Nature Notes February 2018

Total monthly rainfall was 55 millimetres with a maximum daily rainfall of 8 mm on the 9th of February. Rainfall figures include contributions from the heavy snowfalls of the 26th to 28th, and minimally from the light flurries of the 4th and 5th. Recordable rain fell on 15 days of the month.


Maximum daytime temperature was 10°C on February 15th; the lowest temperature  recorded was  -2°C  on February 28th. Overnight frosts occurred on the 23rd to 28th and on 8 other nights. Woodland ponds were totally frozen on the 8th, 10th, 12th, 24th, and 25th to 28th, while the lake was only completely frozen on the 28th.

The cold weather, especially during the second half of the month, prevented much wildflower activity.  We observed English  bluebell shoots up to 3 centimetres long in our woodland on the 5th; speedwell flowers in the fields and garden on the 12th; and the first wild primrose flowers on our south-facing roadside verge on the 15th.

Once again no butterflies appeared during the month, preferring to await warmer conditions. However, by torchlight, we were able to identify one oak beauty moth flying and settling into a hornbeam hedge soon after dark on the 20th.

We did manage to identify four wild bird species we failed to see during January, although nowhere near the numbers which visit the coastal estuaries at this time of year. A black-headed gull over the lake on the 21st was followed by about 50 redwings in the fields on the 25th. The 26th produced a fleeting view of a timid goldcrest in a woodland hedge, while a jay among the woodland hornbeam appeared on the 28th.

Finally, following the spotting of active badger latrines in our woodland last month, we photographed badger hairs beneath a woodland-boundary fence on February 25th.