Writing this short note in the very cold weather of early January, I am wondering how various wildlife of more southerly origin is coping with the almost‐Arctic temperatures. In particular, birds such as Little Egrets, Cetti's Warblers and Dartford Warblers, all of which have colonised Carmarthenshire in recent years due to the general increase in global temperatures. Yesterday (6th January), I heard of an emaciated Little Egret being picked up at Cefn Sidan by a group of walkers and I have noticed that more common birds such as various thrushes, Snipe and Golden Plover are enfeebled and tamed by the cold weather which prevents them gaining access to their normal soil‐dwelling invertebrate food. However, seed eating birds or scavengers such as corvids seem to be doing reasonably well. Young trees near the Ashpits Pond, Burry Port have been ring‐ barked by hungry Rabbits.
In my garden, I have noticed that some plants are frost‐damaged more than normal, but I have not yet witnessed the effects of cold that were evident in the winter weather of early 1981, when the Cabbage Palms Cordyline australis at West End, Llanelli (and elsewhere) were cut to the ground, though they subsequently re‐grew. More recent plantings of the once‐tender Canary Island Palm Phoenix canariensis, that has become more popular, are seemingly surviving*. More commonplace naturalised plants around Llanelli such as Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans and Stinking Tutsan Hypericum hircinum have been blasted by the weather, with withered leaves. Perhaps this is not surprising, as both originate in the Mediterranean region. The Mexican Wall Daisy Erigeron karvinskianus is brown and shrivelled. We will have to wait to see what lasting effect this weather has had on our birds, plants and other wildlife.
*Postscript – updating the above, writing in early February, I can see that many reputedly tender plants in my garden have indeed been seriously affected by the cold, many mortally. These include the winter‐flowering, South African Heather Erica canaliculata (dead) and the 'Restio' Elegia capensis (gone brown); a broad‐leaved Callistemon (bottle‐brush); large Echiums (dead); the yellow daisy shrub Euryops pectinatus that I got as a cutting from Clyne Gardens and a Pelargonium that has hitherto happily lived out of doors since 2002. All these have survived earlier (albeit milder) winters.... and, yes I was rather optimistic about the Canary Island Palm mentioned above – it too has turned brown! So much for my winter‐mild coastal garden!