Time and Tides - May, 2021
Updated: Sep 22, 2021
My regular column for Perspective Magazine, London
Sky Events May 2021: The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower passing our night skies on the 6th and 7th of May. This shower is capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour. The planet Mercury can be viewed in the western sky just after sunset on the 17th of May. A super moon will rise on the 26th of May, followed by an eclipse where the moon will gradually darken and slowly transform into a reddish to bronze colour.
1st - 4nd May - Spring
6th - 9th May - Neap
10th - 17th April - Spring
18th - 22th May - Neap
23rd - 29th May - Spring
29th - 31 May - Neap
Positive Ecological Restoration News:
Great Yellow Bumblebee: UK rarest bee discovered in Scotland
Conservationists have had a "once-in-a-lifetime moment" after discovering one of the UK's rarest types of bees. The Great Yellow bumblebees were spotted in Caithness, Scotland buzzing in the heathland. Scientists were able to film the yellow bumblebee’s nest and according on Sky News said: ”It's rare to be able to find any bumblebee nest in the UK, but to observe and film a Great Yellow bumblebee nest is astonishing.”
Wolves To Roam Free in Mexico
The ABQ BioPark in Albuquerque are helping to release gray wolves (Canis lupus baileyii) into the Sierra Madre in Mexico in what is their first international release. Erin Flynn, ABQ BioPark mammal curator, said in a statement. “It’s a zoo’s dream to directly help a wild population like this. It’s even more powerful and touching for us that it’s our beloved lobo that we’re helping.” The wolf is a rare and endangered species in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental and this will greatly help to recover their numbers.
New Whale Species In The Gulf of Mexico
A small group of whales in the Gulf of Mexico has been determined to be a new species. Marine researcher Pamela Rosel concluded the whales to be a separate subspecies. She published her findings in the Marine Mammal Science. Rosel named the new species “Rice’s whale, or
Balaenoptera ricei” after the scientist who first recognised that the whales lived in the Gulf.
Extinct Mouse Reappears
Scientists have long thought the Pinatubo volcano mouse to be extinct after the massive 1991 volcanic eruption in the Philippines. The Pinatubo volcano mouse (Apomys sacobianus) was rediscovered during fauna surveys on the volcano. “For some time, we’ve known that many of the small mammals of the Philippines can tolerate habitat disturbance, both natural and human-caused,” said Eric Rickart, Curator of Vertebrates at the Natural History Museum of Utah, “but most of them are geographically widespread, not locally endemic species which are viewed by conservation biologists as highly vulnerable.”
Nature Notes: May 2021
The month of May has long been associated with new life, with ducklings, tadpoles, bluebells and hawthorn blossoms - aka "mayflower" - repopulating hedgerows and fields, puddles and streams. One reward for rising early this month is hearing the dawn chorus, as blackbirds, robins, wrens, thrushes and finches all enrich their songs as they search for mates and protect their nests. It's not just for practical reasons, however. Scientists recently determined what many of us already suspected: that birds sometimes sing for their own innate pleasure, even adding their own improvisations. In other words, birds make art. In May, broadleaf woodland's green crown is restored, transforming the countryside into what H.E Bates, author of The Darling Buds of May, called “the lofty miracle of light and leaf.” This month, several species of butterfly including peacock, brimstone, small white, holly blue, green-veined white, speckled wood, painted lady, small tortoiseshell, take wing and amongst wildflowers such as, dog violets, honeysuckle, bluebells and wild garlic. Keep an eye or an ear out for swifts and nightingales, unfettered by the pandemic, returning from their southern adventures. The music of the male nightingale is arguably the most arresting of the world’s 5,000 songbirds and, if you are lucky, he might give a performance in a leafy glen near you. Most of all, May is a month of magic: it's time to ditch the wellies and set out with a lighter step, seeking out that small path leading to out own enchanted woods.