Alderney Nature Diary

February 2001

The Weather

Full moon on 9th. Winds had a strong northerly element for more than half the month, in marked contrast to last year when the winds came from the prevailing SW direction. Windchill factor to -8.2º on 25th and to -3 to -5º on 28th throughout the 24 hours.

Rainfall was 26mm more than last year, and 31mm more than the 20 year average. There were 11 dry days, 8 of them consecutive from 17-24th, the longest dry spell since 18th September 2000, exactly five months previously.

There were 8 sunless days and 2 others with less than 0.1 hours, whilst sunshine total was 33 hours below last year, but still 17 hours above average for February.

The barometric high of 1050Mbs on 17th was the highest recorded since the present weather station was erected 2½ years ago. The average figures for pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed throughout the month were not significantly different from last year, although the highest and lowest temperatures recorded were each warmer than both last year and the 20-year averages.

Total rainfall for the year to date, was double the 20-year average and almost 4 times that of 2000. Sunshine total was similar to last year and some 22 hours above average.

Figures for comparison with February last year and the 20-year average

Year 2001 2000 20-year average
Rain mm. 82.5 56.5 52.0
Sun hrs. 75.7 88 77.7
Max. temp recorded °C 13.6 11.8 12.1
Min. temp recorded 2.4 1.6 0.3
Mean day temp 8.0 9.2 8.9
Mean night temp 7.6 8.3 5.4
Total rainfall, year to date, mm. 258.5 71.2 128.0
Total sunshine, year to date, hrs. 157.5 154.6 135.2

The Diary

Little to record in the early part of the month, some rain almost every day with 24.5mm on the 8th, and little incentive to botanise.

20th. The Cherry-plum Prunus cerasifera, trees in La Vallée and at Val Fontaine were just beginning to blossom, keeping up their record of being the first trees in the island to bloom each year.

21st. Buttercups coming into flower on Braye Meadow. A pair of Mallard have been visiting the garden every day for the last week or so and spending some time on the swimming pool, paddling around in the shallow water on top of the winter cover.

27th. The Sweet Violets Viola odorata on the shingle covered slope by the pool still a mass of bloom and one or two self sown Common Dog-violets Viola riviniana, self-sown in the cracks between the paving slabs round the pool are showing a single flower, each with its paler-coloured spur.

28th. A visit to the site of the other early flowering cherries, Sour Cherry Prunus cerasus revealed that the suckering hedge of this plant had been drastically pruned and cut back to the main woody trunks, each about 10-12cm in diameter. It looks as though the rough plot is being prepared for building, but the preservation of the main stocks suggests that the hedge will be left in place.

Cherry Plum

Sour Cherry