Nature Notes – January 2022

by Andy Johnson

The weather in 2021 was extraordinary. After a cold, wet winter, April and May were the coldest for thirty years and unusually dry. April was dominated by high pressure with sunny days and cold, frosty nights. These conditions coincided with the height of the bird breeding season and left birds with insufficient food for their young, leading to many failed nests. Fewer swallows and house martins returned and they left early after nesting. The highlight of the breeding season were the 9 swifts who increased their number, taking advantage of the good summer weather which extended into the autumn. The long spell of good weather helped garden flowers, vegetables and butterflies, especially the large whites!
The British Trust for Ornithology have released their preliminary 2021 report which says ‘…it has been disastrous for most species’. On a brighter note, Elizabeth Davies had a brambling visiting her feeders and I have spotted tits, finches and bullfinches on mine.