butterfly showed up as being well behind schedule with the rest within a week or so of their usual emergence dates. Birds of Prey were well to the fore over my neighbourhood with a gathering of seven thermalling Common Buzzards on one special day.

August has so far proved to be a very busy period for personal reasons, whilst it has been a quiet month phenology wise. Only the Thunder days of 15th August and 25th August being especially noteworthy. Both dates occurring pretty close to their usual positions in the calendar year.

*It seems that tomorrow also marks a happy anniversary for a certain blogging adventure

Cheers, I’ll drink to that.