Nature Notes December 2021

Total monthly rainfall: 99 millimetres.  Maximum daily rainfall: 22.5 millimetres (25th December).

There were 19 days when measurable rain fell, and 20 days when cloud-cover reached 100% for at least part of the day.

Maximum temperature on the warmest day was 14C on 29th and 31st December.   Maximum temperature on the coldest day was 4C on December 2nd. Overnight frost occurred leading up to the 7th, 11th, and 22nd.

Seven of the first ten days experienced wind speeds of between force 5 and 7, as did December 28th.


There have been several species of small numbers of wild flowers which have been seen this month, beginning with field speedwell, groundsel, and shepherd’s purse on December 10th; continuing with dark mullein and meadow vetchling on the 7th; including common knapweed and sow thistle on the 12th – and finishing with creeping buttercup on the 28th, and stitchwort on the 29th. Remaining flowers in bloom at the month’s end were red and white deadnettle, lesser periwinkle, feverfew, canadian fleabane, common daisy, and dandelion. The last shrub, hazelnut, became bare on December 10th.

Although we saw no butterflies at all this month, we have seen 25 species – a commendable number - during the year, but numbers within the species were generally down.

Following a poor year for moths, we fared no better this month – having only 3 winter moths on lighted porch windows on December 3rd, 16th, and 20th.

Like butterflies, our dragonfly species numbers remained reasonable at 20, but some Individual numbers were down. Also like butterflies, we saw no dragonflies during the month, as the last  disappeared on November 28th.

Sightings of wild-birds continued the pattern seen during November, with those high up the “pecking order” dominating attendance at the feeding station, moderate flocks of starlings and crows perching in the trees, and almost daily visits from the heron. Very few Canada geese turned up, and the cormorant dropped in from time-to-time, but we saw nothing new or unusual. The jay visited the feeders on dull grey days (Dec 1st, 16th, 24th) when photographs were unsuccessful, and the buzzard hunted above the wood on December 31st. We saw 6 black- headed gulls flying round the main island on the 2nd and 8th, and 100 plus flying west-east on the 13th.