The traditional bank holiday weather has me thinking about this years fine display of butterflies and flowers on the Hills and Holes. At least my perception is the flowers were more prolific than usual and the butterflies earlier and more numerous. Perhaps the mild winter had made a contribution but was it that unusual? So I have “dug out” from the internet the weather records from Wittering (only a mile or so from the reserve as the crow flies) and discovered that since the accessible records began in July 1996 it had been one of the mildest winters (along with 2007).
Particularly unique and perhaps significant for the over wintering insects there was no single day when the average temperature recorded was below 0 degrees celsius.
Spring has also been one of the warmest, again notable for its absence of any really cold days.
It will be interesting to see if the results of the butterfly and other surveys support my ad hoc observations and if we really have seen the benefits of a mild winter and warm spring last through the summer. For the information of those who took part in a very wet Man Orchid count it could have been worse. The rain fall on the 24th May (10.92mm) was only the fourth heaviest of the year (perhaps made to feel worse by the19.05mm that fell on 22nd May but not as bad as the 23.88mm on 10th August. With the 12.95mm that came down on 20th July these are the only four days so far this year to have reached double figures local to the reserve. Now I have the data please let me know if you have any specific questions on the historic weather.