Extreme Temperatures


UK's rare spring butterflies make a late show

The UK's spring butterflies are being welcomed by enthusiasts, but weeks later than they usually arrive.
Threatened pearl-bordered fritillaries finally emerged at the end of April

The second-coldest March on record contributed to the delayed emergence of many rare species, according to the charity Butterfly Conservation.

"First sightings" recorded by the public showed the insects typically appeared a fortnight later than normal.

One rare species - the grizzled skipper - emerged a month later than last year.

The pearl-bordered fritillary was another rare butterfly to make a late show. Last year the insects were first spotted on 1 April but were not recorded until 27 April this year.

Threatened wood whites could be seen by 10 April last year, but this year were delayed until early May.

And the Duke of Burgundy butterfly made an appearance in late April this spring, around three weeks later than last year.

Last spring saw butterflies emerging earlier than normal following an unusually mild February and March. But the extreme wet weather that followed resulted in a terrible year for most species.

Butterfly Conservation's findings, which focus on the UK's rare and threatened species, show a large contrast with last years' spring sightings.

Cloud Precipitation

Video: Strange weather phenomena for the first days of May 2013

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Increasing numbers of dead seabirds found on North Carolina coast

Three wildlife conservationists have noticed increases in the amount of dead and sick birds found on local beaches.

While scouting the beach for sea turtle nests, Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project coordinator Nancy Fahey noticed several dead birds along the beach strand.

These reports appear to be part of a larger trend of an increase of dead and sick birds along the North Carolina coast.
Dovekies (Little Auks)
On May 1, Fahey reported 13 dead dovekies, three dead common loons and one dead green heron found along the Wrightsville Beach strand to the Wildlife Health Event Reporter website, www.whmn.org/wher

"I have found more dead birds during these two weeks of monitoring than I've ever noticed on Wrightsville Beach," Fahey said. "And I think primarily those little dovekies added to that number or that observation, because it is a rare event for them to be down here."

Typically dovekies are found in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Fahey also found three live common loons from May 3 to May 9.

"I've never found three live loons in a two-week timeframe before, ever," said Fahey, who has been a WBSTP volunteer since 1995 and coordinator since 2004.

Cloud Grey

Ice Age Cometh! Parts of UK hit by several inches of snow and 'one month' of rain during mid-May storm

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - so it's rather odd that we find ourselves in mid-May. Snow fell across parts of Britain last night while another area had a month's rain in just 24 hours as winds of up to 65mph battered the country's coastlines in unusual weather for the month. Up to 3in of snow fell in Princetown in Dartmoor, Devon, Rhayader in Powys, and Newcastle-on-Clun in Shropshire - while Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, had 3in of rain in the 24 hours until 7am today.

© North News
Local woman Sheila Coates told BBC Radio Devon: 'It's crazy. Last night I couldn't see out of my front window for the snow. I've lived here all my life, and I've never known weather like it at this time of year.' Up to 3in of snow also fell on high ground in the rural county of Shropshire last night - sparking fears of flooding in the rest of the region, as two local rivers were given flood warnings. Mike Steedman, owner of the Anchor Inn in the hills above Newcastle-on-Clun, near the Welsh border, said. 'It started at about 11pm and it came in wet and heavy.


Megacryometeor? Giant ice meteor slams to Earth near kids playing in Tennessee

A Tri-Cities man has video of what appears to be a large chunk of ice that he says fell from the sky on Wednesday (May 8) and landed in a yard in Gray, TN. Andy Miller says his children were playing outside along Keeview Drive off Hales Chapel Road around 4 p.m. when they heard what sounded like a rocket. "They ran into the house shaking," Miller said. He used his phone to record video of the children inspecting the pile of pure white ice sitting in a gouged out hole in the ground near where they were playing. Miller did a quick web search and found information that lead him to believe it's a megacryometeor. For what it's worth, here's a quick definition we found on line: "A megacryometeor is a very large chunk of ice which, despite sharing many textural, hydro-chemical and isotopic features detected in large hailstones, is formed under unusual atmospheric conditions which clearly differ from those of the cumulonimbus cloud scenario (i.e. clear-sky conditions). They are sometimes called huge hailstones, but do not need to form in thunderstorms." -WBTW

Snow Globe

Many bluebirds couldn't survive this cold spring in Loveland, Colorado

Eastern Bluebird

The phone rang. Again.

I didn't want to answer it. The two previous calls were from people who had found dying bluebirds in their yards. They wanted to help, but they needed someone to help them help the birds.

Yesterday, the call was from someone who had found a dead bluebird. Three emails about bluebirds also came. One person had found a dozen dead or dying bluebirds in her yard. Another person recognized me at the coffee shop and wanted to relate yet another woeful bluebird tale.

The loss of a bluebird counts as nothing more than just one of those life and death things that happen in nature. But so much loss at once is stunning.

People everywhere love bluebirds, but Coloradans have special reason to esteem them.

The bluebirds are members of the thrush family. Considering we also have some blue warblers, blue buntings and blue jays the reality becomes obvious: all blue birds are not bluebirds. Just three species can claim the name "bluebird" and they are relatives of the robins, solitaires and thrushes.


Ice plows into Northern Minnesota lake homes

Ice outs are still happening on lakes in northern Minnesota because of our cold and snowy spring.

Now, homes along the shore of Mille Lacs Lake are getting damaged because the ice is moving like a glacier, and pushing up against the homes.

In a video sent to us by KSTP viewer, Darla Johnson, you can see the ice making its charge onto shore. Then in a matter of minutes the wind pushes the ice about 15 feet from the shore to the doors of a home.


Massive wall of ice destroys Canadian lakeside homes

Residents 'devastated' after ice from Dauphin Lake pushed ashore

A local state of emergency has been declared in a western Manitoba municipality after homes in Ochre Beach were destroyed and seriously damaged by a wave of lake ice.

Area officials told CBC News the wind pushed built-up ice off Dauphin Lake on Friday evening and caused it to pile up in the community, located on the lake's southern shore.

The piles of ice, which were more than nine metres tall in some cases, destroyed at least six homes and cottages, according to the Rural Municipality of Ochre River.

Another 14 homes suffered extensive damage, with some structures knocked off their foundations.

Clayton Watts, Ochre River's deputy reeve, said it's a miracle no one was hurt.

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Prolonged winter weather grounds birds in Northland, Minnesota

It's a rite of spring, birds flying back to the Northland after a long winter.

But an especially long winter this year has caused big problems for the loon population.

"He needs a much larger area to achieve lift," said Erica LeMoine, Program Coordinator for LoonWatch, of a lone loon in a pond near Ashland.

The loons are turning up grounded because many Northland lakes, the bird's springtime landing pads, are still frozen.

"This late spring definitely has a detrimental effect. Especially when we have this type of weather," said LeMoine, "They found a loon in a wet, paved parking lot, in farm fields down by Rhinelander."

The loons are grounded, unable to move on land due to the mechanics of their body.

Raptor Education Group, Inc. has rescued 57 loons so far this spring.

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27,000 Dead goats. Is it Pashminas turn next?

Since January, 13 percent of the Changra goats has been wiped out, threatening the lucrative Pashmina industry in the Kashmir Valley

This summer, Pashmina shawl weavers like Ashiq Ahmed have a tough choice to make. They can either buy raw wool at inflated rates or abandon the 600-year-old weaving craft.

In 2006, the ban on Shahtoosh (woven with the hair of the Tibetan antelope) left 50,000 weavers and an equal number of traders in the lurch in the Kashmir Valley. Now, the rise in the price of Pashmina wool after the death of 27,000 goats is threatening the industry's very existence.

"The price of 1 kg of Pashmina wool has gone up from Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,500. It will continue to rise. Thousands of shawl weavers, who earn just Rs 5,000 a month, will think twice before buying raw material at such prices," says Ahmed.

The crisis started in January when heavy snowfall in the Changthang hills of the Ladakh region in Jammu & Kashmir killed nearly 27,000 goats (13 percent of the total population), threatening supplies of silky Pashmina wool used to make fine and expensive shawls and scarves.

Changthang is located 175 km to the east of Leh on the border with China. The average altitude of the area is 14,600 ft above sea level. This area is also known as Rupsho Valley where the main occupation of the nomads is rearing yaks and Changra goats. The unforgiving winter makes the goats grow extremely warm and soft veneer, which is six times finer than human hair and is used to make Pashmina wool.

Usually, Changthang receives only 5 cm of snow in winters when temperatures dip to as low as -35°C. This year, it witnessed 121 cm of snowfall, which many say is a direct result of climate change.