Time and Tides: December, 2020
Updated: Sep 22, 2021
This is a monthly column I write for Perspectives Magazine
Sky Events: The sky is a story this month: The Geminids Meteor Shower is falling over us, nicknamed “the King” of the meteor showers, you can view 120 meteors per hour at its peak. Best time to look into the starry skies is during the 13th and morning of the 14th. It will be an excellent chance to the see the cosmic display as the light from the moon will be faint. On December 14th, there will be a total solar eclipse. The full moon is on New Years eve this year: this moon has also been named as the “Long Nights Moon.”
1st to 5th Dec - Spring
6th to 11th Dec - Neap
12th to 20th Dec - Spring
21st to 27th Dec - Neap
Positive Ecological Restoration News:
Record numbers of one of England’s rarest beetles found in 2020
The Rock-rose Pot Beetle is one of the rarest beetles in England with only 40 individuals recorded during the past 150 years. That was until this year, where 75 beetles were found across 5 sites in Gloucestershire. Land restoration work and better habitat management has been key to this success
Sea Eagles successfully breed in Cairngorms National Park for the first time in 200 years
It has been two centuries since sea eagle chicks have last fledged the nest in the Scottish Cairngorm National Park, fittingly naming the two new fledgelings Victoria and Albert. While they have been in the area for several years, this was finally the year where breeding was successful, adding two new eagles to the total 130 pairs in Scotland.
The Tasmanian Devil returns to the Australian mainland after 3,000 years
Conservationists recently released another 11 Tasmanian Devils into a 1,000 acre sanctuary just north of Sydney, after the first 15 that were reintroduced in March had shown promising signs of thriving there. It is expected that another 40 will be reintroduced over the next 2 years, which is exciting news for this endangered species' return to the wild of mainland Australia after three millenia.
First Bearded Vulture to be born in the Picos de Europa mountains in 75 years
In the mountain ranges of northern Spain, a conservation team recently witnessed the sight of the first bearded vulture chick to be born there in 75 years and flying from the nest. Suitably named Bienvenida (Welcome), she is the first amongst the 26 vultures currently in the area to actually have been born in the wild, as populations were hunted to extinction in Picos de Europa by the mid-20th century. A promising future for restoring this species back to its old habitats.
Nature Notes: December 2020
There is something magical about the month of December, fields will be frozen, and apart from a startled pheasant or a croaky crow, all will be very still waiting for the first flurry of snow to arrive. A month when nature is waiting and holding its breath. Red foxes grow extra fur this time to protect them from the cold. Songbirds seek their bird boxes as a refuge. You can also expect the scurrying of the house mouse in the small hours. Many have forgotten the ancient Yule Log tradition at this time of year. When on Christmas Eve a wooden log was decorated with ribbons and burnt through the 12 nights of Christmas until January 6. If you don’t have a fire, you can do a chocolate version and eat the Yule log until the same date, if you have a hearth, do both! The Yule log was burnt as an emblem of the returning sun. In Northern Europe “yule” means “wheel” indicating the regular turning seasons. For many of us, this is a moment to be indoors with close family and keeping warm by the fire. With all the difficulty of the virus let’s hope the Christmas spirit of charity will reach out to those in need. At last, we welcome the new year this month, many will feel happy to leave 2020 behind, let us dream big next year; like the small seeds under our feet when they dream of becoming forests. Merry Christmas!