February’s rainfall was a moderate 47 mm, but this still left our ponds about 30 cm below normal levels for the end of the month. Our maximum daily recording over a 24-hour period produced 10 mm on the morning of the 28th. Maximum daily temperatures ranged between 2⁰ C on the 11th, and 15⁰ C on the 20th. A cold snap from the 8th to 13th produced light snow-flurries on the 11th, and saw the return of the solitary fieldfare to our garden for its helping of apple chunks, but it quickly moved on. There were fresh to strong winds from the 22nd to 27th around Storm Doris on the 23rd.
Our wildflower sightings were the first of the flowering snowdrops on the 3rd, when the temperature was a mild 10⁰ C, and the very first wild primrose on the 27th.
We identified only two moth species this month, these being a pale brindled beauty to light on an indoors ceiling on February 16th, and a dotted border moth on the outside of a lighted porch door on the 18th. We saw no butterflies during the month.
Bird first-sightings for the year included about 15 common gulls circling our lake on the 2nd, followed by about 150 redwings in a neighbouring field alongside our wood on the 6th. Two buzzards hovered over our wood on the 8th, and have been regular sightings since. A kestrel was seen hunting across the field nearest our house on the 12th. With January’s 33 bird species this brings our total for the year so far to 37. First signs of life beneath our reptile shelters were a pair of woodmice on the 8th, and these have remained in occupation during our periodic discreet inspections throughout the month.
Indicators of an approaching spring amongst our trees and shrubs began with hazel catkins releasing pollen, and the woodland honeysuckle showing its first leaves on the 3rd. Elder budburst was evident on the 16th, followed by hazel budburst on the 19th; while both were showing their first leafing by February 28th.