Friday, 22 January 2010

Over dressed

The safari went out with big Frank onto Patch 1 this morning clad in a multitude of thick warm layers and waterproofs after having seen spots of rain in the puddles on the garage roof. Too many clothes!…phew it was warm…on returning, before 07.00hrs, a look at the thermometer told us it was a midge’s doo-dah short of 8°C…sweatin’ cobs we were. Shorts and a t-shirt would have been sufficient.
Was there anything to report? – Just a couple of singing Robins and a singing Song Thrush in the park.
Now there’s a thing, yesterday we received the UK Phrenology Network’s newsletter and noticed that the average date of the first Song Thrushes heard singing has changed from 19th March to 17th February. That’s 30 days earlier than a decade ago! Other wildlife showing signs of being significantly earlier in its life history now compared to 2001 include:-
British native tress coming into leaf – two weeks;
Our grass is growing a week and a half earlier;
Migrant birds are arriving a little under a week earlier;
Common resident birds breeding activity is a week advanced;
The first flowering of the suite of familiar plants is a week and a half earlier;
Frogs are breeding a week and a half earlier too;
Similarly hibernating insects are emerging a week and half earlier;
Spring butterflies are now on the wing two weeks earlier.
In addition to these national observations the natural history of Blackpool has also shown some significant signs of climate change. In the early 1990s several species of dragonflies and butterflies were unheard of in Blackpool. Now Emperor, Migrant Hawker, Broad Bodied Chaser, 4-Spotted Chaser and Black Tailed Skimmer are regularly seen. Butterflies new to town in the same period include Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper, the numbers of Orange Tips have also increased prodigiously. As for other invertebrates such as moths, beetles, dipterans etc I’m sure the same would show if we had more comprehensive information. In that time there has more development, less habitat, more habitat fragmentation and deterioration so it’s unlikely that the habitats are more suitable for these species. Creatures we have lost from town include Skylark, Grey Partridge and Brown Hare are down to negative changes in their habitat rather than any climate related effect.
Aafter our recent short cold spell the sceptics are desperately trying to convince us that climate change isn’t happening – just look at the natural world will you – it doesn’t tell lies – it responds to actual events on long term timescales – something is DEFINITELY happening – if you opened your eyes you’d see it as plain as the nose on yer faces…stop whining and do something…oh you won’t - you want to sell more oil…
By bizarre coincidence a scan through the letters in the local paper this arvo saw a rant by ‘Disguised Agenda of Blackpool’ rabbiting on about the fact that climate change is an evangelistic doctrine, nothing more than a conspiracy to advance the cause of socialism(?). Apparently it is a plot to ‘herd us into universal socialism’ by redistributing even more of our wealth to the ‘begging bowls of developing countries’ in the third world…heard it all now!
Politics over; there was little on Patch 2 this morning eight bait diggers today, two Turnstones, 39 Redshanks and lo-and-behold we ACTUALLY counted the Oystercatchers – a grand total of 61, hardly an earth-shattering figure. The tide was out and it was so grey and gloomy that we could only just see the sea so no news from there at all.
We were fortunate that we had a site visit this morning and afterwards were able to nip down to the nature reserve for a few minutes to, hopefully, nail the two (Eurasian) White Fronted Geese that were seen there yesterday. On arriving we spotted MJ on the embankment – a good sign, if they were about he would be on to them…but as we approached the little bridge two things were evident, a) no geese sounds coming from the fields and b) much worse - a bloke and a dog by the dyke. Speaking to MJ he told us that the bloke had got there about half an hour ago and flushed 2-3000 Pink Footed Geese ( ± 2 White Fronts) off the field and MJ himself had only just arrived and didn’t get a chance to grill through them. Nightmare!!! As a minor bonus one of the Cetti’s Warblers was heard in the reeds in front of us, but as ever didn’t show itself. A drake Pintail was a good find by MJ. There was a large number of Teal but no sign of any with a vertical white stripe.
Patch 2 at lunchtime was a total grey-out, a thick low sea mist engulfed just about everything. With visibility down to around 600 yards the only birds of note were two Great Crested Grebes, where was the third?
Where to next? Interesting times at the weekend with a safari further afield.
In the meantime let us know what’s looming in the mist in your outback – anyone got any Gorillas?
Apologies again for the lack of photos – once again to grey to bother the camera.
Just heard from my mate that his hydro-electric barrel is about to be prototyped. Gonna be a great innovation when it goes in to production…look out for one on a river or stream near you. Apparently a Swedish newspaper (back to them again) has already run an article on it and its still only a hypothetical cyber thing…any of our Swedish readers see the article?


Warren Baker said...

Song Thrushes have been singing here intermittently since late Dec. !

Monika said...

I like the idea of encouraging folks to look to the timing of events in the natural world as signs of changing climate. It shows just how out of touch we as a society are with the cyclical nature of the seasons that hardly anyone pays attention to when the birds migrate or sing!