Tag Archives: weather

A Christmas Robin with a spring in its step, not least its voice! And just why might that be.

Of late, I’ve heard song from Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Robins, Mistle Thrushes, Great Tits and Coal Tits and probably a couple more I haven’t mentioned. Why?

Perhaps this pre-Christmas Davis weather station graph might help guide you towards an answer.

 

Pre-Christmas Air Temperature Maximums - December 2015

Pre-Christmas Air Temperature Maximums from Newbury, Berkshire – December 2015 so far.

 

Yes, the unseasonable Temperatures aren’t helping our bird’s natural processes of late, least not, nature in general is pretty confused. The minimum Temperatures as illustrated by the chart below don’t help things much either. You’ll note that I am yet to register a single Air Frost in December. Once again, the blue line (in this case, maroon) represents the approximate average conditions expected in any given year.

 

Pre-Christmas Air Temperature Minimums - December 2015

Pre-Christmas Air Temperature Minimums from Newbury, Berkshire – December 2015 so far.

 

Now time for some Christmas cheer. Voted No.1 in David Lindo’s UK’s Favourite Bird survey, as promised, here is our Christmas Robin.

 

P1010617

A Robin Redbreast (Erithacus rubecula)

Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year from Tony Powell and UKbirdingtimeline.com

 

 

naturestimeline Education services – “A conservation professional sharing his personal perspective on breaking news stories from the world of nature alongside his own accounts from the field.”

and

Climate Change effects on our already vulnerable Bird species

Here is an article which recently grabbed my attention, courtesy of BirdLife International. Do have a read through it.

The Messengers: Preview our upcoming climate change report

As with most things in nature, be it climate, birds or otherwise, there is a certain amount of predictability about our knowledge of things but also other aspects remain unchartered waters, so to speak. One thing you can be sure of, is that some species are in dire need of human intervention if they are to sustain their own populations. With frequent flash flooding episodes on the rise, we know for a fact that such events will continue to decimate many vulnerable ground-nesting bird’s broods. Equally, when left unchecked, so too do the rising numbers of egg and chick-raiding predators. These are in reality additional threats over and above those mentioned within the article. I therefore believe that we at least need to mitigate against Climate Change, even if it is the only action most will be willing to take.

naturestimeline Education services – “A conservation professional sharing his personal perspective on breaking news stories from the world of nature alongside his own accounts from the field.”

and

VisMigging time again

Are you a VisMigger, have you ever participated in VisMigging?

VisMigging, short for Visible Migration is where a person/persons sets out to pan the skies overhead for signs of avian life.

As a citizen scientist, whose claim to fame is in being a top ten BirdTracker in 2011, I view this pastime as an extremely useful scientific tool. Any birder with a keen eye and ear will produce valuable findings. With the fresh Autumnal air reinvigorating you, what could be better? As well as the fact, that hundreds and thousands of other folk participate, you are not alone in this.

Looking back at the records elsewhere in 2010, the highlight proved to be the large numbers of Lapland Buntings (Calcarius lapponicus)a true passage migrant.

Lapland Bunting, a non breeding Male

Lapland Bunting, a non breeding Male

Come 2011, the more common miniscule lightweight Finch, the Siskin (Carduelis spinus), was to take the honours.

Siskin, a Summer plumaged female

Siskin, a Summer plumaged female

The latter species was to smash several all-time site records with huge numbers seen or heard, most likely due to lessened availability of their favoured tree seed crop over in Scandinavia.

So what of this year? The prevailing weather conditions are important and add to the general air of anticipation. With the United Kingdom expected to be under a general Northwesterly flow over the coming weeks, it should make things move. Although recently however, quite a few of us Brits have basked in warm sunshine, thanks to a nearby High Pressure cell. Under the influence of this particular climate synoptic, locally, Swallows and House Martins have slowly moved through. Rather oddly, though, I witnessed a late Common Swift on the 3rd September.

Swift

Swift

To assist your own observations, you should gain a good knowledge of the local terrain. Another recommended practice is to follow weather forecasts in the media for opportunities affording weather windows. These are simply gaps between the passing of showery outbreaks or warm or cold fronts. As like us humans, the birds and wildlife in general will react to these everyday nuances. Additionally, Moon Phases play a role and let’s not forget, the diminishing daylight hours as we head towards the Autumn Equinox.

For your information, I have listed below, a select few websites which are dedicated to the science of Visible Migration.

BTO Bird Migration Blog

The Bird Observatories of Britain & Ireland

Trektellen Migration counts in Great Britain

Durlston Country Park Daily Diary

 

Do let us know of any other websites that you become aware of.


 UKbirdingtimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell on Google+

*As ever, bird images are courtesy of The Birds of the Western Palearctic interactive DVD, produced in association with Birdguides.

Heightened garden bird feeding activity due to the weather?

I have once again, topped up the garden feeders and I think it is fair to say, the birds are feeding at an unprecedented rate. In fact, if you were to look at the weather with regard to rainfall amounts and maximum Air Temperatures associated with them, you would not find my observation too shocking.

June 2012 climate summary as of 16th June

June 2012 climate summary as of 16th June

Currently as you can see, as of Mid-June, the rainfall accumulation is 92mm with the mean Air Temperature at 1.6c below average. If at this stage, you were to break down the precipitation into rainfall hours, this would illustrate how soggy June has been so far. My Davis rain gauge can perform this very precise calculation by accumulating the amount of bucket tips it produces, each one measuring 0.2mm at a time. Furthermore, the weather station records the weather parameters each minute of every day. On this basis, June has therefore produced 448 tips. The absurdity of our climate at this mid stage of June being proven by my location in Berkshire having received 105 hours of rainfall. Thankfully, for most folk at least, a good amount of this rainfall has been localised and arrived during the overnight period. Another summary is available via this blog post.

I think June is a wonderful month for birding activity in general in our gardens. This time around, in no doubt due to the lack of insect food, most of this is washed clear of the local trees and shrubs, the birds are amassing. A post on my other blog hinted at this activity and boy, is it continuing to this day. My sunflower hearts, the main feed provision is digested at approximately 2 kg or more per day. The variety is very high quality too. Sample lists from when I am at home involve the usual Blackbirds, Robins, House Sparrows and Song Thrushes etc. More interestingly, the number of finches is impressive with many different types accounted for. These include Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches as well as a Bullfinch or two. Annoyingly though, the more boisterous birds will on occasions bully the smaller ones off the feeders. The main culprits being the individuals with higher biomass effect, birds such as Jackdaws, Starlings and Wood Pigeon. More about these potential bully birds next time!

Best Wishes

Tony Powell