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February 2010

1st (Monday) -1.1 C to 4.7 C / 4.0 mm / 3.5 hours
A bright and cold morning, with lovely crisp sunshine. More cloud in the afternoon but not particularly thick or threatening and not coming to anything. A fairly cold day, to the extent that the snow dusting from the end of January managed to survive yet another day. Clear at first in the evening, allowing a touch of frost, but cloud increasing later, bringing with it outbreaks of rain which would continue for the rest of the night. Becoming slowly milder as well during the night, with the dusting of snow soon thawing.

2nd (Tuesday) -0.4 C to 5.5 C / 3.0 mm / sunless
A damp and grey start to the day with outbreaks of moderate rain. Milder than recently, but the temperature actually began to fall with the rain, so much so that some sleet was noted by noon. Periods of rain and sleet continuing into the afternoon, but becoming drier by dusk, with the cloud breaking and clearing in the evening. Remaining clear for most of the night with a decent hoar frost by dawn.

3rd (Wednesday) -1.8 C to 2.1 C / 1.9 mm / 2.4 hours
A bright and frosty start to the day, with some icy patches here and there at first. Cloud increasing by the middle of the day though, and slowly thickening as the afternoon progressed. A period of snow in the evening, this giving a covering of about 1 cm, but the snow turned to drizzle later as somewhat milder air moved in behind the front. Drier by midnight but remaining overcast and becoming foggy later as the milder and moister southern air came in contact with the cold air sitting over the ground.

The local bird song is becoming increasingly varied and diverse, with the already singing thrushes, and Robins being joined by the Blue Tits and Great Tits in the last few days.

4th (Thursday) -1.1 C to 5.5 C / 2.8 mm / sunless
A cold and foggy start, with visibility below 200 metres for a time. A slight slushy covering of snow still on the ground from last night too, but this was gone by noon as the milder air continued to move in. The fog slowly lifting through the morning, but remaining generally grey and overcast for most of the day, though there was a brief brighter spell around 1 pm. Cloud thickening again in the late afternoon and early evening, with some outbreaks of largely light rain, but otherwise it was a largely overcast evening and night, though rain did return again by the end of the night. Quite mild overnight, the temperature remaining above 4 C.

5th (Friday) 0.8 C to 5.5 C / 2.0 mm / sunless
A wet start to the day, with outbreaks of moderate rain, and quite murky too. The rain becoming lighter and more intermittent by mid morning, but remaining very grey and damp with poor visibility for most of the day. Little change overnight, with the cloud base lowering as the night progressed with fog later. A fairly mild night again though.

6th (Saturday) 3.9 C to 4.6 C / 0.2 mm / sunless
A foggy and damp start to the day, visibility dropping to about 200 metres from about dawn until 8 am. Remaining dull, grey, and murky for the rest of the day, with outbreaks of drizzle at times, and this was the third day in a row to see no recorded sunshine. No change overnight with overcast skies and murk.

7th (Sunday) 3.0 C to 4.8 C / 1.1 mm / sunless
Another dull and murky day with little of anything of note, though the wind continued to veer around to the north, and in doing so temperatures slowly began to fall through the day. Little change overnight.

Thixendale
Visited this isolated high Wold village on a grey, murky, and chilly late winters day. The cloud was very low this morning with visibility very poor, barely more than a mile or so, though it did become somewhat brighter for a short time towards the end of our walk. The Wolds are also currently as muddy as I can ever remember them being, as usually the Wolds are well drained, but recent frosts and snow have made many areas become very boggy indeed, especially where tractors and quads have dug up the ground. This makes much of the walking somewhat unpleasant but spring in not far away now with the promise of more clement conditions ahead.


Indeed signs of the coming spring were noticed up on the high wooded shelter belt near Wharram Percy, with some Snowdrops seen emerging on the woodland floor, as can be seen in the picture. Though still barely more than a few centimetres tall they are nevertheless starting to flower, though I can’t imagine there are many insects about yet to pollinate them. Otherwise this mornings walk was largely uneventful with wildlife and birdlife still somewhat absent, bar the current abundance of Hares, and the ever presence of winter thrushes. Nevertheless much enjoyment comes from walking through this pleasant, if somewhat claustrophobic village at this time of year, with the distinctive and heart warming smell of chimney smoke hanging in the cool and damp winter air. There are few smells for me which are more evocative than the smell of an open fire, and the thought of a crackling and roaring hearth cannot fail to warm ones body on even the coldest and greyest of winter days.

8th (Monday) 0.7 C to 2.9 C / 2.9 mm / 0.2 hours
A dull start with the cloud thickening by mid morning, this bringing outbreaks of sleet and wet snow for a time. The snow was persistent enough to create a very slight wet dusting but this didn’t last very long and was gone within an hour. Remaining cloudy for the duration of the morning, but a few breaks managing to develop in the afternoon with some short lived spells of sunshine. Though only brief they were nevertheless welcomed after recent grey days. Wintry showers moving in the during the evening and overnight, mostly of sleet and latterly ice pellets, with the northerly breeze also freshening later.

9th (Tuesday) 0.7 C to 5.7 C / 2.7 mm / 3.1 hours
A showery start to the day with frequent but usually brief showers of ice pellets, sleet, and wet snow. The snow heavy and persistent enough for a very slight slushy covering to develop every now and then, but these soon thawed. Less showers by noon with some decent sunny spells developing, though there was a cold moderate northerly breeze. Wintry showers continuing in the evening and overnight, with clearer spells in between, and becoming colder later with the showers increasingly turning to proper snow so that by dawn there was a dusting on the lawn.

The first of the garden Snowdrops are now in full flower, and the Aconites are just starting to appear with there yellow flowers emerging from beneath the earth, though with the wet snow showers today they found themselves temporarily covered over again from time to time.


10th (Wednesday) -0.3 C to 3.5 C / 0.2 mm / 3.3 hours
A cold and bright morning with a few light flurries of snow. At first there was a dusting of snow on the lawn, this from overnight snow showers, but it soon melted and was gone by noon. The afternoon remained bright with some decent sunny spells, but there was still the odd wintry shower, by and large light and brief affairs. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, with still the odd wintry shower, mostly of snow pellets which provided a slight dusting to the lawn by dawn. A touch of frost as well overnight.

Heard a Greenfinch ‘tseww-ing’ today, the first I’ve heard this year, and I also observed that the Magpie‘s have seemingly begun to nest build, with one of them seen dismantling there nest from last year atop the Hawthorn. Indeed despite the current cold weather and flurries of snow, nature and bird-life in particular, are certainly responding to the now lengthening days, and it will be interesting to see how quickly things respond to any milder weather in the next few weeks.


11th (Thursday) -0.9 C to 4.6 C / 1.5 mm / 5.6 hours
A bright and chilly day, though plenty of  long sunny spells and in fact it felt very pleasant in any sun traps as the sun is now climbing ever higher in the sky as we move towards spring. Showers developing in the late evening and overnight, some of these quite heavy, though usually of quite a short duration and therefore amounting to fairly little.

A pair of Bullfinches were seen in the Crab Apple today, seemingly feeding on the buds of the tree, though the buds are still very much undeveloped as a result of the persistent cold weather thus far this winter. I also spotted a pair of rival male Dunnocks wing flapping at each other today, they obviously setting up their territories for the spring ahead.

12th (Friday) 0.2 C to 6.4 C / 0.4 mm / 3.0 hours
A bright morning with plenty of sunny spells. However there was more in the way of cloud in the afternoon, with some brief showers, though were still some sunny spells between the showers too. A moderate north east breeze picking up in the afternoon for a time as well, but this began to ease by dusk. It was quite mild today, well compared to recently anyway, with a high of 6 C, certainly the highest thus far this February. Variable amounts of cloud overnight, with still some brief passing showers during the first half of the night, but some longer clearer spells developed later.

The Bullfinch pair were again spotted in the Crab Apple today. They are incredibly striking birds, especially the male whose rich pink breast almost glows in the weak winter light, and I am delighted that we do now seem to have a resident pair living in the vicinity. We nearly went a whole decade without a resident pair, largely as a result of the heartless removal of some beautiful cherry trees in a neighbouring garden, but now I am glad to say they are heard almost every day at some point with their characteristic soft whistles alerting us to their presence.

13th (Saturday) 0.0 C to 5.5 C / 3.4 mm / 1.1 hours
A largely cloudy morning, but brighter spells developing by noon. However showers also moved in around the middle of the day, with the afternoon consisting of sunny spells and short moderate to heavy showers coming in off the coast on the north east breeze. This theme continuing in the evening and for much of the night, though the showers becoming lighter.

14th (Sunday) 1.7 C to 5.5 C / 0.7 mm / 1.6 hours
A fairly cloudy morning, with some bits and pieces of rain at times, though there were some brighter intervals too from time to time, especially by the end of the morning. Becoming increasingly bright into the afternoon with some decent sunny spells, and indeed feeling quite spring like again, at least in any sun traps anyway. Clear spells in the evening and overnight, this allowing a decent frost to develop, but cloud increased later, raising temperatures with it.

Brattwood (Nunburnholme)
A pleasant mornings walk in this very quiet and peaceful corner of the Wolds. There was lots of ice around when we arrived, with the puddles frozen and some frost and ice on the roads and grass. In fact in some areas there was evidence of some snow in the past week. Still despite the morning chill the countryside is continuing to march ever onwards towards the coming spring, and the larger song birds and tits are now largely all in song. In the low wood we heard both a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, and a yaffling Green Woodpecker, and further up heard a Jay and saw a couple of Buzzards. The Buzzards seem to be residents of the wood now and are seen most times we walk in this vicinity.

Continuing onwards on our normal route we passed flocks of finches along the field margins, this including a Bullfinch or two, and upon entering the wood we found that it is still very much in its winter cloak. The only hint of the spring was the emerging Dogs Mercury, which is still barely more than a few centimetres above the woodland floor. Upon leaving the wood and ascending to the top of the Wold the weather became brighter, it having been quite cloudy at first, and by the time we reached the farm on the woldside the sun had become quite strong and it felt positively warm.

We completed the remainder of the walk with little of further of note, enjoying the pleasant and dare I say yet again, spring like weather. Coming down the hill with the lovely country church at Nunburnholme framed by the bare woodland canopy was particularly attractive. On the journey home we had a fine view of a Red Kite near the finishing point of the Kiplingcotes Derby, and for a change we were able to take the journey back through the Honeypot and Etton areas and therefore avoid the unpleasant main road. I also find the countryside between the Dalton’s and Cherry Burton particularly pleasant and pleasing, with its rolling fields, woods, pretty villages, and fine churches.


15th (Monday) -2.1 C to 3.0 C / 7.8 mm / 0.3 hours
A cloudy start, but still quite icy from last night with a frost on the grass. This soon melting though, with the south-westerly breeze picking up and the cloud continuing to thicken. This thick enough for some light snow during the second half of the morning, though this amounted to nothing, and by midday it began to brighten up somewhat. Indeed some sunny spells broke through for a short time in the afternoon, but cloud again began to increase later, and would continue to thicken during the evening with outbreaks of moderate and at times heavy sleet setting in for a time. Eventually clearing away during the night, though there were still some showers from time to time, though these were largely light.

The garden Aconites are about fully out now, there rich yellow flowers providing some welcome colour after a long and grey winter. Indeed it has not been the cold or snow that has been so tiresome this winter, but instead it has been the lack of sunshine and the sheer number of grey and overcast days. Still with the emergence of the Aconites comes the promise of spring and therefore brighter days ahead and I for one can hardly wait to delight in the joys of the most pleasant of all seasons.

16th (Tuesday) -0.3 C to 4.9 C / 1.3 mm / 2.0 hours
A fairly bright morning, though there were a few light showers or somewhat longer outbreaks of rain from time to time. Remaining bright into the afternoon, with some decent sunny spells, but as with most days recently there were some light and fairly brief showers around too, these on the sleety side at times. It became largely dry by the evening though with clear spells developing, this allowing the temperature to drop below freezing for a time, but fog began to form later, becoming quite thick by the end of the night.

While passing through the Parks this morning I heard a Grey Partridge calling, the first I have ever heard in this area. I did know there were a few Greys in the environs, for I have seen them from time to time, but nevertheless hearing them calling is significant for it may well indicate that there is a breeding population becoming established in the area. For this increasingly rare game-bird to be present in the Parks is very encouraging and hopefully today’s observation (or ‘heardation’) is not an isolated event.

Flamborough, the coast, & Holderness
Today we all went to up to the coast at Flamborough Head, on what was a bright and pleasant enough day with just the odd shower from time to time. First off we stopped at Bempton Cliffs, where Dad and I enjoyed a leisurely walk along the cliff tops. The footpath is quite muddy at the moment, what with all the snow and rain in the last month or two, but nevertheless it was very enjoyable to see these magnificent sea cliffs again, and to see the seabirds gliding effortlessly on the cold sea breezes. Of course most of the birds have not returned to the cliffs yet, though Gannets were seen in good numbers, as were Fulmars, and quite a few Guillemots. The odd Kittiwake was also seen, and other observations included Rock Pipit, plenty of Rock doves, and Cormorants.


After this bracing walk we headed back to Flamborough, where we enjoyed some fish and chips for lunch. After concluding here we headed for home, but decided to return via Halsham, a small village to the east of Hull, as we have seen a very nice house for sale here. The house didn’t disappoint but perhaps its location did, as it was right beside the main road between Hull and Withernsea. Other than that though it was a delightful property located next to the church, and surrounded by mature trees and having neighbours on either side. The church was far from the prettiest and in many ways was not in the best of condition, but I’m sure with a little attention the whole area could be turned into a lovely little spot to while away the days. Whomever buys it I hope they take full advantage of all this property offers and make it into the fine home it could be. From here we headed straight for home, but as a side note to our return journey was a very heavy and localised hail/pellet shower near Preston, which covered the area in a layer of slushy ice. It looked almost like snow, and was heavy enough to even cover the road. An interesting and enjoyable day out.


17th (Wednesday) -1.0 C to 2.8 C / 2.0 mm / sunless
A foggy start to the day, with visibility as low as 100 metres for a time. The fog only slowly lifting as the day wore one and even once visibility had improved it remained grey and dull for the remainder of the day. This cloud growing thicker by the end of the day, with some periods of rain and sleet during the evening. Clearing overnight, but remaining largely cloudy and becoming foggy again by the end of the night.

18th (Thursday) 0.4 C to 4.9 C / 3.5 mm / sunless
A foggy start, though not as thick as yesterday. Slowly lifting by mid morning, but again, like yesterday, it remained cloudy and grey all day, this being the seventh sunless day this month. The cloud thick enough by late afternoon for some rain, this continuing intermittently through the evening and night. Clearing later though, with even some breaks developing by dawn.

Heard the first Chaffinches singing in the garden today, there merry song bringing some cheer to an otherwise grey and uninspiring day (actually that’s not quite true for I did enjoy the early morning fog, surely one of the most unappreciated of all weather phenomena).

19th (Friday) 1.1 C to 4.6 C / trace / 2.3 hours
A bright morning with some sunny spells, particularly towards mid-day. Remaining bright at first in the afternoon, but cloud increased from 2 pm onwards, with it soon becoming overcast. The cloud was thick enough by dusk for a few snow flakes, but this came to nothing. The cloud slowly breaking in the evening and overnight, and becoming largely clear by the end of the night with a decent frost.

20th (Saturday) -1.0 C to 4.3 C / trace / 8.0 hours
A perfect late winters day, with a crisp and frosty start and clear blue skies throughout the remainder of it. There was barely any breeze either, and in any sun traps it was positively warm and pleasant, despite the fact the temperature struggled to barely 4 C. Remaining clear for most of the night, this allowing a sharp frost with a low of -4 C, but cloud increased later.

The mid to late spring bulbs are now moving along , with the stems of the Daffodils, Tulips, and Hyacinth’s all several centimetres above the ground now. Indeed on a lovely sunny late winters day such as this it was easy to imagine the glories of the season ahead, when the garden and the local countryside will be a riot of colour and renewed life.

21st (Sunday) -4.4 C to 1.9 C / 8.1 mm / 0.9 hours
A cloudy and frosty start, with the cloud quickly thickening by 8 am with a period of heavy snow setting in for most remainder of the morning. This depositing about 5 cm across the local area, and when it was fresh it made for a wonderful spectacle with all the trees and fields covered in a nice and even blanket. The snow easing by lunch and in fact turning into icy drizzle as the dew point hovered around freezing, but the drizzle soon cleared, with it actually becoming quite bright for a time with some sunny spells by the middle of the afternoon. Variable amounts of cloud for the remainder of the day, and indeed through the evening and night. This prevented the thermometer falling very low, though nevertheless there was a decent frost with a low of nearly -3 C.



Nunburnholmewold
Winter returned with a vengeance today, as heavy and wet snow rapidly accumulated across the region, with the Wolds as ever seeing the most. Within three or four hours about 8 cm of even snow covered the area around Nunburnholmewold, transforming the district into a winter wonderland (again !). The snow covered absolutely everything, with the trees looking particularly attractive under there wintry cloak, and all thoughts of spring were temporarily suspended amongst the beasts and fowls, and indeed their human counterparts. The visibility this morning was particularly poor, not only from the heavy snow, but also as a result of low cloud on the wold tops which meant that at times one could see barely more than 200 metres or so. When combined with lying snow this made it quite disorientating, and this was especially the case when driving in the car with the road hidden by the rapidly thickening blanket of snow. However the Jeep coped very well with the conditions, as it was particularly slippy this morning.


Wildlife wise there was little about this morning, which wasn’t much of a surprise, though we did have a fine view of a hunting Buzzard along the Warter-Middleton road, and there were lots of Pheasants about too, including a particularly fine Azure individual. All in all a very enjoyable morning, with the first real snow since the cold spell during the first half of January, and a reminder that winter is far from ready to gently retire just yet. After all it is this unpredictable nature of all our English seasons that make it so enjoyable, and I for one hope this never changes. To live somewhere where the weather remains the same for weeks and indeed months on end must be mentally unhealthy, and I for one greatly dislike periods when the weather gets stuck in a rut, be it an awful grey and raw period like we had at the end of January this year, or indeed a prolonged spell of hot summer weather without a decent thunderstorm to provide some relief from not only the heat but also the tedium of clear blue skies. I delight in our usually ever changing and dynamic climate, and though today I enjoyed the wintry spectacle I have no doubt that soon the winds will again turn to the south allowing thoughts of the sweet spring days ahead, with woods filled with fresh green growth, delicate Primroses and Anemones in flower on the woodland floor, and the beautiful sound of warblers calling from the high canopy.



22nd (Monday) -2.5 C to 3.7 C / nil / 1.1 hours
A cold start to the day with snow still covering the district and only the major roads free of ice and snow. Despite the chilly conditions though, it was a nice and bright day by and large, with some pleasant wintry sunny spells. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, with a frost again, this making the snow on the ground hard and crunchy by the morning.

23rd (Tuesday) -2.5 C to 4.0 C / 2.0 mm / 0.2 hours
A cloudy morning by and large, though there was the odd brighter spell from time to time with even a bit of sunshine breaking through. However cloud increased again by the afternoon, and this continued to increase through the remainder of the day. Thick enough for some outbreaks of rain overnight, but becoming drier by dawn, though fog quickly formed after the rain had cleared. Also slowly becoming milder through the day and night, this thawing the lying snow, though there was still the odd patch left even by the end of the night.

Heard the joyous sound of a singing Yellowhammer in the parklands this morning, one of the sounds I always most eagerly anticipate every spring. For me personally the simple string of calls ending with characteristic ‘cheww’, is one of the most evocative sounds of spring, bringing images of field days amongst aromatic gorse under a pleasantly warm May sun, be it up in the high Wold dales, or down on the lowland heaths, or indeed even on the high Westwood.

24th (Wednesday) 2.0 C to 7.4 C / 0.2 mm / 0.1 hours
A dull and foggy start, though much milder than recently. Remaining largely grey for most of the day, though some brighter periods did manage to develop in the middle of the afternoon, with the sun even breaking through for a very brief moment around 2 pm. Despite the grey weather it was quite mild today, reaching a high of over 7 C, the highest temperature recorded for about four weeks. Cloud thickening up again by the evening, with low cloud seeing visibility drop below a mile by 9 pm. Indeed the fog would become quite thick by the end of the night.

25th (Thursday) 3.9 C to 6.0 C / 14.6 mm / sunless
A foggy morning, and remaining grey and murky for most of the day. Some bits and pieces of rain were also recorded at times as well. Fog reforming again for a time in the evening, but this was fairly short lived as the breeze began to pick up after midnight, with spells of moderate to heavy rain arriving shortly afterwards.

26th (Friday) 4.5 C to 4.7 C / 14.6 mm / sunless
A thoroughly wet morning with persistent moderate to heavy rain, made all the more unpleasant by a moderate north easterly breeze. Continuing into the afternoon, and as the wind backed around to the north the rain became increasingly wintry, and indeed by mid afternoon had turned into wet snow. This not really settling, though a sort of thin slushy layer did develop temporarily on the lawn for a time. The inclement conditions eventually cleared by the evening, ending a very wet period which had brought about 29 mm of precipitation in 21 hours of near continuous rain (& snow). Becoming clear in the evening, though a thin layer of Cirrostratus gave the sky a light veil, and at 10 pm a halo was observed around the moon. However what with the falling temperatures and the very high humidity after all of the days rain, fog soon formed, though it became no thicker than moderate (ie. about 500 metres). Indeed it didn’t prevent a hoar frost developing as well, with the district covered in a light covering of frost by dawn.

27th (Saturday) -1.2 C to 4.9 C / nil / 0.9 hours
A grey, and foggy morning, with a touch of frost at first. Remaining grey until after mid-day but thereafter it became increasingly brighter with even some sunny spells managing to break through. Indeed feeling quite pleasant in any sun traps, especially with the largely light or gentle breeze. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening, but cloud began to increase later with it becoming overcast by dawn. As a result it was milder than recent nights with no frost.

28th (Sunday) 2.5 C to 5.1 C / 1.1 mm / sunless
A dull and grey morning, with the cloud thickening throughout with outbreaks of rain by mid-day. These continuing in the afternoon, but not particularly heavy or persistent. Indeed clearing around dusk with clear spells developing by mid evening. Variable amounts of cloud overnight, with a slight frost.

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