April 2013 Weather Review at Attenborough Nature Reserve
Photo: A rare ‘April shower’ makes for a dramatic backdrop to the Nature Reserve.
April saw the change from winter to spring in the Nature Reserve, both in terms of the weather conditions and the wildlife encountered, as milder air and summer migrants replaced frost and overwintering ducks. The Nature Reserve was still in the grip of winter for the first half of the month, with light snow falling on the 2nd and ice patches still found on the ponds, albeit it in sheltered spots only. One of those spots was the pond dipping platform on Church Pond which is used by school children to investigate underwater organisms, and it was evident how the growth of water plants and the animals that feed on them has been slower than in recent ‘springs’. Even the wind was acting like an animal, but the ‘biting’ easterly breeze that had plagued us all for much of 2013 finally changed to a milder direction and the Nature Reserve took on a green hue.
One thing the willow trees and visitors alike would have noticed in April, was the absence of much rain falling from the sky. The dry and dusty paths were the result of only receiving 29% of the average rainfall for April, quite a contrast from the flooding of last April. Most of this rainfall came from some impressive showers at the end of the month, which necessitated the rapid installation of a tarpaulin shelter in the woods for visiting school children…although the four year olds loved the hail stones hitting their faces.
The 18th stood out as a dramatic day as 40mph winds whipped Coneries Pond into a good surfing spot for the ducks and swans bobbling up and down on the waves. The temperature that day reached 15oC in sunny spells, but the wind chill necessitated a coat to be worn with the effect I wasn’t cold but was sweating buckets underneath!
The second half of the month did feel glorious at times, and the sunshine and milder temperatures meant the month only ended up as slightly cooler than usual, though not as cool as April 2012. As I write this review, it’s another sunny day with only a few puffs of fumulus clouds from the nearby power station and thousands of midges in the air. The sunshine brings the visitors, and the midges bring the birds, and both tell me that spring is finally here.