|The reports below are posted by UK monitor (Terry Butcher) based in
Andover, Hampshire, England.
|UNITED KINGDOM LOG
with Terry Butcher
Photo: Liz Butcher
|Red Admiral Butterfly.
Photos: Liz Butcher
May 18, 2011
Donald the duck spends his summers along with his wife Daisey in the back garden of
Terry and Liz Butcher near Andover. They have returned year after year and brought
up their chicks until last year when on April 19 some fool drove into her and killed her
leaving her eggs unattended. See below.
Good news from Terry is that Donald has returned with a new wife and chicks - a
wonderful sight in the side panel, Daisey with her little ones swimming in the flower pot
December 17, 2010
By Peter Sorensen: The BBC weather man began his forecast this morning by saying,
“I’ve been looking at the predictive map and its jaw dropping.” The prediction for the
country as a whole is for possibly “the worst blizzard in 100 years” over the next couple
of days! Where I am in the south I’ll escape the worst of it, as I did two weeks ago,
but the ice is going to be bad here tonight – and ice is what causes the bus's to have
trouble on the back roads. So I fear I won’t be able to do my usual email on Saturday
or perhaps Monday either.
I found a very clear satellite photo of the snow covering the UK about 10 days ago.
Nearly all of the land is remarkably clear of cloud, so you can the outline of the island
(although Ireland is mostly hidden) and all of the white you see is snow. That was the
heaviest snow in 30 years, with Scotland particularly badly hit (but again, here on the
farm in Wiltshire we only had about 6 inches).
December 7, 2010
By Jan Delgado: Many parts of U.K. are suffering from snow and the coldest start to a
December for many years. The photo on the left is of a severe haw frost at Alresford,
August 4, 2010
By Colin: While spending two weeks in southern England and Wales, Synthia and I
noticed how few insects and butterflies were present. Walking the country lanes and
cliff tops in south Wales, we saw very few.
April 19, 2010
Very sad news - Daisy the duck has been killed. Donald calls for her every day.
It is with the greatest sadness that I have to report the loss of Daisy duck.
Early on Good Friday the 2nd of April she flew in from Charlton lakes to lay her 14th
egg to complete her clutch and then to start brooding and producing her third family.
She landed on lawns the opposite side of the road to our garden, where again this year
she had perfected a beautiful nest in amongst a group of Elephant ear plants in a corner
we had left especially for her.
As she waddled across the road to reach the nest site, she was mown down and killed
by a driver who didn't even bother to stop and check her out. I discovered her shortly
after when I opened the bedroom curtains to greet another cold damp day. Her small
downy body lay lifeless in the middle of the road.
It has now been nearly 3 weeks since she was so dramatically taken away, but Donald
still arrives most days, sits on the house roof and calls for her. We have looked after
them during the Spring for 3 years now so the whole episode was very upsetting.
Poor Donald is suffering the most. We guess he may think she is still sitting and
producing their new family as the brooding period is 28 days. Poor , poor Donald, Oh
Why Oh why did this happen ? ? ?
Comment By Colin Andrews: This careless or senseless killing hurts my heart
a lot. Until we demonstrate that we care for our creatures we show we have no
higher place in the Universe and a simple sad lack of what it takes to share this
wonderful home together. Such a failing of responsibility is pityful - I am sorry
for Terry and Liz who willingly and happily gave up part of the spectacular
garden they have for the duck family each of the recent years and now have to
endure the constant calling from Donald for his partner - needless to say their
babies also lost. Dam these drivers who drive as though wildlife have no rights
to the tarmac, let alone have no compassion to take care of their madness.
March 21, 2010
Despite the long cold Winter, Donald and Daisy duck have arrived three weeks early.
This is the third Spring in a row. Last year they hatched eleven ducklings in our garden.
I have attached 2 snaps that Liz took this morning. It has warmed up a little the last few
days and we are hoping this will continue. As you can see Daisy was busy pruning in
the water bowl.
February 17, 2010
Winter- Draws On
Valentines today and there is a little sparkle in the air , but it's still very cold and difficult
to get that Spring feeling. The Winter began here early in the New Year with nearly 3
weeks of snow , ice and rain causing deadly driving conditions . There have been some
short sunny spells and some of us have been able to do a little gardening. Today the
weather is mainly dry but still below average temperatures. More and more people
are feeding the wild garden birds. This year so far we have had quite a selection
including> Blackbirds-- Starlings-- Thrushes-- Sparrows-- Dunnocks-- Blue tits--
Coal tits--Long tail tits-- Robins--Wrens -- Magpies --Green finches-- Chaffinches --
Doves -- Pigeons and our neighbour has seen a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. So it is
the best year for bird spotting for some time.
There is very little sign of insect life to date ,but it is worth mentioning that we saw the
odd Bumble Bee right up until Christmas Day. The Snow Drops are blooming,
Lambs Tails, Pussy Willows and early Daffodils are out. I'm sure Colin will remember
the Daffodils along the side of the Salisbury Road nearest Andover town. Well now is
the time to be getting more positive and it wont be long before Spring is bursting out in
all it's glory , I just cant wait.
January 6, 2010
England is experiencing a much colder period than normal for this time of year with
heavy snow throughout the country. Hampshire in particular has been hard hit with
around seven inches of snow falling since last night and mid-day today. Nearby
Basingstoke have reports of around twelve inches. Just a couple of weeks ago it was
near Basingstoke that over two thousand cars had to be abandoned causing massive tail
backs to the outskirts of London in one direction ( 40 miles) and to Southampton in the
other (20 miles). Here are some photographs taken today by Jan Delgado in Alresford,
Pete Butcher in Andover (west), Toby King in Andover (east) and Terry Butcher in
September 27, 2009
We have just had a week of the most beautiful September days I have ever known and
still today, there are a number of worker Bees, a few butterflies and other insects busily
working in the garden. We have seen quite a lot of Butterflies this Summer ,Painted
ladies . Large and Small Cabbage Whites, Peacocks, Tortoise Shells, Small blues and
even the odd Comma . The Red Admiral , sadly has been difficult to spot. I have seen
only 2 to date, one in the garden in April and one only yesterday on a visit to
We also spotted a beautiful Rosy Underwing Moth in the local park.
At the beginning of July the weather turned warm ( around 30 centigrade ) This
unfortunately faded after just one week and for the rest of the Summer temperatures
varied from about 18---25 c . There has been little rain here in the South for several
weeks now and already the rivers and streams are running quite low. There has been a
sudden drop in levels here in Charlton and we suspect water is being diverted into the
However the weather conditions have allowed Farmers to complete the harvest on time
this year and already much of the grain for next year has been sown.
The Birds this year have done very well, we still have a Pigeon rearing it's young in our
garden, so all in all it's been not a bad year. Hopefully we shall see further recovery
next year. - Terry.
September 27, 2009
From Jan Delgado in Alresford, Hampshire (12 miles from Andover): There has been a
prolific number of spiders this summer. Photo on left taken in the back garden this week.
May 29, 2009
We have had a beautiful spring this year, just as it should be, warm showers and
The House Martins are back ( we hardly saw any last year ) Our ducks, Mr and Mrs
Donald an Daisy Mallard hatched 11 ducklings in our garden and zoomed off to the
local lakes before we had chance to take a picture. We have seen quite a number of
Bumble Bees and other insects. The biggest surprise was Yesterday when we counted
over 100 Painted Lady Butterflies flying over our garden, we have not seen so many
since the mid 90's. They were flying across from the south easterly direction.
March 19, 2009
Beautiful Wiltshire weather
After my weather report to Colin about a month ago when there was so much snow,
and ice bad enough to stop the bus's on a couple of days -- I’m delighted to report that
the past few days have been increasingly lovely!
After the winter when the sun is above the horizon for only 8 hours or so at the solstice,
every day has been getting longer until now they are now about 12 hours long. They
will continue to lengthen until mid-summer when there will be little more than 4 hours of
solid darkness (and crop circles will be popping up everywhere).
Recently we had a week of overcast days with a bit of drizzle for a while, but that gave
way to sun on Saturday, and it’s been better and better since then (although it’s
supposed to regress at the end of the week). Anyway, I didn’t need a coat on
Monday, Tues, and Weds -- just a sweat shirt over my T-shirt. I’ve also been leaving
by door open much of the time for the country air, and needing just a bit of heat inside
only late at night.
One bad side effect has been that there are now a couple of flies inside my caravan
after many months for none whatsoever. I’m afraid this bodes ill for the summer!
Another interesting side effect is that the birds are feeling broody. “My” ducks are now
sometimes uninterested in food (!), which the farmer says happens in the spring when
other, stronger instincts come into play, with the drakes keeping other males away from
their girlfriends. And in the hen-house the pullets are laying so much that the farmers
wife, Rose, is giving me eggs every week.
I’m also eating a lot of the framer’s Brussels sprouts because Rose and Richard are
tired of them. There are hundreds that got through the winter, which I must eat before
that field gets ploughed soon. (I never used to like those little cabbage balls until Polly
cooked them for me once -- now I love ‘em!)
Peter Sorensen (Researcher and Friend) - His website HERE
February 25, 2009
Well ! the 2 week cold spell came and went , ( Coldest for 18 years they say. ) the
snow got to 3--12 inches - and the media did its best to scare us all into staying
indoors and worrying ourselves out of our minds, but most of us just got on with life
and got things done.
The wild life has coped ok and a good variety of birds have returned to the garden. This
week a pair of blackbirds are busy building a nest , some Blue tits are surveying the bird
box and a pair of mallards have revisited last years nesting site. The weather is now
pleasantly dry and mild, so we are all set for a great Spring and Summer. We are
looking forward to meeting many of our friends from across the sea and the other side
of the World. Wishing you all the best for what looks like being a difficult ,but
exciting and productive year.
January 31, 2009
After a few days of milder weather the wind has turned back to the North and East
and tomorrow ( Sunday ) Snow is forecast for two or three days , so Winter is back.
This is the coldest winter since 1996. We seem to be following a pattern that they
have had in Australia , they are suffering extreme temperatures , 40--43 c in the South
East, maybe we will have warm dry Summer this year, I do hope so.
December 18, 2008
Well, we are told that this December has started with the coolest temperatures for over
30 years , but we have now moved into a milder spell with temperatures averaging 4---
11 centigrade for the next 5 days at least. Unfortunately this will be accompanied by
quite a lot of rain so a white Xmas looks unlikely at this stage, still we will save a bit on
the heating bill.
Merry Christmas to everyone.
November 25, 2008
In the UK this week, the temperatures have been lower than Moscow and Siberia. We
have had snow down the east coast twice this year already and next weekend we have
more on the way. At Thruxton Airfield it was minus 8 centigrade in the wind-chill
yesterday and it is only November.
The above report from Busty Taylor from the Thruxton motor racing circuit in
Hampshire, England. He also adds from a current article:
Adverse Weather Conditions. Currently there is a scarcity of sun spots which
contributes to lower temperatures. This summer was the coldest Alaska has
experienced in 100 years with the summer temperatures about three degrees below
normal. Last winter was unusually cold in the USA and Northern Europe. North
Carolina had unprecedented heavy snow storms. The northern USA had very low
temperatures with heavy snowstorms. The same cold weather pattern with bad storms
was widespread in Europe last winter. We appear to be changing over from a warm
weather cycle to a cold weather cycle which has been observed for thousands of years.
The prime influence in causing this change appears to be the changing activity of the sun
and has nothing to due with man made production of heat. Of great importance 200
years of glacial shrinkage has come to an end.
November 17, 2008
Newspaper Headlines in UK:
Global warming causes winter migratory birds to shun UK. Water birds encouraged to
spend winters closer to home as climate change raises Arctic temperatures, a report
October 3, 2008.
We have now returned to a cooler more normal period of weather for early October,
12--16 c daytime max. The second half of September was comparatively warm and
sunny , and we saw the return of several insects seeking warmth. Although these were
only in small numbers these included the Large and Small white butterflies, just 2
tortoise shells and 2 Red Admirals , also several worker Bees, the first we had seen
Spiders are now doing quite well, especially in my greenhouse. Frogs have also
suddenly appeared , covering different areas all around the garden . Quite a number of
birds are returning to the garden and this will increase I'm sure as we head towards
Although the lack of habitat (for the insects ) is a major problem, it has been
highlighted recently that if links between existing habitats could be established (because
for example some types of butterfly's can only travel relatively short distances ) this
would greatly enhance their chances of survival and encourage their spread around the
countryside. There is considerable interest in this idea at the moment and practicable
action looks very promising.
Although the mild Winters have assisted with numbers surviving to the following year,
the main factor for the small numbers of insects observed I'm sure has been due to the
lack of warm Sunshine, Their feeding and breeding activities have been severely
Lastly, It's great to be able to report that the majority of this years cereal harvest has
been saved at the last minute, although the quality of the grain was spoiled by the
atrocious weather, despite the tremendous efforts to save the crops put in by farmers
all over the countryside . Large amounts of grain will only be suitable for animal feed.
Surely we will have a good Summer next year, the odds must be in its favour. Let's
continue to be as positive as we can be in these difficult times, after all that's what Brits
are really good at. ------- Best wishes to everyone all around the World. -- As I say
to our local kids--
Make Don't Brake -- Make Don't brake, That's the best way to feel good, It's
always worked for me. Terry Butcher.
September 9, 2008
Wet end to the summer and late harvest.
The ground is absolutely sodden and I Guesstimate there is still 30 to 40 percent
cereals still to be harvested . The chances of this happening are getting slimmer by the
day, and even if it were accomplished the quality of the grain I'm sure, will be very
poor. Just 5--6 weeks ago things looked so different. This is another blow to
farmers and all of us, as this is bound to reflect in the coming prices for cereal products.
The sun loving Birds and Insects have hidden themselves into the background again ,
but we have seen several Frogs and some enormous olive green and orange Slugs who
are thriving in the conditions. Wild Mushrooms are also growing very well so there are
a few positives going on, but most of us would gladly swap these for some warm
September 1, 2008.
Reports tonight tell us that here in the South we have had the smallest amount of
sunshine since 1942. A few areas of the country have had average amounts, but other
areas haven't had such a sunless period since 1929. The forecast for the first week in
September is grim only Thursday may be a Sunny day. Heavy rain tonight so the
harvest will be held up yet again.
Martyn ( Liz's cousin ) tell us Cyprus has had hardly any rain for 2 years and they are
importing some water from Greece.
Lofty ( another cousin told us this morning,, they had just finished one of their coldest
Winters for some years. ( Lofty lives in Eastern Australia on the coast between
Brisbane and Sidney.
As soon as the Sun comes out and warms things up, the butterflies appear. Two days
ago Liz got photos of a Peacock and a Red Admiral (left panel).
August 28, 2008.
My wife Liz and I visited the village of Alton Barnes in Wiltshire two days ago and spoke
with the farmer's son. He told me that their harvest had not been delayed this long since
1985, due to bad weather. Hundreds of crop circle enthusiasts from around the world visit
this area because its the hub of so much activity.
I have always been keenly interested in gardening. My wife and I love to observe the birds
and insects that live and find food in the small garden that surrounds our house, but we now
realise that we have been guilty of growing plants and shrubs , more for their beautiful
colours and shapes rather than for the nutrients they can supply to the Birds, Bees and
Butterflies, that we are trying to help increase in numbers.
I don't think we are the only gardeners who have been making this mistake. If we make an
effort to seek out the right kinds of plants and shrubs, I'm sure that we could ( when you
consider just how many people love their gardens ) make an enormous difference .
Below is a short list of the successful ones we have established to date, I know there are
many more, please let us know if you have the information, thank you.
Clover-- Abelia+grandiflora-- Buddleia-- Ice plant-- Lavender -- Dahlia
August 7, 2008.
The year so far.
Those of us here in the UK will remember that last year (weather wise) started well, we
had a beautiful April with lots of warm sunshine and by the end of the month we began
to see the odd Bee and Butterfly, but then down came the rain, "great" we all said," we
need it " cause the lakes have nearly dried out, but Oh dear ! it kept on raining heavily
until about the third week in August and flooding around the country was very serious.
The insect life that preferred spells of warm weather was nearly wiped out.
This year , up until now, things have been a little better, but we have only spotted a few
Butterflies, 2 Red Admirals , 1 Peacock, 1 Painted Lady and 7 or 8 Cabbage
Whites -- We have seen quite a number of Bees, particularly active on the Lavender
and Honeysuckle. It is worth noting they all have been different types of Bumble bee,
no worker or hive Bees have been observed so far. I can add to the list just 2 Wasps
. These are pathetically small numbers ( as those of us who can remember back to the
late 40's, 50's and 60's will know) and we are now back into another spell of cool wet
We can only hope for Summer to return for the remainder of this month
(August ) and to continue until at least the end of September.
July 30, 2008
Still only a few Cabbage White butterflies, and we have seen more of those over the
last couple of days, as it has been so warm here. We have seen a few more Swallows,
but not as many as in previous years.
This from Jean Andrews, Andover, Hampshire, England.
July 28, 2008.
Our Horse Chestnut trees are under very serious attack this year from 2 diseases in
particular.---- 1. A leaf mining Moth (Cameraria ohridella ) 2. Leaf Blotch caused by
the fungus (Guignardia aesculi ) -- The effect on the trees is dramatic, I cant help
thinking that the mild Winters we have been getting are exacerbating the problem
allowing the moths and fungi to multiply to a much greater degree . Check out the
RHS web site . I have never seen the problem so bad:
THE WEATHER FOR U.K. GO TO THE OBSERVATORY HERE
Bees on the Abelia shrub. Desperately waiting
Photo: Terry Butcher.
Large numbers of spiders. Copyright: Jan Delgado.
|Heavy snow in Alresford, Hampshire, England. January
6, 2010. Copyright: Jan Delgado.
The pair of Mallard Ducks return to the smallest
imaginable 'pond' in the back garden of Terry and Liz
Butcher, Charlton, Hampshire, England. They produced a
family successfully last year. Copyright: Terry Butcher.
Daisey is Dead
|Donald still waiting for Daisey April 20, 2010.
Photo: Terry Butcher.
Spectacular Haw Frost, Alresford. By Jan Delgado.
Daisey and the kids are back. By Terry and Liz Butcher.
May 31, 2011
With record high temperatures in Connecticut today, in the low 90s, back in UK the roses are
three weeks ahead of normal. This spectacular sight below was captured by my Brother Peter
and his wife Jean at the famous Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire, close to their homes.
|One of the spectacular rose gardens at Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire. Copyright: Peter Andrews
July 29, 2011
Colin visited Terry and Liz at their home near Anbover, England. Terry pointed out that a
Cabbage White Butterlfy we watched flying across the back garden was only the third butterlfy
seen this summer so far. They had several large budlia bushed in full flower, a bush renouned
for attracting butterlfies and not a single insect was visiting. There was a serious lack of insects
seemingly everwhere Colin went this trip. Even back in Connecticut, the same was true.
|UK LOG WITH TERRY BUTCHER