Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sundry unseasonal matters

This summer has been rather strange for (our experience of) Canberra.  It has been very hot and very dry.  I have created a chart of Indicative Mean maximum temperatures for Canberra Airport.
The current airport BoM site has only been operating for a short while so the 'all years' data comes from  a closed station with the name 'Canberra Airport Comparison site.  For the 2013-14 data the BoM site included the unwelcome words "This service is experiencing technical difficulties" so I calculated the monthly averages from the daily maximums.

Even allowing for those inconveniences having the last year above the long term average suggests that things are warmer.  (Of course this may be due to the hot air emanating from the mouths of the owners of the airport, rather than global warming.)

WRT rainfall I have a graph showing a 12 month moving average since we moved to Carwoola.
The plummet of the average covering the last 6 months is very obvious.  The correlation coefficient of the trend line isn't hugely significant, possibly due to the poor Summer rain in 2011-12, but it also shows things are crook in Carwoola (as well as Tallarook - I do enjoy sharing cultural imperatives with you).

At least it has been cool for the last three days and it is even raining as I type (9.2mm and counting - more on this at the end of this post).  An effect of this is that our tomatoes are beginning to hit their straps.
It is about a month late, but better late than never.  The cucurbit situation is not, thus far, as promising.  The cucumbers are doing OK and we have got a few small Trombocini but the traditional Zucchinis, which are usually heading for world domination by this time are barely alive and have set no fruit.

In the bird world, after 7 weeks of absence the Frogmouths have reappeared in their old favourite roost.
I commented to the COG Chatline yesterday (14 February):
"I see two possible explanations for this:
  • They were disturbed by myself and a neighbour pursuing some errant Aberdeen Angus past their secret roost site yesterday; or
  • They realised it was Valentines Day.
As they were well snuggled together I favour option 2.  (A third option - that they are just being Tawny Frogmouths  - is discounted as being insufficiently entertaining.)"
 The other bird excitements today were:

  • The presence of a reasonable flock (about 40 birds) of Dusky Woodswallows along Whiskers Creek Rd when we took the small dog for a walk this morning.
  • A numerically smaller (about 20) but far noisier flock of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos rain-bathing in the tops of our eucalypts.
One of them took off as I pressed the shutter giving a rather Monetish (ie blurry and indistinct) image.  Still quite amusing for 50m range.
As the day wore on the rain continued and continued.  But neither I - nor I hope anyone else - is complaining.  By 4pm we were up to about 20mm.  However the Creek was still far from running: this image is a waterhole just upstream from our ford which would be at least 1m deep when full.
The willows adjacent to our crossing have been losing leaves for weeks.  The last time I saw an array of Fall leaves like this was upstate New York - but it was the equivalent of late April, not mid February.
There had been very little run-off by this time.  A small pool has formed where the water has run off the new crossing but that is all.
By 9pm (about 12 hours after the rain started) we are up to 28mm and it is still coming down (the total for the day was 31.4mm).  Most excellent, especially as there was next to no run-off. 

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