Raindrops keep falling on my head - I wish!

 We have just had the driest July in England since 1935. For some parts of the country (East Anglia, South and South-East) it has been the driest July on record. Hosepipe bans are in force, or about to come into force, in the south and south east

The lack of rainfall has not been uniform throughout the United Kingdom as this map produced by the UK Met Office shows:

July Rainfall 2022 as percentage of 1991-2020 Average

If you draw a line from the Bristol Channel to the Wash then, below this line, rainfall was about ⅕ its typical value. Above this line, but below a line between the Ribble and Tees estuaries, rainfall was around 50 % the expected value based on the 1991-2020 average. Scotland had the highest rainfall at around 80 % its average for July.

We had very little rainfall in Herefordshire; my Davis Weather Station recorded just 7.6 mm in July. My rainwater butts (capacity about 2500 litres) have all but run dry and I am having to use potable (tap) water in the kitchen garden.

The current conditions in my garden can certainly be classified as a meteorological drought and, possibly, an agricultural drought. This situation has been exacerbated by an unusually dry 2022 so far, as the plot below demonstrates (data from my Weather Station). Furthermore, precipitation in November and December last year (2021) was only about a third the amount of rain seen during these months in 2019 and 2020.

Monthly Rainfall (Hereford) for January - July (2020 - 2022)

To summarise, rainfall during the last 8 months (November 2021 to July 2022, inclusive) has halved compared to the same period in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.

A few days ago, we paid a visit to the Red Kite Feeding Station at Grigrin Farm; I'll post a few photos at a later date. On the way back, we stopped off at Warren Woods, near New Radnor, to see the waterfall: Water-breaks-its-Neck. We've visited this spot many times for picnics or just to break up a longer journey. This photo is from the notice board in the nearby car park...

Water-break-its-neck Waterfall

...and this is what it looked like on our visit (4th August 2022)...

Water-Break-its-Neck Waterfall (4/8/22)

Confirmation, if confirmation were needed, that drought conditions are prevailing. With no rain forecast for the next fortnight, and temperatures once again expected to reach 30 ℃ and above, the situation can only worsen.




 

Carnivorous Plant Garden Update

Mini Carnivorous Plant Garden


I last reported on the Carnivorous plant garden at the end of May. A couple of months later and everything seems to be fine. The pitcher plants and venus fly trap have survived drought conditions and a heat wave and are thriving...

Pitcher Plant - July 2022

Venus Fly Trap - July 2022

The Venus Fly Trap (VFT) has thrown up a flower stalk just like the pitcher plant did last year. Most VFT growers recommend removing the flower stalk as early as possible because it weakens the plant: see here and here. By contrast, allowing pitcher plants to flower seems to be no big deal.

Venus Fly Trap Flower Stalk

Experienced growers, looking to maximise the number of plants produced (and sold), will be happy to allow the plant to flower and collect the seed (20-30 per flower). Amateur growers might remove the stalks in order to maintain an already established VFT plant collection.

With our single VFT plant, the stakes are not so high and the flowers look to be close to opening. It might be a little too late to 'save' the plant since it has already expended a lot of energy producing the flower stalk. In which case, I think we'll leave the VFT to flower to see if we can collect some seeds. In the worst-case scenario, we will have to buy a new plant (about £5).

We will update as and when the experiment finishes.
 

Hereford-by-the-Sea

 Herefordshire is a landlocked county with the seaside between one and two hours away by car. We do, however, have a watery connection to the sea via the River Wye which runs into the larger River Severn near Chepstow. Hereford does have its own 'beach' near the Victoria Bridge where locals can often be found enjoying safe and easy access to the river...

Swan and Cygnets on Hereford 'beach'

For this reason, we are blessed/plagued (delete as appropriate) with seagulls that have taken up residence in Hereford and the rest of the county by following the River Wye and its tributaries. Being excellent scavengers, the gulls find plenty of food morsels and scraps discarded by the human population - you do wonder whether the Hereford-born gulls still know how to catch fish?

This recording was taken from our back garden on 21 July...


... you can hear the bleating of the youngsters and the cajoling of the parents as they offer encouragement and protection.

The gulls nest on the rooves/chimneys nearby and July is a particularly noisy time of the year.  The young gulls have fledged and are developing their flying skills under the watchful (and very protective) eye of their parents...


...which seems to bring all the other gulls out...


 It is not uncommon to see young gulls on the ground ...

Young gull in a neighbour's front garden

...unfortunately, this one appears to have a damaged wing and, a few moments later, came to a sticky end...

Another road casualty?

...possibly when our neighbour reversed their car into their garden/parking space without seeing the bird. However, when I looked 10 minutes later the cadaver had disappeared. A few days later, I heard of another neighbour who had 'adopted' a young gull with a damaged wing and was feeding it on sardines. So maybe the cadaver was only stunned?

In a few weeks, the gulls will move out into the countryside and we will have peace and quiet once more.




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