Doug Mackenzie Dodds - Images | ES REGNET! ES REGNET!


July 28, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I've almost certainly mentioned (on this website) before, the fact that I am bored rigid by bloggers giving us a daily account of what the weather was like yesterday. 

A heads-up for those bloggers - WE KNOW. We experienced it too! 

That said, today's weather IS notable here - because for the first time since May 18th (I think), it's RAINING. And I mean PROPERLY RAINING.

I mention this today as even on Friday evening and yesterday, when a great swathes of the country had rather a lot of rain in the form of thundery downpours - here we had nada. Nuffink. Zilch.

Yessss.… we all know we've been enjoying an extended heatwave in Blighty, for much of May, ALL of June and all but a day or two of July - the "best" (early) summer since 1976, without doubt.

I've loved it - I ADORE the heat - but we have had plenty of animalian losers over the past 10 weeks or so.

My wildlife pond, full of frogs, newts and all manner of insects has probably lost half or two-thirds of its volume over the past couple of months. Unlike some fellow "wildlife ponders", I NEVER top up my pond with tap water. EVER.  All the life in the pond has been under severe stress over the last four or so weeks - with less water, less oxygen and FAR more toxins in the water. I expect we've lost a fair bit of our "pond life" this summer.

Other animals which have suffered this summer will be butterflies and moths in particular (and anything that eats them, like bats for example). 

Many people might assume our lepidoptera woule "enjoy" dry, sunny weather - and to an extent, the adult moths and butterflies do - until the plants giving them nectar dry in the constant heat. But the real problem for our leps in extended dry weather is that the caterpillars struggle to eat. Their host plants dry out or die - and along with that, many millions of caterpillars will do too.

Ragwort is pretty-well drought resistant normally, but even our ragwort (we have lots in the garden) struggled this year and as a result, so did our cinnabar moth caterpillars.

Some experts believe that the summer of 1976 hit many of our lepidopteran species so hard, that they are STILL recovering. I'm afraid 2018 may be almost as bad - not quite as bad because of our wet spring this year (very unlike 1976), but almost as bad, nonetheless.

Three weeks ago we were promised thundery showers, which like yesterday and two days ago, all conspired to hit everyone around us, but not us.  Not knowing that of course, I constructed a temporary 70 foot aquaduct (of sorts -  see below)

to take any rainwater directly from our roof, straight into our pond, 70 foot up the garden. We do have water butts normally, but I am trying to save my back at present and not HAVE to lug bucket after bucket of rain water from the butts up the garden - I thought I'd try and get gravity to do that job for me this time.

Three weeks ago we were promised thundery downpours. My aquaduct remained dry.

Two weeks ago we were again promised thundery downpours. My aquaduct remained dry again.

On Friday gone and yesterday (Saturday), we were promised yet more thundery downpours. Again it all JUST missed us.

But this morning.

This morning....

We have ORGANISED heavy rain!

My aquaduct doth floweth -

and the frogth and newtth and inthecth in the pond doth rejoith.

I hear we're due a return to settled, sunny and even hot weather again by the end of the week.

Well... whatever will be will be.

But for now..

After a basically dry May (apart from a couple of days) and a virtually BONE DRY and HOT June and July  - we finally have a little rain. Actually - more than a little.

I'm off out now, to a rain dance around the pond! (Actually - as I type... I'm watching quite possibly DOZENS of frogs take this (wet) opportunity to hop out of the pond - to our borders - something they've been waiting to do for weeks - a wonderful sight - rather like the migration of wildebeest across the plains of Africa, only in reverse and in a much, MUCH smaller manner. And my frogs are hopping of course, not sweeping majestically across the garden on thundering hooves - but you get the picture!).





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