This time last year I posted a note on the increased numbers of plants spotted flowering in the UK on New Year’s Day. Today the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland released the results of this year’s plant survey.
Just to keep things in context…
Average expected number of species flowering – 20-30.
2015 number of species flowering – 358
2016 number of species flowering – 612!
I also spotted a report on the BBC News website this morning on how Britain’s birds have been coping with our weirdly warm, wet winter. What the dickens are swifts doing in the UK in December? They should be in Africa! Apparently summer migrants are still here (or back early?) and winter migrants haven’t arrived in their usual numbers (presumably because it’s mild enough in their summering grounds they don’t feel the need to head for gentler British climes?)
It’s nice to see more birds sticking around rather than leaving, perhaps, but the milder weather has also increased disease rates amongst wild birds, which isn’t so good. Garden pests also haven’t had enough of a frosting to keep their numbers down – let’s hope that the increased bird numbers helps to predate the slugs and snails to reasonable levels!
Storm Jonas is currently giving the west of the UK a hammering but, so far (touch wood!) up in the north-east corner here it’s merely windy and warm, not yet sodden. I expect local river levels to rise soon all the same, as it’s raining over the snowpack in the Cairngorms – bad news for the snowsports industry, as they’d barely got the slopes open before this thaw and wet weather hit them, forcing them to close again.