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March 2011

1st (Tue) 3.0 C to 8.3 C / nil / 6.7 hours / E 1.9 knots
After a cloudy start it would soon brighten up, though extensive cirrus clouds would make the sunshine quite hazy. Remaining bright throughout the day with plenty of veiled sunshine, and all in all it was a pleasant start to spring. Remaining largely clear at first in the evening, but cloud would increase later and the remainder of the night would see overcast skies, though it would remain dry.

Two Redpolls and up to ten Siskin’s were in the Silver Birch this afternoon, again they mixing and moving with a flock of Goldfinches. In the garden the shrubs continue to ready themselves for spring, with the flower buds on the Kerria now almost ready to burst open, while both the Lilac’s & Honeysuckle’s are now coming into leaf. The Forsythia’s in the neighbouring garden are now starting to widely flower, while just here and there the odd Daffodil is just opening there flowers in the gardens of the borough.

2nd (Wed) 2.7 C to 5.8 C / nil / nil / N 1.5 knots
An overcast and chilly day with little in the way of any brightness. Remaining overcast overnight.

Siskin’s were again seen in the garden today.

3rd (Thu) 2.0 C to 5.7 C / nil / 0.2 hours / NE 1.8 knots
An overcast and grey morning, but by midday it did begin to brighten up somewhat, though it would remain generally cloudy throughout the afternoon. However there were some very small breaks from time to time in the stratocumulus layer which allowed some brief bursts of spring sunshine. Remaining cloudy in the evening and overnight.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming today, and indeed both the male and female were seen together in the garden at one point. A single Treecreeper was also noted today, along with now daily recorded Siskin’s.

4th (Fri) 3.3 C to 6.8 C / trace / 1.3 hours / NW 1.0 knots
A grey and cloudy day for the most part, but after 3 pm it did begin to brighten up and indeed after 4 pm it became clear with a lovely sunny end to the day. Remaining clear at first in the evening, this allowing a touch of grass frost, but cloud would again increase after 9 pm and it would remain overcast for the duration of the night. The cloud becoming thick enough to produce some drizzle later.

Gave the lawn its first mow of the year this afternoon.

5th (Sat) 0.9 C to 7.4 C / nil / nil / E 2.3 knots
A grey morning with outbreaks of light drizzle at times, and though it became drier by the afternoon it would remain cloudy and overcast, as indeed it would continue to remain through the evening and overnight.

6th (Sun) 3.7 C to 7.1 C / nil / 5.2 hours / SE 1.3 knots
A cloudy start to the morning, but after 10 am some sunny spells would begin to break through the stratocumulus layer, and by afternoon it had turned into a very pleasant and sunny day, which in any sun traps felt particularly pleasant. Remaining clear during the first half of the night, this allowing temperatures to fall below freezing for the first time in three weeks, but cloud would increase later with overcast skies by dawn.

The warm sunshine encouraged a few bee’s out today, with types seen in the garden including Honey, Bumble, and Carder. I also noticed the first flowering violets of the year in the small bed beneath the berberis.

Millingtondale Head & Nettledale
A pleasant mornings stroll in the heart of the high Wolds, on what was an increasingly bright day, with the walk finishing under largely blue skies. However apart from some pleasant singing Skylarks in the sky above, the countryside was very quiet this morning, with other highlights including a quite a few Hares out in the open fields, some flowering gorse (which when sniffed close up had a slight scent), and a brief appearance of a lone Buzzard.

Enjoyed an hour of star-gazing this evening, on what was a good night with clear skies and good stability. My main target tonight was the two galaxies of M81 & M82 in the constellation of Ursa Major, and though it took me some quarter of an hour to find them I was eventually rewarded with a fantastic view of these distant objects, both just managing to fit within the field of view of my 32 mm eyepiece. These two galaxies are often referred to as the ‘Bode’s Nebulae’ with M81 looking like a small version of M31, as it too is a face on spiral galaxy, while M82 is shaped like a pen, this being because we see this galaxy side on. To my eyes I actually found the smaller M82 actually brighter and more attractive to look at, with M81’s brightness defused over a larger area. Just below M81 lies a much fainter galaxy, NGC 3077, and with some higher magnification and averted vision I could just make out a very faint and small fuzzy patch, and this observation pleased me perhaps more than the previous two as it was so difficult to see. Buoyed by this success I next went in search of M101 near the double star of Mizar, and though I was able to star hop all the way to where it should have been I could see nothing at all, even with averted vision. I think its lower elevation and the fact it lay right in the worst of Beverley’s light pollution combined to hide it, and I think I’ll have to try and observe it when the Plough finds itself in a darker corner of the night sky.

7th (Mon) -2.4 C to 7.0 C / nil / 5.1 hours / SW 1.4 knots
A cloudy morning, and feeling quite cold with temperatures just a degree or two above freezing. However by midday it began to brighten up, and by 1 pm it had become mostly clear, and like yesterday it felt very pleasant indeed in any sun traps despite temperatures being little more than 6 C. Remaining largely clear overnight, with another frost.

Daffodils continue to come out around the borough, including a few in the garden, and what with the Forsythia’s, Narcissi, & yellow flowering Crocus’ an increasing and pleasing amount of colour is now brightening up the town.

8th (Tue) -2.1 C to 9.8 C / 2.3 mm / 10.2 hours / SW 5.0 knots
A clear and sunny morning, with a heavy hoar frost covering the district before the rising sun melted it. Remaining clear throughout the day, and with temperatures creeping up towards fifty degrees it was most pleasant indeed, though there was more of a breeze today compared to recent days. However soon after dusk cloud would move in from the south west, this thickening through the night with a period of rain later. The rain was heavy at times (peaking at 13.2 mm/h) and was accompanied by a fresh blustery wind which gusted up to 31 knots. Clearing by dawn.

A Wasp was seen outside my window in the afternoon, the first I’ve seen this year.

9th (Wed) 2.2 C to 10.6 C / 0.2 mm / 5.9 hours / SW 7.7 knots
A breezy morning with variable amounts of cloud, though there some good spells of sunshine too. Less cloud around for a time in the afternoon, with plenty of early spring sunshine, but by 2 pm some blustery showers began to drift in from the west, most of which were very brief affairs thanks to the breeze. The showers clearing away by the end of the afternoon with mostly clear skies in the evening, though it would remain very mild despite the clear skies, and indeed as the night progressed temperatures would actually rise. The breeze also becoming somewhat stronger, with gusts up to gale force.

10th (Thu) 5.9 C to 12.1 C / nil / 7.0 hours / W 8.9 knots
A bright day with plenty of good sunny spells, especially in the afternoon, but it was very windy with gusts up to 44 knots (force nine on the Beaufort scale), the winds strongest between noon and 3 pm. Remaining largely clear and breezy in the evening, with variable amounts of cloud overnight. The breeze becoming increasingly light after midnight.

11th (Fri) 3.2 C to 10.4 C / nil / 2.2 hours / SW 4.9 knots
A bright morning with some spells of sunshine, though there was a fair amount of cloud around too, this increasing in amounts by the afternoon so that by 1 pm it had become largely cloudy. Breezy again. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening, with some clear spells at times, but it would otherwise be mostly cloudy through the night, and as a consequence fairly mild.

A very large earthquake struck north eastern Honshu today, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, making this the largest scientifically recorded tremor in Japan’s history. It was centred offshore and as a consequence a large tidal wave was produced, this sweeping inland along Japan’s eastern coast, but particularly in the area around Sendai. Thousands are feared dead, most of whom were victims of the tsunami rather than the quake itself. Tokyo was also shaken violently but damage has thus far been reported as minimal.

12th (Sat) 5.5 C to 12.4 C / 1.7 mm / 0.4 hours / S 1.7 knots
A cloudy day for the most part, but despite this it was relatively bright, and indeed some sunny spells managed to break through from time to time during the middle of the day. It was very mild as well, with temperatures in the mid fifties. The cloud would thicken in the evening and overnight, with some outbreaks of largely light rain from 9 pm onwards. It would also become increasingly murky by dawn with visibility below 5 km’s.

The mild and ‘bright-ish’ weather today encouraged quite a number of Bumble bee’s to take to the wing, with probably half a dozen or so seen buzzing around the spring flowers.

13th (Sun) 6.1 C to 8.5 C / nil / 2.9 hours / NW 2.1 knots
A dull and grey day for the most part, with poor visibility in the morning, but after 2 pm it did begin to brighten up rapidly, with largely clear skies and sunshine by 3 pm. Remaining clear for the remainder of the afternoon, and indeed through the evening and overnight, and under clear skies the temperature would plummet reaching a low of -3.0 C, the lowest minimum since the end of January. A heavy hoar frost by dawn.

14th (Mon) -3.0 C to 10.1 C / nil / 8.2 hours / E 1.5 knots
A lovely start to the day with clear skies and a moderate to heavy hoar frost covering the district as the golden spring sun rose above the eastern horizon. Remaining largely sunny and bright throughout the day, though a fair amount of high level cloud did make the sunshine quite hazy and weak at times. There was also a cool easterly breeze, but in any sheltered sun traps it felt very pleasant indeed. Mostly clear in the evening, this allowing temperatures to drop close to freezing, but fog would form later and this would persist for the remainder of the night.

The hawthorn hedges are just starting to ‘green’ here and there, while the blossom on what may be ‘Wild Cherry’ at the north end of Long Lane is beginning to unfurl. The perfect weather at dawn encouraged some fine bird song across the district this morning, with Yellowhammer’s & Skylark’s being particularly good in rural areas, and a couple of Great spotted Woodpecker’s were also heard drumming this morning. Later in the morning I spotted my first butterfly of the year, and though my sighting was very brief I strongly suspect it was a Brimstone. A day flying moth was also seen around the same time, and both Bumble & Honey Bee’s were very plentiful in the garden today.

On Jenny’s birthday we went out for the day to Bridlington, enjoying fish and chips by the north beach and then having a short stroll along the shore line. Here there were loads of gulls, mostly Black heads (many of which are now in breeding plumage), and Herring’s, while along the edge of the sea itself a few Sanderling’s were seen busily feeding.

15th (Tue) 0.0 C to 7.6 C / 0.5 mm / nil / SE 2.8 knots
A foggy morning, with visibility easily below 200 metres at times, and though the fog would lift by the end of the morning it would remain grey and overcast for the rest of the day, this keeping temperatures somewhat depressed with a high of just 7.6 C. The fog returning in the evening and overnight, accompanied by some drizzle at times, with the fog becoming dense by the end of the night with visibility below 100 metres.

16th (Wed) 5.6 C to 6.9 C / trace / nil / E 2.2 knots
Dense fog to start the day, with visibility well below 100 metres, but by 9 am this had increased to 500 metres. Remaining grey and murky throughout most of the day, though by mid afternoon the visibility had further improved. Staying cloudy in the evening and overnight, the cloud thick enough for some bits and pieces of rain from time to time.

17th (Thu) 3.7 C to 10.2 C / nil / 0.5 hours / W 3.4 knots
A cloudy morning but by midday it began to brighten up somewhat with some weak sunshine breaking through in the first half of the afternoon. The cloud thickening again however by 3 pm and it would remain cloudy for the remainder of the day and much of the evening. However as the night wore on some clear spells would begin to develop again, this allowing temperatures to fall quickly with a grass frost by the end of the night.

18th (Fri) 1.4 C to 9.6 C / nil / 10.1 hours / NW 1.6 knots
A bright start, with an attractive red sunrise, and though for a time prior to 10 am any sunshine was quite weak and hazy thanks to extensive mid and high level cloud, thereafter this cleared and the remainder of the day saw largely clear blue skies with plenty of spring sunshine, which in any sun traps felt very pleasant indeed. Remaining largely clear overnight, this allowing temperatures to fall below freezing.

19th (Sat) -1.4 C to 11.9 C / nil / 7.7 hours / SW 1.9 knots
A bright and chilly start to the day, after an overnight frost. However with the sunshine it would quickly warm up, the temperature already in excess of 10 C by 10 am, and by and large the remainder of the day would be pleasant and sunny, though there were some cloudier periods from time to time too. Clear spells overnight, with variable amounts of mid and high level cloud, these preventing the temperature from falling as low as last night.

A fine looking pair of Bullfinches were seen munching on the blossom buds of the Crab Apple this afternoon, the golden sun really bringing out the bright pinkish hue of the male in particular.
The Moon was 14% larger than normal last night (visually that is) as it is currently exceptionally close to the earth.

20th (Sun) 2.4 C to 12.1 C / nil / 3.2 hours / SW 2.0 knots
A bright morning with warm sunshine breaking through patches of broken altocumulus. However as the morning progressed the cloud would become more extensive, and the remainder of the day would see largely cloudy skies, though not without some brighter and weak sunny spells at times. Very mild again, the temperature rising to 12.1 C, and feeling pleasant and spring like again despite the cloud. Variable amounts of cloud overnight and remaining mild with a low of just 6.5 C.

A Treecreeper was spotted again in the garden today. Meanwhile the recent mild weather has further advanced the season, with the garden’s of the district now hosting Daffodil’s in full flower. Hyacinth’s have also begun to appear in many garden’s (though not yet in full flower) and on sunny days the blue flowers of Anemone blanda are spread out fully, relishing the warming rays of the now ever strengthening sun. Some early Tulip’s can also be seen here and there now, including in the warmest areas of our garden.

21st (Mon) 6.5 C to 15.5 C / nil / 10.7 hours / W 3.9 knots
A mostly sunny and gorgeous spring day, with temperatures climbing in excess of 15 C for the first time in four and a half months. However there was a moderate westerly breeze in exposed areas, but certainly in any sheltered sun traps it felt more like May than March. Remaining largely clear overnight, but despite this it was another mild night with temperatures falling no lower than 6.6 C.

The Forsythia’s & Daffodil’s are now at their best, with the bright golden blooms positively glowing in the warm spring sunshine today. This is providing plenty of food for the now numerous Bumble & Honey Bee’s.

22nd (Tue) 6.6 C to 16.3 C / nil / 11.1 hours / NW 1.9 knots
A very pleasant spring day with largely clear skies throughout and the temperature climbing above 16 C, which with less wind today made it feel positively summer like in any sun traps. However after dusk cloud would increase, and the remainder of the evening and night would see mostly cloudy skies, which again made for another mild night.

The first Peacock butterfly of the spring was spotted in the garden today, sunning itself on the lawn or in nearby flower beds while I was out given the lawn its second mow of the year. In the corner of the garden the first of the Kerria blooms are now starting to open, while in the undergrowth of the garden quite a number of violets can now be found in flower.

23rd (Wed) 6.2 C to 17.5 C / nil / 7.0 hours / W 0.8 knots
A cloudy morning with extensive altocumulus covering the sky, but it was still quite bright nevertheless. However after 11 am the cloud would clear away, as the morning easterly was replaced by a westerly, and the rest of the afternoon would see wall to sunshine, this encouraging temperatures to climb to 17.5 C, making this the warmest March day since 2006. Remaining clear for the first half of the night, but cloud would increase again later as the light easterly returned.

The first Comma butterfly of the year was recorded in the garden today, with a single individual seen briefly fluttering around the north wall ivy. I also thought I heard a bird nest today at one point, though it seems a bit early and I may well have been mistaken.

24th (Thu) 3.4 C to 16.5 C / nil / 3.7 hours / NW 0.8 knots
A similar start to yesterday, as a very light easterly flow brought extensive altocumulus in off the sea, but by midday the wind again moved into the west bringing with it clearer skies. However there was more cloud around today than yesterday, and the sunshine was quite hazy. Indeed at dusk the haze produced a golden glow to the sky as the sun set, more like a late summer sky than late March. Mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight.

25th (Fri) 5.5 C to 12.9 C / nil / 3.6 hours / E 2.4 knots
A cloudy, hazy, and mild morning, though there was the odd break in the cloud from time to time allowing some brief spells of weak and hazy sunshine. By midday these breaks had become more extensive, with some long spells of hazy sunshine in the afternoon, and though it wasn’t as mild as recent days it nevertheless felt most clement indeed. Cloud increasing again by dusk and remaining mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight.

The Copper Beech blossom is now coming out on the young tree in the north east of the garden (the neighbouring tree to the south was cut down back in the winter). Meanwhile the garden Hawthorn tree has started to budburst.

26th (Sat) 5.3 C to 9.8 C / nil / 0.3 hours / SE 4.3 knots
A cloudy morning for the most part with a gentle easterly breeze, though there was the odd brighter period from time to time, particularly around 10 am. However after midday the cloud would become thicker with the rest of the afternoon seeing grey skies, which at times was just thick enough for the odd spot of mizzle. Remaining overcast overnight, with a moderate south easterly breeze making it feel much colder than recently.

A male Bullfinch was seen at the bird bath today, while the local Treecreeper was also seen today on the Swedish Whitebeam.

27th (Sun) 4.4 C to 10.2 C / nil / 3.3 hours / SE 0.6 knots
A cloudy morning with extensive stratocumulus, but as the day progressed this would begin to break with some spells of hazy sunshine developing in the afternoon. Indeed by the end of the afternoon it had become largely clear, with a red sun setting through the hazy sky. Clear spells in the evening and for much of the night, this allowing temperatures to fall lower than recently.

The first Hyacinth’s have now begun to flower in the garden, while the Grape Hyacinth’s are also beginning to appear in many of the flower beds.

28th (Mon) 2.0 C to 11.0 C / nil / 5.0 hours / SE 1.8 knots
A bright and chilly morning with variable amounts of alto and stratocumulus drifting across the sky, and by and large the day would remain bright with hazy spells of sunshine in the afternoon. Somewhat warmer than the past weekend to, the temperature climbing to 11 C. Clear spells overnight, though the stars were veiled throughout, and this high and mid level cloud would become somewhat thicker by the end of the night.

As March reaches its conclusion and we move towards April, the local area is now full of colour and fresh green growth. Blossom on many trees and shrubs is now widespread, with Cherries, Copper Beech, and Blackthorn providing splashes of white (and some pink) across the town and countryside. In gardens and along some roads the varying yellow shades of Daffodils are now at their best, while in the hedgerow the hawthorns continue to green, with leaves also apparent on Elder & Bramble. Indeed some of the younger Horse Chestnut’s the leaves are now beginning to unfurl. Bird song is now nearing its best, with a wonderful dawn chorus beginning most days, while out in the fields the Skylarks & Yellowhammer’s sing with all there heart.

This morning I heard my first CHIFFCHAFF of the spring, with one enthusiastic individual singing strongly at the north end of Long Lane. Some displaying Lapwing’s were also seen and heard over the Parkland fields.

29th (Tue) 2.4 C to 15.5 C / 0.2 mm / 6.1 hours / E 1.2 knots
A bright morning for the most part with hazy sunshine, though there were some cloudier periods too, especially around 10 & 11 am. However in the afternoon the sky would become clearer again, with some prolonged spells of warm but hazy sunshine to end the day. Cloud increasing after dusk with some spells of rain in the evening (the first recordable rain since the 15th), but this didn’t come to much and the rest of the night would see overcast and mild conditions, with murk by dawn.

The local Field Maple’s are just starting to green, while in the Parkland plantation the Hazels are now coming into leaf, and the Silver Birches are bud-bursting. Meanwhile the Chiffchaff was heard again at the north end of Long Lane, while nearer to home the Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming. In the afternoon I briefly spotted the first Small Tortoiseshell butterfly of the year in the garden.

30th (Wed) 5.9 C to 13.5 C / 2.1 mm / nil / SW 3.0 knots
A grey and murky start, and remaining overcast throughout the morning and into the afternoon. The cloud becoming thick enough for some light rain and drizzle in the second half of the afternoon, but this didn’t produce more than 0.2 mm and by dusk had cleared away. Some clear spells developing for a time in the evening but cloud would increase again later, with spells of rain moving in by the end of the night, some of which would be quite heavy by dawn.

The sunny, warm, and dry weather has meant that much of the early blossom is already concluding, as insect life, and bees in particular are quite plentiful and have been able to pollinate many trees and shrubs already. However there are still more flowers and blossom to come in the month ahead, with the red flower buds on the Crab Apple now becoming apparent amongst the unfurling leaves which now cover the tree. Hopefully the show will be better than last years. The Kerria is now about 50% out, and yellow is still very much the dominant colour in the garden with the abundant daffodils and forsythia.

31st (Thu) 7.6 C to 17.2 C / nil / 5.8 hours / SW 7.1 knots
A wet start with spells of moderate to heavy rain, but this would clear after 8 am, with it becoming slowly brighter as the morning progressed with spells of sunshine by the end of the morning and continuing through the afternoon. Becoming blustery as well though, with gusts in the afternoon reaching 40 knots. Much warmer as well, despite the breeze, with temperatures rising to 17.2 C. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, and though the breeze would ease significantly it would remain very mild with a low of just 8.8 C.

The Larch is now greening, while the Silver Birches continues to come into leaf. Meanwhile just a hint of orange is now starting to appear on the local Berberris’.

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