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December 2016

1st December 2016, Thursday
2.4 C to 10.2 C / 0.0 mm / 3.7 hours / W 3
A cloudy start to the new month but things would brighten up by the end of the morning with some good spells of sunshine in the afternoon. Feeling mild as well with temperatures climbing into double figures. Clear spells in the evening but becoming cloudy overnight.

2nd December 2016, Friday
4.4 C to 9.1 C / 1.0 mm / 0.6 hours / NW 1-2
A largely cloudy day, though not without the odd sunny spell during the middle of the day, though in the afternoon the cloud would thicken with some light rain and drizzle in mid-afternoon and early evening. This rain would clear by 6 pm to leave a mostly cloudy night with just the odd clearer spell from time to time.

3rd December 2016, Saturday
3.9 C to 6.6 C / 0.0 mm / 0.6 hours / E 1
Another mostly cloudy day with just the odd brighter spell from time to time, especially around the middle of the day. Feeling colder as well with temperatures slightly below average for early December. Remaining mostly cloudy overnight.

4th December 2016, Sunday
4.2 C to 8.4 C / 0.0 mm / 5.6 hours / SE 3
Another mostly cloudy start to the morning but things would quickly brighten up with plenty of sunshine in the second half of the morning and the afternoon. Remaining clear throughout the evening and overnight with temperatures dipping below freezing.

5th December 2016, Monday
-1.6 C to 3.5 C / trace / 1.2 hours / SE 0-1
A cold and still winter’s day which began with a decent frost upon the ground, this frost just about managing to survive all day in any shady cold spots. It was also a bright, if not particularly sunny day, the sunshine diffused by extensive thin and hazy cloud. Remaining largely clear into the evening and night, this allowing temperatures again to dip below freezing figures, though latterly freezing fog would form, this becoming dense by dawn.

A quick visit to Swinemoor this morning brought little of note, indeed the wetlands were largely deserted at 11 am, but plenty of Greylags were noted distantly towards the northern end of the B-B Drain, whilst the floods hosted a few Herring and Common Gulls. I wonder where all the Wigeon and Teal go during the day?

6th December 2016, Tuesday
-1.7 C to 9.2 C / 0.5 mm / 0.0 hours / S 3-4
A raw and foggy start to the day, visibility reduced to around 100 metres, though as the morning wore things would slowly improve, indeed around the middle of the day it even become quite bright. However this wouldn’t last long with overcast skies and fog soon returning, the day concluding on a very dull note. In the evening the fog would lift to be replaced by light drizzle, though the most notable feature of the weather by this point was the rising temperature, this continuing to rise throughout the night. Remaining overcast overnight with periods of intermittent rain from time to time.

7th December 2016, Wednesday
0.1 C to 12.2 C / 7.3 mm / 0.6 hours / S 4
An overcast and dull morning, though the main feature of the weather was the mildness, the temperature almost in double figures at 9 am (the quoted minimum for the day actually coming yesterday morning due to one of the quirks of weather recording). It would remain mild throughout the day, whilst in the afternoon it would also brighten up with some spells of sunshine from time to time as well. Cloud increasing again in the evening and continuing to thicken throughout the night with persistent rain arriving from the south by the end of the night.

A testament to just how mild the weather was this evening was the spotting of a Pipistrelle Bat hunting around the back yard, the bat in question almost clipping my head whilst I was out feeding and playing with the animals. I don’t thing this is the first time I have seen an active bat in December (actually I think I may have also seen one last year), but nevertheless it was certainly worthy of notation and recording!

Yorkshire Wolds - A morning walk in the Wolds near Huggate with Rosie on what was a grey, mild, and on the tops at least, breezy sort of morning. The countryside was remarkably quiet with no people and little in the way of wildlife, though the woods of Tundale did host a few Goldcrests and roving flocks of mixed tits. Further along the valley a Roe deer was flushed out, whilst above us large numbers of both Fieldfares and Redwings were heard passing over, a sound and sight we regularly encountered during our walk. In Frendaldale we were treated to a fine view of a Red Kite hovering in the breeze, something you don’t see them doing that often, whilst up at Huggate Dykes a particularly pale Common Buzzard mewed as it searched for food over the fields. The fields up here also hosted a few Hares, an animal I never tire of seeing despite the fact they are relatively common up here on the Wolds, though the best sighting of the morning would actually come on the drive home, a hunting Peregrine Falcon being spotted between Huggate and North Dalton. Peregrines are never numerous up here on the Wolds but there is little doubt that sightings are becoming ever more frequent these days, something which I am at least happy to see.

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)

8th December 2016, Thursday
8.9 C to 13.1 C / 2.0 mm / 0.2 hours / W 4
A thoroughly wet start to the morning with persistent moderate to heavy rain, this making conditions under-foot rather muddy to say the least, though as the morning wore on it would clear away eastwards with conditions become dry by midday. Largely cloudy in the afternoon though towards the end of the afternoon some breaks would permit the odd brighter and sunnier period, these breaks becoming larger after dusk with some good clear spells in the evening and at first overnight. However cloud would increase once more after midnight with overcast skies by dawn.

9th December 2016, Friday
5.1 C to 13.0 C / 0.5 mm / 0.0 hours / S 3-4
A dull, overcast and exceptionally mild day with temperatures once more climbing up to 13 C, the chilly weather during November and at the start of the December already becoming a distant memory. Surely we are not on course for yet another mild winter! Little change in the evening and overnight, indeed the cloud would actually thicken enough for some periods of mostly light rain and drizzle at times.

10th December 2016, Saturday
7.8 C to 11.2 C / 0.7 mm / 0.0 hours / W 3
Another dull and cloudy day with little to commend it, though it was slightly cooler than recent days, especially out in the open. In the evening the cloud would bring some periods of mostly light rain and drizzle, this continuing on and off into the first half of the night, but after midnight conditions would become drier to leave a largely cloudy end to the night.

As I cleaned out the rabbit shed I heard the unmistakable sound of a croaking RAVEN passing over the garden, the bird in question flying right over me as I frantically tried to spot this largest member of the Crow family. This is the first ever record of a Raven here at Woldgarth and it will be interesting to see whether this was just a one off or something which will become frequent as this iconic bird continues to spend eastwards across Yorkshire.

North York MoorsWe spent a thoroughly enjoyable day up at Grosmont and the Moors today, our young nephew keeping us thoroughly entertained throughout. Indeed I am not sure he stopped talking the whole time. Much of our time in the village was spent playing beside the Murk Esk, this bringing sightings of a lone Dipper and up to four Mallards on the river, whilst the woods of the area hosted a single Nuthatch and a few Treecreepers. Leaping Salmon were also noted in the river (at least I think they were Salmon).

Later we enjoyed a walk up in the Tranmire Bog area on the edge of Cropton Forest, the drive there bringing sightings of two Stonechats and of course plenty of Red Grouse, though for the most part the moors were quiet with little to see. However a walk with my nephew did allow me to show him a world rather different from what he is used to back in the suburbs of Hull, the dangers of upland bogs leaving a particular impression upon him. Indeed walking up here does pose dangers to those unaware of the risks, but with time one can learn where it is safe to tread, a good stick being vital to probe the ground ahead of you.

Dipper beside the Murk Esk

11th December 2016, Sunday
5.9 C to 9.8 C / 0.0 mm / 1.5 hours / W 3
A mostly cloudy start to the day but in the second half of the morning some good spells of winter sunshine would bring some welcome brightness after a couple of sunless days. However in the afternoon skies would once again become mostly cloudy, bar the odd break from time to time, and it would remain mostly cloudy throughout the evening and indeed throughout the night. Feeling a little cooler and more seasonal than of late as well.

12th December 2016, Monday
3.2 C to 8.3 C / 1.0 mm / 1.4 hours / SE 0-1
A cool and misty start to the day, the mist becoming thick enough to be classed as fog for a time in mid morning, but this would clear by 11 am with some good spells of sunshine developing for a time during the middle of the day. However by 2 pm skies would become grey and overcast once more, and by the evening the cloud would be thick enough to produce some light drizzle, these outbreaks of mostly light rain and drizzle continuing on and off for the rest of the night. Temperatures rising overnight.

Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers are again regularly visiting the bird feeders, their favourites being the suet cakes and the peanuts. In the family home a Light Brown Apple Moth was encountered on the wall of the kitchen, whilst a Harlequin Ladybird has seemingly decided to spend the winter on the lamp shade of the table lamp in my office. Of course I would prefer it to be a native Seven-spot but I can’t bring myself to move the beetle now that it is in situ.

13th December 2016, Tuesday
3.1 C to 10.8 C / 3.2 mm / 0.2 hours / S 2
A dull, damp and murky morning with poor visibility, especially up on the Wolds, though towards the end of the morning and around midday things would brighten up briefly with even some spells of welcome sunshine. However this wouldn’t last with overcast skies soon returning, this cloud bringing some outbreaks of rain during the afternoon. Further and more persistent rain and drizzle in the evening and for much of the night but eventually dying out later. Temperatures again rising overnight with the thermometer in double figures by dawn.

After finishing our evening tea I noticed a curious bug at the bottom of the raspberry container, the species being totally unfamiliar to me. Knowing that the raspberries had come from Spain meant that I knew it would be difficult to identify the species from the British books and websites which I usually utilise, and even now I am far from certain. However I do think it was a species of Ground Bug (Lygaeidae) and have tentatively identified it as a Oxycarenus lavaterae, a largely Mediterranean species which can be abundant in the right areas. A little research suggests that the bug is becoming more widespread across Europe, though I can find very few references to the species here in the British Isles.

Oxycarenus lavaterae ?

Yorkshire Wolds - A good walk up on the Wolds with Rosie this morning, our destination of choice being the walk up Nettledale, along the top of Pasturedale and then over to Sylvandale before heading back and completing the circuit along the bottom of Millingtondale. The weather for much of the walk was dull and foggy, low cloud and drizzle enveloping the high Wolds of the area, but latterly things would begin to brighten up with even some very weak sunshine eventually. The underfoot conditions however were rather muddy to say the least, the bottom of Sylvandale being particularly bad with mud nearly up to the top of my wellington boots, but of course Rosie, being a Labrador, loved it all and thoroughly enjoyed getting soaked and covered in mud. However she was less keen when we had to clean her up when we got home !

Recently shot Red-legged Partridges. Noted the deformed beak of the bird on the left.

Nature wise it was the winter thrushes whom once more were the main feature of the walk, though this time Redwings outnumbered Fieldfares three to one, whilst in the birch woods between Nettle and Pasture Dales a large flock of finches was encountered. This flock was largely composed of Goldfinches and Chaffinches, though I am pretty certain I heard a few Bramblings amongst them too. These same woods also hosted hundreds, if not thousands of Wood Pigeons, these all thunderously taking flight as we made our way along, and further interest here was provided by a single White Pheasant amongst the quietly grazing Belted Galloway’s of Nettledale. Further along our walk we heard a day calling Tawny Owl at the head of Pasturedale and came across a pair of Roe deer, though a search of the water margins at the pond at the bottom of Sylvandale turned up nothing more than a few Moorhens (in the past this has often been a good site for wintering Water Rail). Finally both Buzzards and Red Kites were observed and heard in a few locations during the course of our two hour walk.

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)

14th December 2016, Wednesday
7.8 C to 11.0 C / trace / 1.9 hours / S 1-2
Another grey morning with predominantly overcast skies but by midday things would quickly improve with partly cloudy skies and occasional spells of mid-December sunshine during the afternoon. Becoming clear for a time in the evening but cloud would increase again after midnight with overcast skies and murk returning once more by the end of the night.

An exceptionally mild start to the day, the temperature just shy of 11 C at 9 am, and as a result it felt almost spring like as I fed the animals and exercised the dog. The spring-like feeling was further emphasised by the birds, many of whom were singing away despite the fact we haven’t even passed the solstice yet, the Robins being particularly vocal. However under foot conditions remain miserably muddy and there is little prospect of this changing any time soon.

15th December 2016, Thursday
4.7 C to 8.3 C / trace / 0.0 hours / SE 1
An overcast and dull day with no brightness, wind or indeed anything worthy of mention. Little change in the evening and overnight, though around 9 pm the cloud was thick enough to produce a few spots of rain. It would also become murkier during the night with mist and generally poor visibility by the end of the night.

With half of December now concluded it looks like this last month of the calendar year is going to conclude on a mild and dull note, temperatures currently standing at 2.3 C above the long term average. Night-time temperatures have been especially above average, indeed just two ground frosts have been recorded as of the 15th, whilst the sunshine total for the month is a meagre 17.5 hours, an average of just 1.16 hours a day. However on the plus side it has been relatively settled with no strong winds and less rainfall than normal, though despite the lack of rain the countryside is as muddy as I can remember for quite some time.

16th December 2016, Friday
6.6 C to 8.5 C / 0.0 mm / 0.5 hours / W 2
Another dull and overcast morning with low cloud and murk at first, but after midday things would begin to brighten up with even some spells of sunshine developing by 2 pm. Remaining bright for the rest of the day, though after dusk mist and fog would quickly form, this persisting throughout the evening. However latterly things would clear with a fat gibbous moon lighting up the rest of the night.

17th December 2016, Saturday
3.1 C to 6.9 C / 0.0 mm / 5.9 hours / W 1-2
A clear and cool start (well at least by recent standards), and remaining mostly clear with good spells of sunshine for much of the day, most welcome after all the recent grey and overcast weather of recent days. Clear spells in the evening and for most of the night, this allowing temperatures to dip low enough for a ground frost (just the third so far this month!), but cloud would increase later with temperatures soon rising with it.

SwinemoorArrived down at the river just as it began to get light, the fat gibbous moon shining down upon the brown waters of the river and reflecting beautifully through the riverside reeds as I gazed westwards across the winter floods. Since the weather has been largely dry so far this month (just 16.2 mm so far), the floods have actually receded since my last visit, though enough water remains for good numbers of Teal and Wigeon. As I enjoyed the sounds provided by these winter visitors I also became aware of a singing Mistle Thrush in the woods east of the river, something I have heard quite a bit during this recent mild weather.

Continuing down river a dog walker heading northwards along the Barmy Drain flushed up a 100+ Lapwing, their black-and-white plumage catching the ever increasing light, a sight which I stopped and admired for a few minutes before continuing on. A Kingfisher flew past me as I neared Grovehill, this stopping briefly on one of the moored pleasure craft which litter the riverbank here, whilst on the river I flushed up a dozen or so Teal, a bird I do not actually encounter on the river itself that often.

To the east over Weel Carrs a Barn Owl quartered the rough fields, a common but always welcome sight, but there was no sign of the Short-eared Owl I spotted back at the end of November. In the sky above a trio of Cormorants headed southwards, though far more interesting (at least in my view) was a single Grey Wagtail along the eastern bank of the river at Grovehill, an uncommon beauty in less than beautiful surroundings. Indeed as I departed the area and headed for home I had one last treat in the shape and form of a fishing Kingfisher within 10 metres of where I watched, the bird in question perched on one of the mooring ropes of the Syntan. If only I had had a camera !!!

18th December 2016, Sunday
2.3 C to 8.2 C / 0.0 mm / 0.5 hours / W 1-2
A largely cloudy day for the most part, though in the afternoon a few breaks would develop to allow some pale wintry sunshine. Clear spells in the evening and at first overnight, though after midnight cloud amounts would become more variable with alternating cloudier and clearer periods. However it would become clearer again prior to dawn with a touch of ground frost by the end of the night.

North Cliffe Wood - A Sunday morning stroll around my favourite woodland nature reserve on what was a grey and pretty nondescript mid-December day. As we headed down the western perimeter path we noted a large flock of Goldfinches amongst the birches, though despite a search amongst them I failed to pick out any winter finches or anything else worthy of mention. However a few mixed tits were with them, including a couple of Marsh Tits, whilst in the nearby oaks a few Treecreepers were noted ‘creeping’ up the broad boughs in their characteristic mouse-like way.

North Cliffe Wood

The heathland lagoon

As we headed out onto the heath a Great-spotted Woodpecker was heard ‘peep-ing’ in the distance, and as I searched for it my attention was caught by the always impressive sight of a Jay flying low in front of us, this giving us ample time to admire this beautiful bird. Since I do not encounter Jays that frequently on t’ other side of Wolds I always enjoy seeing this striking member of the crow family. As we continued onward another Jay could be heard calling in the heart of the wood, though the heath itself proved quiet, a covey of Red-legged Partridges being the only observation worthy of notation.

Glistening spider webs

Candlesnuff fungus

The southern path through the birches, alders, hazels and willows held few birds, bar a small family group of Bullfinches, though this area was productive for fungi. Indeed whilst the majority of the larger fungi types have now already faded for yet another year, a good variety of the more subtle and smaller species can still be found if you look carefully amongst the rotting woods. Candlesnuff fungus was particularly abundant, as was Yellow Jelly Fungus, whilst a few species of solitary Bonnet types were also encountered here and there (beyond my ID skills I’m afraid). Velvet Shanks, a species I most associate with early winter, were fairly widespread too, most of these attractive fungi being found growing on diseased Willows in the middle of the wood.

Golden Jelly Fungus

Velvet Shanks

Heading back through the heart of the wood we conducted one of our winter Woodcock counts, this simply taking the form of counting how many birds we flushed up as we headed along the path. Last December we failed to find any when we did this, but today we had much better luck with a minimum count of nine, a not unimpressive count at all. Indeed we have been checking on Woodcock numbers in this wood for about five years now and so far the highest number has been 13 on any given day. Whilst most views were typically fleeting, we did have the pleasure of actually spotting one of these cryptic and elusive birds on the path ahead of us, a rare and special treat.

Blushing Bracket

Yellowing Curtain Crust ?

19th December 2016, Monday
2.4 C to 6.8 C / 0.2 mm / 0.0 hours / W 1-2
A chilly and misty start with a touch of frost in rural areas, but by mid-morning conditions would become cloudy and grey and would remain so for the duration of the day. Little change in the evening and overnight, indeed the cloud would be thick enough for a little bit of light rain and drizzle prior to midnight.

Swinemoor & Figham - A dawn stroll along the river on what was a misty and chilly morning, a touch of frost lying upon the rough grass which covers the riverbank. Down at Figham the mist was actually fog with visibility no more than 50 metres out on the common itself, though Swinemoor was thankfully relatively clear in comparison, the sprawling town of Beverley clearly evident on the other side of the pasture. Having set out later than usual there was more light available for me this morning, and as I scanned across the extensive area I could see (and hear) good numbers of both Wigeon and Teal. A dozen or so Shovelers could also be picked out on the larger areas of floodwater, as was a single Redshank looking for food along the water’s edge, but other than these observations it was pretty quiet with no Barn Owls or mammalian life encountered during my dawn perambulation.

Beverley Beck Lock at dawn

20th December 2016, Tuesday
3.7 C to 6.5 C / 0.8 mm / 4.9 hours / S 4
A cloudy morning for the most part but things would quickly brighten by the end of the morning with long spells of sunshine developing by midday and for much of the afternoon. Remaining clear into the evening but cloud would increase overnight with some rain for a time around 3 am. Becoming drier by dawn though.

21st December 2016, Wednesday
2.4 C to 7.9 C / 0.0 mm / 1.3 hours / SW 3
A cloudy and grey morning, the ground wet after overnight rain, but by midday things would begin to brighten up with sunny spells developing in the afternoon. Clear spells and variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight with temperatures dipping close to freezing.

22nd December 2016, Thursday
0.3 C to 7.3 C / 0.0 mm / 5.6 hours / S 3-4
A clear and chilly start, the ground white with frost, but this would soon melt in the late December sunshine which would bathe the local countryside for most of the day. Clear spells continuing into the evening and for much of the night but cloud would increase later with grey skies by dawn.

23rd December 2016, Friday
2.9 C to 10.7 C / 2.5 mm / 0.1 hours / SW 5-6
A cloudy and windy day with gusts of up to gale force, the wind being particularly gusty in the afternoon when two distinct bands of rain sweeped through the East Riding, the first coming around the middle of the day and the second around dusk and early evening, the second band being particularly heavy with a peak rainfall rate of 39.0 mm/h. After the rain cleared the sky would clear somewhat with variable amounts of cloud for the rest of the night, though latterly showers would arrive from the SW.

24th December 2016, Saturday
4.8 C to 12.3 C / 2.2 mm / 0.0 hours / SW 4-5
A showery morning, some of these showers being quite sharp, but becoming drier by the afternoon. However it would remain grey and cloudy, though as the afternoon wore on it was the rising temperatures which were most notable, hardly very Christmassy! Remaining cloudy and mild throughout Christmas night with temperatures well in excess of 10 C by dawn.

25th December 2016, Christmas Day
4.8 C to 13.8 C / 0.9 mm / 2.3 hours / W 5
A cloudy and exceptionally mild start to Christmas Day, the temperature almost 12 C at dawn, and it would remain mostly cloudy throughout the morning. However by midday some brighter periods would develop, indeed for much of the afternoon it was almost spring like in the sunshine with temperatures eventually reaching a very unseasonal 13.8 C. Becoming breezier in the evening with a period of showers during the night, and as the temperatures dropped sharply, some of these showers would become quite icy towards the end of the night.

26th December 2016, Monday
4.7 C to 7.2 C / 0.0 mm / 5.7 hours / W 5
A lovely sunny and cool Boxing day with an abundance of late December sunshine bathing the countryside of the East Riding, though it was quite blustery throughout much of the day, especially in the afternoon with gusts of up to nearly gale force. Remaining clear in the evening and overnight with the breeze easing somewhat, this allowing temperatures to dip low enough for a ground frost.

For the first time in what has felt like weeks, the ground actually dried up today, fresh winds, lower humidity and lower temperatures allowing the all pervasive dampness which has dominated December to finally relent… for now.

North Cliffe WoodOn a sunny and breezy Boxing Day morning we headed across the Wolds for a quiet stroll around these peaceful woods. Indeed a few other people had had the same idea and at least four other families were enjoying the winter woodland as well, such ‘crowds’ at North Cliffe being rare outside of the bluebell season. As regards the natural world things were pretty quiet with just the usual suspects such as Jay, Marsh tit, Treecreeper and Green Woodpecker being worthy of mention, though we did enjoy some great views of a pair of Buzzards whom were squabbling right above our heads. We did not conduct a Woodcock count today (I don’t do this more than twice a month to avoid excessive disturbance), but nevertheless one was flushed up from beside the eastern perimeter path.

A friendly Robin also allowed me to try some nice close-ups with my new Nikon P900, the results of which I am pretty happy with. I have now been using this camera for over a month, and whilst I have yet to give it a proper work out, I have been more than satisfied with its performance throughout the trial period and I have decided to keep it for the longer term. Image quality is at best average, though it is much better than my old Panasonic Lumix FZ45 in that regard, though what stands out is the improvement in speed compared to the old bridge cameras, the autofocus and the EVF being outstanding compared to older bridge cameras. The lens is also superb and it is quite liberating being able to wander around with a light and relatively compact camera which can do macro one moment, and then zoom out to 2000mm (35mm equivalent) for some distant bird or whatnot. In many ways it is the perfect camera for a nature blogger and hopefully it will continue to provide me with more photos to illustrate my blog in the coming weeks, months, and God willing, years.

A friendly Robin

Robin looking for crumbs

27th December 2016, Tuesday
2.0 C to 6.2 C / 0.0 mm / 5.2 hours / W 1-2
A beautiful winter’s day with clear skies throughout, and an abundance of weak winter sunshine bathing the East Yorkshire countryside. Remaining clear in the evening and overnight with a hoar frost soon forming, the temperature eventually falling to -3.1 C by the end of the night.

28th December 2016, Wednesday
-3.1 C to 3.3 C / 0.0 mm / 5.5 hours / S 1-2
Another beautiful winter’s day with crisp December sunshine throughout, the heavy hoar frost persisting all day in the shade. Becoming foggy for a time in the evening but this would clear by midnight with skies becoming clear once again. However unlike last night temperatures would remain just above freezing, though nevertheless a good frost would form upon the ground once more.

29th December 2016, Thursday
-1.8 C* to 2.8 C / 0.0 mm / 6.1 hours / S 1
A clear and frosty start to the day, the roads covered in frost and ice (I fell off my bike near Weel), and it would remain clear, sunny and chilly throughout the day, the frost once more surviving all day in the shade. Clear overnight with temperatures dipping just below freezing.

A garden bird count on what was a sunny and cold afternoon brought a decent number of birds into the garden, a total of 46 birds of 17 species being counted during the half hour survey. Birds recorded were as follows; Blackbird x2, Blue tit x5, Bullfinch x5, Chaffinch x4, Coal tit x1, Crow x2, Dunnock x1, Goldcrest x1, Goldfinch x4, Great tit x4, Greenfinch x3, Long-tailed tit x3, Magpie x1, Mistle thrush x2, Robin x1, Sparrowhawk x1, and Wood Pigeon x7.

30th December 2016, Friday
-0.6 C to 8.4 C / 0.0 mm / 5.0 hours / SW 2
Another clear and frosty start, and whilst it would remain sunny and clear for much of the day, fog and low cloud would arrive from the north during the afternoon, the fog becoming quite thick by dusk. During the evening the fog would come and go, though by midnight the skies would become mostly clear to leave a largely quiet night. However temperatures would slowly rise as the night wore on with any remaining icy patches gone by dawn.

Another bird count on what was another sunny and chilly day, though this time the count took place in mid-morning rather than early afternoon. Prior to the count I put up some old bread on the lawn, primarily to attract corvids but also in the hope of attracting gulls, and in the end this proved most successful with at least a dozen Black-headed Gulls and a trio of Common Gulls descending down into the garden to grab the diced bread. In total 63 birds of 18 species were recorded and numbers were as follows; Blackbird x4, Black-headed Gull c.12-15, Blue tit x7, Bullfinch x7, Chaffinch x2, Coal tit x1, Common Gull x3, Crow x2, Dunnock x3, Goldcrest x1, Goldfinch x2, Great tit x3, Greenfinch x3, Jackdaw x2, Magpie x3, Mistle thrush x1, Robin x1 and Wood Pigeon x6.

Black-headed Gull

Common Gull

31st December 2016, Saturday
1.7 C to 10.1 C / 7.1 mm / 2.0 hours / SW 3
A mild and bright end to the year with alternating sunny and cloudier periods, the temperature just about reaching double figures for a time in early afternoon. Clear for a time in the evening but cloud would increase by midnight with outbreaks of rain soon following, this rain becoming persistent for the remainder of the night.

December 2016 Weather Report
A mild month with temperatures generally above average throughout, especially during the first half, though a colder spell towards the end of the month (after Christmas) did at least help to keep temperatures less than 2 C above the long term average. Unsurprisingly any wintry weather was limited to just a handful of frosts, again most of these coming after Christmas, with snow again conspicuous by its complete absence during what is supposed to be the first month of the British meteorological winter. Indeed it is worth highlighting that the last time lying snow was recorded during December at our weather station near Beverley was way back on the 6th December 2012!

Rainfall wise the month was dry, the monthly rainfall total coming to just 50% of the long term average for December, the dominance of high pressure throughout most of the month ensuring that conditions were largely quiet and settled (at least here in eastern England). However despite the lack of rainfall it never really felt like a dry month, the lack of wind, especially prior to the 20th, and some particularly dull days during the middle of the month, meaning that conditions remained almost constantly damp and dreek. Mud and standing water were a particular problem in the fields and the wider countryside in general, especially with virtually zero evapotranspiration at this time of year.

Conditions would become more mobile during the final third of the month, with some fresh to strong winds either side of Christmas, whilst Christmas Day itself was exceptionally mild with the temperature reaching 13.8 C on the big day. In fact this makes it the warmest Christmas Day on our records dating back to 2003! After Boxing Day things would become colder and much more seasonal with some much needed frosts, the hoar frost managing to survive all day in the shade on the 28th & 29th, whilst the clear and crisp sunhine of the post Christmas period also helped to push the monthly sunshine total up above average, over 30 hours of sunshine being recorded in the last seven days of the month alone. Winds meanwhile were predominantly from the south and west throughout the course of the month with just one day seeing winds from the northern quarter, and it will be interesting to see whether the weather will continue in the same vein after the New Year.

Average Temperature
 5.9 C
 +1.5 C
Average Maximum
 8.8 C

Average Minimum
 3.0 C

Highest Maximum
 13.8 C
Lowest Maximum
 2.8 C
Highest Minimum
 8.9 C
Lowest Minimum
 -3.1 C
Air Frosts

Grass Frosts

Frost duration
 39 hours

Total Rainfall
 29.9 mm
Maximum total
 7.3 mm
Days =>0.2 mm

Days =>1.0 mm

Days =>10.0 mm

Total rain duration
 42 hours

Total Sunshine
 68.1 hours
Average per day
 2.20 hours

Sunless days

Average Wind Speed
 1.6 knots

Maximum gust
 33 knots
 23rd & 26th

Days with Fog

Days with Thunder

Days with Hail

Days with Snow

Days with Snow lying

Maximum Snow depth

Snow Index