Some of our summer visitors are quite exotic. The golden orioles are rarely seen, except as flashes of yellow and black in the treetops, but they make their presence known with parrot-like caws and whistles. The hoopoes are distinguished by their Red Indian headdress-like crests, their beaks like sabres and their “hoo-hoo-hoo” call. Their flight is distinctive, too, like a giant moth.
We often see hoopoes (Upupa epops) on the lawn, prospecting for grubs and worms. The one above was parading about the other day. I couldn’t get any closer for a shot, unfortunately, nor did it show its crest. They come here to breed, like other migratory birds, and then over-winter in Africa. In fact, we think they may have a nest close by since we often narrowly avoid mowing down a pair of hoopoes on the lane.
Here it is again, with the beak more in evidence:
Now for the weather post, which is late this month, owing to the SF having been away. I am not allowed to interfere with his weather stats in his absence in case I mess them up (more than likely). However, it’s quite apposite to post them today, the first of the three Saints-de-Glace, when the weather is notoriously chilly. Sure enough, there’s a biting wind from the north.
Weather assessment for April
This April was rather a good one. We had some lovely dry, sunny weather, except for the last week or so, when it reverted to type.
A quick reminder of our subjective weather assessment: we assign each day a plus if it’s fine, a minus if it’s bad and a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide. In April, we had:
Pluses – 15
Zeros – 6
Minuses – 9
The graph shows the percentage of plus days each April for the past 16 years (the line is the trend).
Over that period, we have had four better and 11 worse Aprils. In fact, they seem to go in pairs – two good followed by two bad. Hopefully, this means that next April will be good, too.
We had no frost nights in April. The total for the winter was 26 frost nights, which is very low: the average is about 46. But it’s not the lowest. The prize goes to 2001 with 17 frost nights.
Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. In April, we had 72 mm of rain compared to an average of 92.4 mm and it rained on 13 days compared to an average of 11.
The total rainfall so far is 372 mm. The average over 10 years is 315 mm, so it’s 18% ahead this year. This explains why it’s so green and lush.
To finish, the usual dicton (saying), of which the French are very fond:
Celui qui s’allège avant le mois de mai, Certainement ne sait pas ce qu’il fait.
He who lightens his load [here, I assume it means wears less clothing] before the month of May, surely doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Quite right: we’ve put the heating back on.
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