Thursday, 31 January 2013
Wednesday got off to a pleasant start with some winter sunshine but it didn't last long and by late morning the wind had become gale force blowing in squally rain showers. In our sheltered suburban garden we don’t get the high wind speeds recorded by the “proper” weather stations but it’s rare for us to measure gusts of 30 mph as we did yesterday.
The last time we had such strong gale force winds was January last year. December and January do seem to be the most likely months for such strong winds. January 2012 holds the record with 8 gusts recorded between 31 and 35 mph.
Perhaps things will settle down a little as we move into February.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:50
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Tuesday was mild and windy with a few squally showers included for good measure. The temperature soared into double figures reaching 13.7°C which is the warmest day of the year and the warmest day since 20 November last year.
Our seeds arrived from Kings Seeds a reminder that the new growing season will soon be here. Although there is a temptation to start sowing straight away I wont be doing much sowing before the beginning of April. That’s my plan will I be able to stick to it!
Some of these seeds are to share with a friend but …?
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:25
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
The milder windy weather has seen the last of the snow disappear. The birds have suddenly gone missing from the garden so perhaps they’re finding food in the fields and hedgerows and not having to rely as much on garden feeders.
I can’t resist the temptation to look for signs of spring in the garden. I know it’s far too early to expect spring to arrive as February can often be a very cold month. Still I spotted the first signs of a crocus in the front garden.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:46
Sunday, 27 January 2013
The thaw set in properly on Saturday as the temperature rose to 6.2°C. All the snow and ice stored up in the rain gauge funnel melted and by early evening it amounted to 16.6mm of rainfall. Then mid evening it started to rain even though the snow hadn't completely thawed. In the end we’d had 19.8mm of precipitation making it a wet day although it had only rained for a couple of hours.
Now the snow has gone our hellebores are continuing to put on a display as though the snow and frost had never occurred.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:41
Saturday, 26 January 2013
Although it remained dull and cloudy all day it was just warm enough for a slight thaw to take place. The main event of the day was to be the heavy snowfall in the late evening and into Saturday morning. Fortunately for us we missed the brunt of the storm but from Twitter it would seem that even locally around Wakefield there has been some heavy snowfall with council gritting teams out trying to clear the roads.
Yesterday’s hostas in their top hats just got an extra little coating overnight.
Saturday morning has started off sunny and milder with the temperature at 4.3°C (at 10:44) and the snow is thawing rapidly. Our garden is quickly loosing its white blanket.
Now its down to counting how many birds descend on our feeders today as part of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Don’t forget to do your bit. You can find details of how to take part here.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 11:01
Friday, 25 January 2013
Thursday was a dull day but nevertheless the slow thaw continued as the temperature soared to an almost tropical 2.4°C. That’s our warmest day since the 15 January.
Our hosta pots still have a top hat of snow. We've never given our hostas any winter protection so the assumption is that they will survive this cold spell. Overnight into Friday morning was once again very cold with the temperature down to -4.8°C.
We’re now due one more heavy snowfall tonight and into Saturday morning before mild, wet and windy weather sweeps in from the west over the weekend bringing to an end our current cold spell.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:31
Thursday, 24 January 2013
Wednesday was a cloudy cold day but despite the low temperatures the lying snow did thaw a little bit and parts of the garden started to emerge from beneath the blanket of snow.
This hellebore was pictured on 12 January. The cold snap had started but the snow hadn't arrived. Optimistically it was the first real sign of spring but then the snow arrived and confirmed it was definitely winter and not springtime.
The snow has gradually stated to thaw and our hellebores will hopefully continue to flower after a couple of weeks in the deep freeze.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:00
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Tuesday was a much better day with the sun even managing to make an appearance in the morning and early afternoon before it clouded over again. It was the first time for about a week that the sun had managed to break through the cloud cover.
Outside it felt much pleasanter in the sunshine even though the temperature only made it up to a maximum of 1.7°C. So far though winter hasn't been too cold despite the last couple of weeks of cold weather.
In the early part of January 2013 our average winter temperature was above that of 2007 the warmest in recent years. The last couple of weeks have brought the average tumbling down. It’s anybody’s guess where the orange line will finish when we arrive at the end of February.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:14
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Our local news reported that Monday’s snow was the heaviest fall since 2010. It prompted me to have a look back through our photographs to see if it appeared to be the case in Ossett. On the evidence of the pictures below it’s correct but I reckon that fall in January 2010 was more than today’s.
Monday, 21 January 2013
Sunday was dull with the threat of snow in the sky. It was a bit milder and a little of the snow in the rain gauge did manage to thaw. Over night Sunday into Monday morning saw more snow arrive as you will have spotted from our almost live web cam pictures.
Our feathered friends soon put in an appearance once I’d cleared the bird table of snow and put some fresh seed out. Our crab apple tree was soon filled with birds waiting their turn for the feast.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 12:19
Sunday, 20 January 2013
Saturday continued the cold theme with just a little light dusting of fine snow which didn't really add to the amount we already had. It was a little bit milder than of late with the temperature just making it into positive territory.
After the very mild start to the month we could easily have seen a record breaking mild January but the recent cold snap has seen the average daily temperature fall rapidly and we've now dropped just below the expected average for the month.
We had a cold spell last year about the same time but it didn't last long with the last couple of weeks of January being around the average. It doesn't look like we will be so lucky this year as the forecast for the coming week doesn't look too promising and it looks like the cold spell will remain with us for most of next week.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:38
Saturday, 19 January 2013
By the time Friday morning came our forecast was for light snow starting mid afternoon and continuing into the evening which turned out to be correct. Once again it was a cold day with the temperature hovering just below the 0°C mark all day.
This was the scene first thing on Saturday morning maybe about 25mm (1”) of snow. The temperature has managed to make it marginally above 0°C but there’s no sign of the snow melting.
The forecast is for this cold spell to continue for another week before we get any milder weather.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:45
Friday, 18 January 2013
Thursday was another day of below freezing temperatures although it wasn't as cold as Wednesday with a low of only -4.1°C. It did warm up through the day with the thermometer hovering just below 0°C for most of the day. In the early evening we had a sprinkling of snow. The next three days are forecast to be snowy.
Whilst we were out we took the opportunity to capture some of the trees still covered in hoar frost.
These were taken on a trip to the garden centre to buy some capillary matting and vermiculite. Not that we can do any gardening at the moment!
Thursday, 17 January 2013
The month may have got off to a mild start but there can be little doubt that we have no entered into a spell of seriously cold weather. It didn't get above freezing on Wednesday with a high temperature of -1.9°C and early in the morning a low of -5.8°C and an average daily temperature of -3.3°C.
It turned out to be our coldest day since that record breaking cold December of 2010 when on 21 December 2010 we had a low of -10.1°C, a high of -3.5°C averaging out at -7.4°C for the day.
With snow forecast for Friday and over the weekend and the cold spell extending into next week it’s going to be a testing time for plants and wildlife.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:20
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Tuesday night into Wednesday morning produced the lowest temperature of the winter so far with a bitterly cold low of -5.8°C at 04:37 on Wednesday morning. That's our coldest night since 23 February 2012 when the temperature fell to -5.9°C.
On Tuesday I decided to try out some bird pictures as we had lots of birds coming to the feeders in the cold weather.
|Male house sparrow|
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:10
Monday, 14 January 2013
On Sunday morning the temperature fell below freezing for the first time this month. So after a mild start to the month some cold wintry weather has arrived. It was sunny and cold most of the day clouding over late in the afternoon with a dusting of snow arriving late into the evening.
We’ll just have to hope that the plant manages to make a recovery and produce some delicious broccoli spears in a few weeks time. If it doesn't then I think in future winter brassicas will need protecting with the risk of damage from the collapse of the protection the least problematic of the two options
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:55
Sunday, 13 January 2013
Saturday was rather chilly but we needed some fresh vegetables so we made our first trip of the new year to the plot to see if we could do some harvesting before any of the forecasted snow arrives.
We managed a good harvest which is detailed here. Our carrots are still in reasonable condition despite the very wet soil conditions they've been left in this winter.
These are Autumn King a variety that normally performs well for us. However not all the carrots lifted were in such good condition as some had obviously split in the wet growing conditions of last summer leaving the insides of the carrots open to attack from all sorts of nasties lurking in the soil.
Not very pleasant at all but luckily for us this has only happened to one or two carrots the rest still being in good condition even if some were strangely shaped..
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 11:10
Saturday, 12 January 2013
Well Wednesday’s sunshine didn't last long and by Thursday we were back into dull conditions. This time with temperatures much more like January with highs around 5°C but so far no very cold nights. Some suggestions are that next week will be colder with overnight frost and snow showers by day. We’d better get some vegetables from the allotment tomorrow in case bad weather really does set in.
We’re always left a little bit disappointed, after visiting RSPB Reserves, that we haven’t managed to see any of the many birds up close. Most of the birds are at the full zoom limit of our camera lenses as the above shot of some lapwings shows. So we decided to invest in a descent bird spotting scope so we could at least get a good view of the birds. However, it is possible to fix a digital camera to a spotting scope with the correct attachments and use it to take close up pictures. Our first task is now to get used to using the spotting scope and at least be able to get it trained on a suitable subject.
I just couldn't resist the temptation to hold a digital camera at the end of the telescope and see what the camera saw. Here it is our first camera shot down the lens of a telescope.
I soon found out why a special attachment is required as I tried to hold the camera in the correct place on the telescope as well as attempt to follow any bird movement and focus telescope and camera all at the same time. Then of course all that’s required is pressing the camera shutter at the right moment.
After a bit of time spent messing about I managed this picture of one of our flock of ‘legless’ sparrows. The telescope was set on its minimum zoom of 24x for this picture and will zoom all the way up to 72x. Room for improvement certainly but this method might just hold some scope for close up photography.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 09:49
Thursday, 10 January 2013
At last the dull weather has gone and Wednesday was much brighter with some decent sunny spells. The arrival of the much brighter weather has also brought a dramatic drop in the mild temperatures of the last week or so to more normal January levels.
It’s forecast to be a bitterly cold weekend with severe overnight frosts. There seems to be plenty of uncertainty about the weather into next week but it seems a possibility that the colder weather might hang around awhile.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:19
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Monday’s video from our visit to Old Moor.
- Featured in the video are: Male and female bullfinch, male pheasant, great spotted woodpecker, greenfinch, robin, chaffinch, long tailed tit, lapwings, wigeon, mallard, coot, cormorant, Jacobs sheep and Canada geese.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:26
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
The first week of January has been exceptionally mild both by day and by night. The downside is that it’s been dull and cloudy all week with just a few brief spells of sunshine breaking through the gloom.
It’s very similar start to last January which was mild. Although the forecaster’s are predicting some colder weather its duration and intensity are tricky to quantify.
We made the most of the mild weather to visit RSPB Old Moor. The sun didn't manage to make an appearance until late afternoon just as we were about to leave.
As for the birds, well they obviously expected a visit from us and tried to stay well out of reach of our camera lenses.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 10:50
Sunday, 6 January 2013
Not much to say about the weather as the dull, mild spell continued.
Our Peasgood Nonsuch apples stored in the garage fridge are still in good condition. We can’t be absolutely certain about the variety but with such a wonderful sounding name, and it’s a variety we planted at one time, we’ll stick with it.
It’s a bonus crop as these apples are from a cordon tree growing behind our greenhouse which was cut down long ago and sort of regrew behind our backs and now produces a delicious crop of cooking apples which store very well.
Our onions are a different story. It wasn't that easy to get our crop dried off last autumn and that problem is now being high-lighted amongst our onions in store.
I don’t think this one will make the pot as it’s only any good for the compost heap unlike the apples which might just find their way into a crumble.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 11:24
Saturday, 5 January 2013
The weather has been stuck in a drab phase for the last couple of days with the mild and dull spell continuing at the expense of any sunshine. As the temperature managed 12.3°C on Thursday I thought this might be some sort of record for January but that’s still held by 13 January 2011 when the thermometer managed 13.1°C.
So the weather was another chance to practice taking some bird videos. In the firing line this time was our charm of goldfinches as they squabbled over rights to sunflower hearts from the feeder.
I have to be honest as I’m a bit responsible for some of the squabbling. There’s a clever adjustable balancing mechanism built into the feeder so if too much weight is placed on the perching ring the seed hole ports are closed. This is primarily to stop squirrels from feeding but I've adjusted it quite finely to stop half a dozen sparrows at a time sitting on the ring until the feeder is empty. The upshot is that our goldfinches have fathomed out that three goldfinches at a time is the limit, should a forth arrive somebody has to be persuaded to leave.
A couple of sparrows are able to perch for sunflowers, as can a couple of greenfinches or chaffinches. I've even seen a starling try but without any success.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 08:15
Thursday, 3 January 2013
The new year has got off to a mild start with the temperature making it into double figures again. We didn't have any sunshine today unlike Tuesday when we had some nice sunny spells.
As it was dull and there isn't much to do outside, besides which I’m still resting my nose, I decided to try a little bit of bird photography. I was rather lucky that this female blackbird perched long enough in our magnolia tree for me to focus my camera whilst she decided which treat to go for.
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 07:27
Wednesday, 2 January 2013
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the main feature of 2012 was the rainfall. We did have a relatively dry start to the year with below average totals for February and March. Droughts of almighty proportions were predicted with suggestions that no matter how much it rained the situation would takes years to correct itself. It hasn't stopped raining much at all following those predictions which turned out to be absolute rubbish.
By the end of December we had 879mm of rainfall in Ossett compared with an expected 652mm or around a third more than we might expect on average.
Our average temperature for 2012 of 9.71°C was more than one degree centigrade cooler than 2011 which averaged 10.95°C.
Let’s hope for a warmer and drier 2013!
Posted by Martyn Garrett at 12:23