Time and Tides - April, 2021
Updated: Sep 22
(This my monthly Almanac column at Perspective Magazine, London).
(Image above from Mahmoud at Pexels.com)
Sky Events April: The Lyrids Meteor Shower is passing our Earth during 22nd and 23rd April. This shower carries about 20 meteors per hour. It peaks on the night of the 22nd. The Lyrid meteors are special as they produce dust trails that last for a long time (over three seconds). To see them, look to the constellation of Lyra but keep an eye out in all directions. The 27th of April brings a super moon which will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This phase occurs at 03:33 UTC. This Moon will look much larger and brighter than usual.
1st - 4nd April - Spring
5th - 10th April - Neap
11th - 19th April - Spring
20th - 26th April - Neap
27th - 30th April - Spring
Positive Ecological Restoration News:
Record number of beavers to be released in Britain this year
More than 20 beavers will be released this year reported by to the UK’s Wildlife Trusts, with the first releases taking place in Dorset. Also other regions such as Derbyshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Nottinghamshire and Montgomeryshire will see beavers swimming in their rivers. The Wildlife Trusts have been at the forefront of beaver reintroduction following the Scottish Beaver Trial in 2009.
Wild cranes in the UK flying again
The common crane can stand up to 120cm tall, it left Britain in the 17th century due to loss of their natural wetland habitats and hunting. Restoration work with peatland, wetlands and a fully funded reintroduction programme helped the species to recover. The latest research revealed over 60 breeding pairs making their home in the UK with a total population of more than 200 birds.
Plans and hopes for the white-tailed eagle in Norfolk
The great wingspan of the white-tailed eagle will be seen again over the estuaries of Norfolk. Six to 12 juvenile birds are set to be released in Norfolk each year. The birds are also likely to fly into Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.
Jaguars prowl Argentina’s Iberá Wetlands after 70 years
Biologists successfully released a mother and two cubs into the Gran Iberá Park in northeastern Argentina’s Corrientes province. The jaguars have been gone from the Iberá Wetlands for the past 70 years - hunting and habitat loss drove all of them to local extinction. The Gran Iberá Park has the potential to hold about 100 jaguars, according to the local conservationists.
Nature Notes: April 2021
April is the month for blossom-watching; the wild cherry, hawthorn, elderflower and crab apple all open their white pinkish petals this month. If you pass a blossoming branch, take a moment to savour the bouquet and observe the great variety of wildlife that buzzes around it. This month we also celebrate the final arrival of spring and the new life it brings through the symbol of the egg. Archaeologists tell us that as far back as 12,000 B.C.E, elliptical painted eggs began to emerge as symbols of regeneration during the changes of season. An old practice that survives to this day is the painting of eggs and the celebration of Easter. History recalls that young Henry VIII received an egg encased in silver each year as a gift from the Vatican.
Since last April, we have all been told: “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives,” a difficult and weighty time, but now with the gentle easing of lockdown, there is one sound that can help sooth our weariness: the garbled melody of the blackbird at dusk. This April, the blackbird song can remind us that in the midst of our chaotic world, it is in the renewal of nature that we may glimpse our inner contentment.