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October 2011

1st (Sat) 11.8 C to 26.9 C / nil / 10.3 hours / SE 0.4 knots
A clear start to October, with a heavy dew, and it would remain sunny through the day, though invading cirrus and cirrostratus would make the sun quite hazy at times. Under the sun and with south-easterly winds it would become incredibly hot for October, with a high of 26.9 C (80.4 F), this smashing my previous October record of 20.1 C set in 2005. Mostly clear overnight, though thick cirrus and altostratus would increase by dawn.

2nd (Sun) 13.5 C to 24.5 C / 1.4 mm / 2.7 hours / SW 1.0 knots
A bright morning, though mid level clouds would increase with largely cloudy skies by midday. Remaining bright but cloudy for most of the afternoon, though by late afternoon the cloud would become much thicker with a somewhat dull end to the day. Very warm again though despite the cloud, with a high of 24.5 C. The cloud becoming ever thicker after dusk with a period of rain between 8 and 10 pm, but this would clear away by midnight. A mild night.

A Brimstone butterfly was seen in the garden a few times today, this becoming the first ever Brimstone that I have recorded in October. Meanwhile Red Admiral’s are still around in good numbers, though perhaps not as high as in some recent autumn’s, and indeed the other late butterfly species like Comma and Speckled Wood have been noticeable by their absence recently. In the evening at least three Bat’s can be seen flying around the garden at the moment, while in the mornings Skylarks & Pipits can be heard frequently passing overhead as they make there way southwards on migration. Three Swallow’s were also seen today, notable as during the last week only very few hirundines have been seen, and all of them have been Martin’s.

3rd (Mon) 13.5 C to 25.0 C / nil / 9.0 hours / SW 4.5 knots
A bright and very warm start to the day, the temperature above 14 C at dawn, and it would remain sunny and warm throughout the day, the temperature rising again to an unseasonable high of 25.0 C. However in late afternoon it would become quite gusty, with gusts to 32 knots, and it would remain windy into the evening. Variable amounts of cloud overnight and remaining breezy.

4th (Tue) 9.9 C to 16.6 C / nil / 1.1 hours / SW 4.1 knots
A bright start but by mid morning cloud would increase with overcast skies by midday. Remaining mostly cloudy throughout the afternoon, though there were some brighter periods too, and feeling much cooler with a high of just 16.6 C. A moderate breeze also made it feel that bit cooler. Mostly cloudy overnight.

5th (Wed) 11.8 C to 21.0 C / 2.3 mm / 2.2 hours / SW 6.4 knots
A grey morning, with cloudy skies, though feeling somewhat warmer again. The cloud breaking up somewhat in the afternoon, with some sunny spells at times, and though it was increasingly breezy it was very warm again for the time of year with a high of 21 C. Variable amounts of cloud at first in the evening, but later cloud would increase with outbreaks of rain for a time overnight. This would soon clear, but blustery showers would follow later in the night.

6th (Thu) 8.2 C to 12.1 C / 2.1 mm / 5.5 hours / W 7.3 knots
A breezy and chilly day with a mixture of sunny spells and blustery showers, one or two of which were quite heavy (though the strong and gusty winds which accompanied them made the showers sound somewhat heavier than perhaps they were in reality). Temperatures struggling to just 12.1 C, very different from the 26.9 C earlier in the week, and in the breeze (which gusted to 35 knots) it felt really quite chilly. Showers dying out in the evening with variable amounts of cloud overnight. The breeze would ease somewhat too, with temperatures falling to 6.2 C.

7th (Fri) 6.2 C to 15.2 C / trace / 4.0 hours / NW 5.5 knots
A cold and blustery morning, with variable amounts of cloud, though after 9 am the morning would see mostly cloudy skies. However in the afternoon some decent sunny spells would develop, and with the breeze also easing somewhat it would feel much warmer with a high of 15.2 C. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening, some of which was thick enough for a few drops of rain, and after some clear spells at first overnight, cloud would again increase later with cloudy skies by dawn.

Noticed Orion for the first time this autumn prior to dawn, with it standing high to the SW prior to 6 am. Jupiter however continues to dominate the morning sky, with it being easily the brightest object in the night sky from about 10 pm onwards and remains visible in the western sky well after dawn.
Meanwhile the bird feeding station has been attracting quite a few Greenfinches at the moment, with about 10 seen at one point during the last week. Greenfinches had become quite scarce in recent years, as a national disease reduced numbers substantially, but thankfully numbers seem to be increasing again. Other welcome visitors to the feeding station recently have been Tree Sparrow’s, as well as a few Goldfinches, while I remain ever watchful for the first Redwing’s of the autumn.

8th (Sat) 7.3 C to 15.6 C / 11.3 mm / nil / W 2.4 knots
A grey and dull morning with a uniform layer of thick altostratus covering the area, and it would remain cloudy throughout the day. Indeed by the end of the afternoon the cloud would become thick enough for some light drizzle, and as the evening progressed the rain and drizzle would become more persistent and heavier (peak rate of 5.8 mm/h). Outbreaks of rain and drizzle continuing throughout the night and by 9 am a total of 11.3 mm would be measured in the gauge, the most significant rain since August.

Redwing’s were heard passing over during the evening, as the low cloud and drizzle forced them nearer to the ground. I expect the first in the garden will be spotted sometime in the coming week.

9th (Sun) 10.0 C to 18.6 C / 0.5 mm / 0.4 hours / W 5.3 knots
A damp morning with outbreaks of rain, but by the end of the morning it would become mostly dry. Indeed in the afternoon some breaks even managed to develop with some sunny spells, but the wind would also freshen in the afternoon, with gusts up to gale force for a time. Cloud returning by the end of the afternoon, the breeze easing somewhat with it, and remaining overcast throughout the evening and overnight. Indeed the cloud would become thick enough for some rain around midnight, but this didn’t come to much. A very mild night with a low of just 15 C.

10th (Mon) 15.0 C to 18.6 C / 6.9 mm / nil / W 5.7 knots
A grey and blustery morning, though feeling quite warm with temperatures in the high teens. The wind becoming quite gusty for a time around midday and early afternoon (gusting to 31 knots), but cloud would thicken by 2 pm with outbreaks of rain moving in, the breeze easing somewhat with the rains arrival. Becoming drier again for a time by the end of the afternoon and during the first half of the evening, but rain and drizzle would return later, and would continue on and off throughout the night. Another mild night with all the cloud and rain.

11th (Tue) 12.7 C to 15.1 C / 22.4 mm / 0.1 hours / NW 1.7 knots
A wet morning with persistent spells of rain and drizzle, with a heavy spell of rain around 7 am when a peak rate of 10.8 mm/h was recorded. Becoming drier after midday, with the cloud even breaking up briefly around 2 pm with some short lived sunshine, but this didn’t last long with cloud soon increasing again. Remaining cloudy for the remainder of the day, with rain returning in the evening, this becoming quite heavy and persistent overnight, especially towards the end of the night. By 0900 22.4 mm was measured in the gauge, making this one of the wettest October days on my records.

The Sprout harvest has now begun, with the harvesters seen working out in the fields prior to dawn. Meanwhile some Plovers were heard in the cereal fields.

12th (Wed) 8.6 C to 12.2 C / 7.2 mm / nil / SE 0.8 knots
A very wet morning with persistent moderate to heavy rain, though by noon it would become lighter and more drizzly. Remaining damp for most of the afternoon with fine drizzle, this making everything dripping wet, though after 3 pm it did become somewhat drier, though it would remain overcast. Indeed sunshine has been at quite a premium in the last five days, with just half an hour recorded and three of those days seeing no sunshine whatsoever. Remaining overcast overnight, with some drizzle from time to time.

13th (Thu) 9.0 C to 14.4 C / trace / 0.3 hours / SE 0.7 knots
A dull morning with overcast skies, and indeed after 9 am this cloud would become thick enough for some light drizzle, though amounts would be insignificant. Drier and a little brighter in the afternoon, but nevertheless remaining generally cloudy with only one or two spells of weak sunshine. Remaining mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight.

About 10 FIELDFARE’S were seen this morning in the Willows near Millennium Orchard, these being the first I’ve recorded this autumn. Meanwhile Redwing’s were heard passing overhead, while a couple of Grey Partridge’s were heard out in the fields. Also seen was a skein of about 50 to 60 Grey Geese heading southwards, but they were unfortunately just beyond decent ear-shot for me to identify them as Greylag’s or Pink-feet.

This morning Dad and I made our way north of the border, choosing to walk in the area around Thixendale in what is now North Yorkshire. The weather was grey, with some light drizzle at times, but it certainly wasn’t cold with temperatures a comfortable 12 to 14 C. Quite a lot of birdlife was to be seen this morning, with newly arrived winter thrushes in the fields and hawthorn scrubs, with Fieldfare’s being particular noticeable. Amongst a flock of mixed finches a few Brambling’s were picked out, my first of the year, while out over the open cereal fields Skylark’s were in good voice this morning, and indeed were quite plentiful, some of them perhaps being migrants passing through. A flock of Golden Plovers was also seen, while gamebirds are currently abundant throughout the region. Later in the walk we came upon a Little Owl, a bird I have not seen for quite a while (they used to regular when they lived in a small abandoned barn on the estate, but sadly they disappeared after the barn was burned down by some mindless vandals from Hull).

Despite the lateness of the year and the grey skies, a few butterflies were seen, all Red Admiral’s, and a few wildflowers are still just about going, including buttercups, ragwort, harebells, herb-robert, and some Wild Pansy’s (or Heartsease if you prefer). In the little covert plantations the beech are now lovely and golden, though in general autumn colour is still largely absent from the countryside, while berries remain abundant on the likes of Guelder Rose, as well as Haws, Rosehips, Sloes, and some late Elderberries. The Guelder Rose’s have particularly attractive fruit, hanging in bunches of scarlet red and glowing like Christmas lights in the sun, while the shrub itself has attractive autumn leaves which remind me of wild Gooseberry with their various shades of pinks, yellows, and subtle reds. If you are interested Guelder Rose berries are not really edible (certainly not raw anyway), and must be cooked prior to eating. However they don’t taste that nice, and too many can cause stomach complaints, so in my opinion they are best avoided, and you’d be better sticking with haws, sloes, and rosehips, which incidentally remain abundant throughout the local countryside.

Of further interest this morning was an active shoot, which involved a large team of beaters for about a dozen or so guns, and we came across the same party of shooters and beaters twice along our walk, firstly on the edge of Cow Wold, and then again in Court Dale (where the now decaying equestrian course can be found). I expect the shoot was organised by David & Julia Medforth from Raisthorpe Manor, whom not only generate much needed money into the local economy (especially in winter), but also do lots of good work for charity. Shooting is a crucial part of country life, and attracts people from all walks of life, and long may it be allowed to continue freely and legally.

14th (Fri) 10.3 C to 15.5 C / nil / 6.9 hours / SE 0.7 knots
A mostly cloudy morning, though from time to time there were some short breaks in the high based stratocumulus and/or altocumulus. However by the end of the morning the cloud would be driven inland, with clear skies for remainder of the day, very welcome after a week of generally overcast skies. Remaining clear in the evening and overnight, with temperatures falling sharply as a result with a minimum 2.2 C. Mist forming later as well.

The first REDWING of the year was spotted in the garden this morning, six days later than last year. This follows on from the first Fieldfare’s yesterday (which were some seven days earlier than last year), and the first Bramblings.

15th (Sat) 2.2 C to 14.5 C / nil / 9.2 hours / SW 0.5 knots
After a cold and misty start a gorgeous autumn day would follow, with wall to wall clear skies throughout and abundant October sunshine. Quite warm too, especially as their was barely a breath of wind. Remaining clear in the evening and overnight, with temperatures again falling into the 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

16th (Sun) 3.5 C to 15.5 C / nil / 3.7 hours / SW 1.6 knots
An initially clear and misty start, after another cold night, but cloud would invade from the west by mid-morning, this even thick enough for the odd spot of drizzle for a time. However by midday some breaks would begin to develop, with the afternoon seeing a mixture of sunny and cloudy spells. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight.

North Cliffe Wood
On what was an initially clear, chilly and misty morning, we headed over to North Cliffe wood near Market Weighton, though by the time we arrived it had become cloudy, with even some spots of drizzle from time to time. However I wasn't that bothered about the weather to be honest, though some sunshine would have undoubtedly emphasised the many golds, coppers, and yellows which can be found throughout this precious little patch of oak and birch woodland. Indeed my main reason for visiting was in the hope of finding some good fungi, but sadly the wood was lacking this morning, I perhaps having missed the peak of the season or maybe the extraordinary heat at the start of the month has delayed things somewhat. Certainly there was no sign of the Parsol Mushroom's which were just starting to appear last time I visited, and I was only able to find one single Fly Agaric on the edge of the heath.

However the lack of fungi this morning was compensated by a good variety of birds in the woodland, including a flock of about two and half dozen Redpoll's, my first of this autumn/winter. I love these handsome little finches, with their red fore-crown's and attractively streaked plumage, and amongst the flock a few Siskin's were also spotted, along with some Goldfinches and mixed tits. The mixed tit flock also contained one or two Marsh or Willow Tit's, but I wasn't able to get a good enough view to confirm which species they were (they also remained frustratingly silent). Meanwhile a Jay and a Green Woodpecker were heard in the wood this morning, while overhead passerines continue there migration with Skylarks, Pipits, Redwings, & Fieldfares all being heard at least once during our gentle stroll. A Curlew was also seen passing over at one point, as was a skein of about 30 Greylag Geese, these probably on there way to North Cave Wetlands. All in all a good autumnal morning beneath the golden canopy, with the wood to ourselves yet again.

17th (Mon) 7.4 C to 14.3 C / 1.0 mm / 0.9 hours / SW 5.5 knots
A mostly clear start to the day but by 8 am cloud would have invaded rapidly from the west with the rest of the morning seeing cloudy skies. However despite threatening rain it didn’t come to anything, and in fact the sun would come out again briefly in the early afternoon, but this was short loved with cloud again increasing from the south west. The breeze would become quite strong and gusty in the afternoon too, with a peak gust of 31 knots. Remaining cloudy into the evening, with a short spell of heavy rain around 8 pm, which in the wind sounded very heavy (peak rate of 61.6 mm/h). However this soon cleared with the cloud breaking up after midnight, though it would remain blustery throughout the night.

A lovely moonlit start to the day today before sunrise, with a three-quarter moon shining down brightly high in the south western sky. Orion stood proudly high in the south too, with Taurus likewise obvious despite the moons glare. Jupiter however remains the dominant star of the pre-dawn sky, shining brightly like a beacon in the west at around 6 am.

About an hour and a half later there was a fine, fiery sunrise too, and indeed I also think that October tends to produce the best sunrises and sunsets of any month in the year.

18th (Tue) 5.6 C to 11.4 C / trace / 5.0 hours / W 7.3 knots
A clear and chilly start, made to feel that bit colder by a brisk WSW breeze. Remaining sunny for most of the morning, but in the afternoon some cloud would begin to bubble up with some brief blustery showers developing around the middle of the afternoon, some of these accompanied by some strong gusts of up to gale force. The showers and cloud would clear away by dusk with mostly clear skies again in the evening and overnight, and the breeze would also ease, this allowing temperatures to fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

19th (Wed) 3.8 C to 11.0 C / nil / 6.8 hours / NW 4.6 knots
A clear and cold start, with a thin wind again, though not quite as brisk as yesterday. Remaining sunny for much of the day, though some variable amounts of stratocumulus was around during the middle of the day. Clear in the evening and overnight with temperatures falling to 1.8 C, this allowing a touch of grass frost in prone areas, though a gentle to moderate breeze prevented a widespread frost.

20th (Thu) 1.8 C to 11.1 C / trace / 3.7 hours / SW 2.8 knots
A clear and cold start, with patches of ground frost in rural areas (the first of this autumn). Remaining clear and sunny for most of the morning, but by midday cloud would quickly increase with mostly cloudy skies for the remainder of the afternoon. Becoming somewhat clearer for a time in the evening, though thick extensive high cloud veiled the stars, but cloud would thicken up again later, with even some spots of rain prior to dawn.

I observed a bright shooting star this morning prior to dawn, most likely one of the Orionids which peak tomorrow. Meanwhile the winter constellations now dominate the southern sky at dawn, with Orion surrounded by the likes of the Large and Little Dogs, Gemini, Taurus, and Auriga, while the spring constellation of Leo is high in the south east.

21st (Fri) 3.3 C to 14.7 C / nil / 3.3 hours / SW 2.7 knots
A cloudy and grey start, the cloud thick enough for some spots of rain at times. Remaining cloudy through the morning but after midday it did begin to slowly brighten up with some spells of sunshine by the middle of the afternoon. It would remain bright for the remainder of the afternoon, with temperatures a little higher today than recently. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, though skies would clear later. However it was a much milder night thanks to a gentle to moderate southerly breeze.

The odd Red Admiral continues to be seen in the garden on the sunnier days, including a few today in the Ivy.

22nd (Sat) 8.3 C to 12.3 C / nil / 8.8 hours / SW 1.5 knots
A fine start, with mostly clear skies and remaining mostly clear and sunny for the remainder of the day, bar the odd bit of cloud from time to time. Remaining clear during the evening and at first overnight, but cloud would increase from the south later with overcast skies by dawn.

23rd (Sun) 7.5 C to 16.4 C / nil / 2.0 hours / SE 3.4 knots
A grey, overcast and somewhat murky morning, with visibility barely more than five to seven miles. However it would brighten up somewhat by the end of the morning, with some hazy spells of sunshine at times in the afternoon, though after 3 pm it would become increasingly cloudy again, and would remain so till dusk. Remaining mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight, though there were some breaks, especially later. Very mild overnight though, with a brisk SSE breeze keeping temperatures well above the seasonal norm.

Horsedale & Huggate dales area
On what was a grey and murky morning, Dad and I made our way up to Huggate, which today was hosting a special event by the ‘Ride Yorkshire’ folks whom have just recently started a Yorkshire Wolds ride. We met quite a few riders, with there mounts varying greatly in quality and size, and the riders were mostly friendly and seemed to be enjoying themselves. Personally I think the Ride Yorkshire idea is a great one and I wish them luck in their plans, for the Wolds are custom made for equestrian activities thanks to the many bridleways and wide drove roads. Indeed I’d much rather have horses running around than dogs, as too few dog owners seem to be aware of just how disruptive their over pampered animals are, not least to farm animals but also to game birds. Indeed many a shoot and hunt can be completely ruined by one stupid and daft dog, and I appeal to all dog owners out there to keep their dogs under control, ideally on a long lead.

Other than the activities of the horse riders our walk was largely uneventful this morning, with just a few Redwing’s heard now and then, and Hares out in the winter cereal fields. A few wildflowers are also still to be seen despite the frost earlier in the week, with the last white trumpets of Bindweed, while in the grassland meadows the very last of the Knapweed and Harebells can still be found here and there. Meanwhile a new bench overlooking Horsedale was of some interest too, and it is of a most unusual and imaginative design, with some text written upon its length, and it would seem that it has been put there by the National Trails organisation. I wonder if this is just a one off or whether the National Trails are planning any others along the length of the Wolds Way?

24th (Mon) 10.7 C to 13.9 C / 1.2 mm / 2.9 hours / SE 7.5 knots
A mild and blustery morning, with variable amounts of fractured cloud blowing swiftly across the sky on the SSE breeze. Cloud increasing in the afternoon, with cloudy skies by mid afternoon, and the breeze would become increasingly blustery with gusts of up to 30 knots. Remaining cloudy and blustery overnight, with some outbreaks of rain later, and with the cloud and wind it would be another very mild night with a low of just 11.3 C.

Lots of Redwing’s were heard passing over prior to dawn this morning, they perhaps part of a second wave as the winds have become more favourable again (SE this morning). Indeed after an initial rush earlier in the month, very few winter thrushes have been subsequently seen, perhaps indicating that they are moving rapidly south and west this year and not hanging around. What does this indicate, if anything, about the coming winter ?

25th (Tue) 11.3 C to 14.6 C / 7.2 mm / 1.8 hours / SE 0.9 knots
A damp start with some mostly light outbreaks of rain, though after 7 am it would become mostly dry. Remaining dull and overcast for most of the morning, though after midday it would begin to brighten up with even some spells of sunshine in the afternoon. However by and large it would remain on the cloudy side. Cloud increasing again in the evening, with a spell of heavy and thundery rain around 8 pm (peak rate of 25.6 mm/h). This came as quite a surprise, with some of the rumbles very loud and booming, while the rain had some ice pellets mixed in with it at first. Clearing by 9 pm with variable amounts of cloud for the rest of the night, and becoming a little misty by dawn.

26th (Wed) 6.0 C to 12.4 C / 0.9 mm / 5.7 hours / SW 0.6 knots
A raw and murky start, with a light mist and everything dripping wet after yesterday evenings heavy and thundery rain. However as the morning progressed it would become steadily brighter, and indeed by the afternoon it became mostly clear with long spells of autumn sunshine for the remainder of the day. Remaining clear in the evening and the first half of the night, but cloud would increase later with outbreaks of light rain by dawn.

Fieldfare’s & Redwing’s were heard this morning out in the fields and woods.

27th (Thu) 6.2 C to 12.8 C / 4.8 mm / 0.2 hours / SE 1.5 knots
A damp morning with outbreaks of light to moderate rain, though by 11 am this began to dry out. However it would remain mostly cloudy for the rest of the day, though some small breaks in the afternoon allowed some brief sunny spells. Indeed the cloud would thicken up again in the evening with some further outbreaks of rain. This rain would clear overnight, and with the skies clearing temperatures would fall with a low of 3.9 C, this also encouraging some patches of mist and fog to form by dawn.

28th (Fri) 3.9 C to 11.7 C / nil / 8.0 hours / SW 0.6 knots
A clear start with patches of mist and fog here and there, and it would remain largely clear throughout the day with lots of autumn sunshine. Cooler though, with a modest high of 11.7 C. Remaining clear in the evening and at first overnight, this allowing temperatures to fall to 2.8 C, but cloud would increase after midnight with overcast skies by dawn.

The stars were very clear prior to dawn this morning, with the rich star-field of the Milky Way obvious crossing the dark sky above. In the south west Orion stood high and proud, dominating the sky, and it was clear enough to clearly pick out the shape of his hunting bow, something which is not always that easy, while the Orion Nebula in his sword was clearly a fuzzy patch with the naked eyes.

29th (Sat) 2.8 C to 13.2 C / 0.6 mm / 0.7 hours / SW 2.6 knots
An overcast and grey morning, it remaining dull well into the morning (if those damned ‘lighter later’ people have their way it well remain dark till nearly 9 am at this time of year with GMT +2). It would become somewhat brighter by the afternoon, with even some weak spells of sunshine, but nevertheless it would remain largely cloudy, with the cloud again increasing by the end of the afternoon. Indeed there would be some rain during the evening, but this didn’t last long, with the rest of the night seeing dry but nevertheless mostly cloudy skies. A mild night with the blanket of cloud.

A flock of about 60 Golden Plovers flew over the area this morning. Winter thrushes were also heard, mostly Redwings.

30th (Sun) 8.0 C to 16.5 C / 0.4 mm / 3.2 hours / SW 0.9 knots
A grey morning with lots of cloud, though as we have now returned to good old GMT it does mean that it is again lighter in the mornings, most welcome indeed for any early riser. Becoming slowly brighter as the morning progressed, and indeed by the afternoon it would become increasingly sunny with a fine end to the afternoon. Very mild as well, with a high of 16.5 C. Clear spells at first overnight, though high cloud veiled the stars, but cloud would increase later with some rain by dawn. Temperatures also rising with the cloud, so that by dawn it was already nearly 15 C.

31st (Mon) 8.0 C to 17.5 C / 0.2 mm / 0.7 hours / SW 2.0 knots
A very mild start to the day (15 C at 6 am), with overcast skies and occasional outbreaks of light rain. Remaining cloudy and mild throughout much of the day, though in the afternoon one or two brighter spells would develop, with even some sunshine. Mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight, with some light rain by dawn. Another mild night.

A Green Woodpecker was heard near New Model Farm this morning. With the clocks going back over the weekend the mornings are much lighter again thankfully, and its nice to be able to see the countryside again in daylight. I much prefer lighter mornings and darker evenings, and I hope with all my heart that the selfish interests of the urban and southern middle class don’t rob us of these lighter mornings next year. Such people seem to have no romance or love of the natural world in their cold and lifeless souls.