Wednesday, December 20, 2006


It’s December, nearly Christmas, and we have yet to experience anything like wintery weather. Indeed, a House Martin was reported over Anglesey, and there are still Swallows off the Kent coast – a Blackcap was even present in the Orkneys. A report from Oslo had Robins, Chiffchaffs, Redwing and Fieldfares still present in Southern Sweden - when seeing any one would be remarkable, but seeing them all was classed as astonishing. We can all guess why – GW.

The World Meteorological Organization said that ten of the warmest years since records began in the 1850s were in the last 12 years - 2006 ranking a provisional sixth. For the northern hemisphere surface temperatures are 0.58°C above the 30-year mean of 14.6°C/58.28°F and Autumn 2006 (September-November) was exceptional (in large parts of Europe) being more than 3°C warmer than the climatological norm.

The astonishing thing is that these changes are happening so fast they are occurring within a lifetime. Many of us will have anecdotal evidence of things we used to witness when running around in short trousers /skirts, that are not being repeated now.

We need to understand what is going on, why and how. This is how you can help – record everything (and then tell some one about it). For birding records log onto Birdtrack ( and input them; or send them to the Local Biological Records Centre (Merseyside BioBank - soon to be based at Court Hey Park /The National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool); or for those really hooked on these changes, to the Phenology website (

An exert from the Daily Telegraph added a day after the above: Martin Mere, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Rufford, Lancs, reports that it has a brood of nine mallard ducklings, either six months early or six months late – it is hard to tell.


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