This blog is now closed with all future posts now being found at our new online home at rambling nature. Many thanks for visiting us here and we look forward to catching up with you all at our new website (ramblingnature.wordpress.com).

February 2013

1st (Fri) 3.9 C to 7.6 C / 2.2 mm / 2.0 hours / NW 5.4 27 Kt.
A largely cloudy start but by mid-morning breaks would begin to develop with some spells of sunshine developing by the afternoon. Indeed for a short time it would become mostly clear, but this wouldn’t last and cloud would increase again by dusk, bringing with it a short period of rain in early evening. Mostly cloudy at first overnight but the cloud would clear later, this allowing temperatures to fall to near freezing by dawn.

2nd (Sat) 0.2 C to 4.7 C / trace / 5.0 hours / NW 4.8 29 Kt.
A cold morning with sunny spells and occasional snow showers, these heavy enough to produce a decent dusting by mid-morning. However these snow showers would die out by the end of the morning and the rest of the day would see plenty of late winter sunshine (this soon melting the dusting of snow on the ground). Mostly clear in the evening and at first overnight, this allowing temperatures to fall below freezing for a few hours, but cloud would increase later with overcast skies by dawn.

3rd (Sun) -1.0 C to 10.4 C / nil / nil / W 7.4 37 Kt.
A dull and overcast morning (though the moon was visible through the cloud prior to dawn), and it would remain dull and grey for much of the day. However it did brighten up somewhat in the afternoon, and indeed during the evening the cloud would break up with some clear spells developing overnight. The wind would also pick up overnight and by dawn it would become very gusty with many gusts in excess of gale force.

North Cave Wetlands
Yesterday morning we spent a few hours down at North Cave Wetlands on what was a disappointingly grey, blustery and generally unappealing February day. The water levels at this expanding nature reserve are still very high with most of the islands within the lagoons still inundated, but at least this is good for most of the wildfowl whom choose to spend their winter's at this relatively small site which is no more than a few miles north of the river Humber. Shelducks were particularly numerous this morning with about twenty or so scattered around the site, and other common wildfowl included hundreds of Teal, plenty of Tufted Duck, and a few Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard and Wigeon. A few Pochard were also noted on the Main Lake, but compared to usual the number of these diving ducks seemed very low (perhaps the recent cold weather and frozen lagoons forced them elsewhere).



Disappointingly there was no sign of the Pintail or Goosanders which were reported the day before (both these species proving to be elusive for us this winter) but we nevertheless enjoyed some good views of the more common bird life of reserve, including the resident Green Woodpeckers. On the somewhat shallower parts of the lagoons a few waders were additionally spotted, including about a dozen Redshank, a few Snipe and plenty of Lapwings. Meanwhile a lone Kestrel was seen hovering over different parts of reserve as we made our way along the perimeter footpath, and in the fields west of the reserve thousands of Wood Pigeons were seen gleaning the cereal stubble, these all taking flight at one point and providing a fabulous spectacle as they soared high into the grey February sky.



4th (Mon) 2.9 C to 8.2 C / 1.4 mm / 5.7 hours / W 8.3 45 Kt.
A sunny but very windy morning with frequent gusts in excess of gale force and it would remain mostly sunny and windy throughout the day (peak gust of 45 knots around 11am), though in the second half of the afternoon a few brisk and light blustery showers would pass over (barely enough to dampen the ground). Clear spells and occasional showers in the evening and overnight, these becoming increasingly wintry later with the slightest of snow dustings by dawn, and the breeze would also ease somewhat through the night.

5th (Tue) 0.4 C to 4.9 C / 2.3 mm / 3.9 hours / W 6.0 33 Kt.
A sunny but cold morning, the brisk WNW wind adding a real chill to the air. However cloud would quickly increase after 1pm with a period of sleet and wet snow moving in after 2pm, this becoming quite heavy for a time. Further outbreaks of rain in the evening but overnight skies would clear with temperatures falling near to freezing. However towards the end of the night some showers would drift down from the north, these becoming increasingly sleety by dawn.

Wold Garth ; Week Five
With the snows of January now fast becoming a distant memory, this past week at Wold Garth has seen the early spring flowers reassert themselves with a beautiful display ofSnowdrops, Aconites and Cyclamen now on show within the confines of the garden. Even those plants which were somewhat nipped by the frost during the bitter weather in mid-January have recovered to a degree, helped no doubt by the milder temperatures and very welcome sunshine of the past week, and in particular the Winter Jasmine is once again hosting a fine, if somewhat reduced, display of yellow blooms from its slender stems. Meanwhile I noticed the first swelling buds on the Daffodils this week and further spring signs have been noted with fresh green growth on a few shrubs and climbers, namely Elderand Clematis.


However the big highlight of the week was the spotting of a Peacock butterfly in the garden, this remarkably early and in good condition specimen enjoying both the sunshine and shelter of a warm south facing wall. Luckily it hung around for a while and I was able to get some decent pictures with my camera but eventually it disappeared elsewhere and I have not seen any further signs of it during the subsequent days. This is the earliest ever record of a butterfly in the garden.


Meanwhile the local Magpies and Rooks have been seen back at their regular nesting sites, and the sunnier and warmer mornings have been accompanied by some gentle bird song. With Valentines Day approaching the birds should start pairing up soon, or at least according to tradition they should be, but of course much will depend on the weather during the next week or two (at the moment it looks like temperatures will be near or slightly below average for the next fortnight). However whatever the weather brings it is at least becoming noticeably lighter day by day now as we move towards the spring equinox and this at least is a reason to be cheerful.


6th (Wed) 0.5 C to 5.5 C / 4.0 mm / 3.5 hours / NW 9.1 40 Kt.
A raw morning with moderate to heavy sleet (and occasionally wet snow) showers, though in between these showers there were some brighter spells at times. Somewhat drier in the afternoon with some spells of cold late winter sunshine, but nevertheless a few brief and blustery showers would continue into the evening. Clear spells overnight and despite the breeze the temperature would fall below freezing, this producing a harder frost than one would expect for just a minimum of -0.1 C.

7th (Thu) -0.1 C to 3.9 C / nil / 2.0 hours / NW 3.8 20 Kt.
A bright but cold morning with a brisk breeze but by midday cloud would begin to increase and thicken from the west with it becoming largely cloudy in the afternoon (however the cloud would often be thin enough to reveal the sun). Mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight, though there would be some breaks from time to time.


8th (Fri) 0.5 C to 6.3 C / 0.8 mm / 0.3 hours / W 2.7 26 Kt.
A mostly cloudy and chilly morning, the cloud becoming thick enough after 10am to produce some outbreaks of mostly light rain & sleet. Clearing by midday and becoming somewhat brighter in the afternoon, but cloud would increase again by dusk with some light outbreaks of rain in the evening. This would clear away by 9pm and overnight it would become mostly clear, this allowing temperatures to fall below freezing with a frost by dawn and patches of ice.

9th (Sat) -1.9 C to 5.5 C / nil / 5.9 hours / W 0.9 11 Kt.
A sunny but cold start with a frost and patches of ice, and though the frost and ice would soon melt as temperatures rose, it would nevertheless remain largely sunny and bright throughout the day with plenty of pleasant late winter/early spring sunshine. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and for much of the night, some long clear spells around midnight allowing temperatures to fall to -2.5 C, but cloud would increase latterly with mist and murk forming by dawn.

10th (Sun) -2.5 C to 3.3 C / 1.6 mm / nil / SE 6.1 25 Kt.
A dull and somewhat murky start to the day, some frost from last night still covering the ground in places, and it would become steadily duller as the morning progressed with outbreaks of rain and drizzle arriving by the end of the morning. Further outbreaks of rain &/or drizzle in the afternoon and at first in the evening, but later it would become drier and would remain so throughout the night, all be it remaining cloudy.

Kilnwick Percy Hall
Today we went for a short walk around the environs of Kilnwick Percy Hall (just outside Pocklington), and though the weather was pretty grim with persistent drizzle and grey skies, it was nevertheless an enjoyable stroll around the woodland and parkland of this former country house. This hall is actually home to the Madhyamaka kadampa meditation centre, the resident Buddhist community maintaining the grounds for the benefit of both visitors and wildlife, and it always a place I enjoy visiting with friendly people and plenty to see. Indeed an interesting array of sculptures and wood carvings can be found throughout the grounds, many of them doubling up as creative and imaginative bird tables, and these attract the likes of Marsh Tits and even the odd Nuthatch (a very rare bird in most of the East Riding).


However today was quiet on the whole with just a decent array of common woodland birds, though a single Marsh Tit was spotted high in the tree tops and a few Goldcrests were heard amongst the Yews. Meanwhile some fungi were found on the woodland floor, including Puffballs and most interestingly of all a few decent specimens of Scarlet Elf-cup, a species I have never encountered before. Also noted on the woodland floor were a few Snowdrops here and there, while the first of this years Dog's Mercury and Bluebells are now starting to sprout from the still cold and damp winter earth. On a day like today it was hard to believe that spring will soon be here, and indeed the forecast is for snow in the middle of the week, but the presence of such widespread spring signs on the woodland floor does at least provide some reassurance that better days lie ahead in the not to distant future.


11th (Mon) 1.0 C to 4.1 C / nil / 1.5 hours / E 2.9 20 Kt.
An initially cloudy start but by mid-morning it would begin to brighten up with some weak spells of sunshine developing, though despite this it would feel very cold, especially in the easterly breeze. More cloudy again in the afternoon and it would remain largely cloudy throughout the evening and overnight.

12th (Tue) 1.1 C to 2.9 C / nil / nil / E 0.5 12 Kt.
An overcast and cold morning with occasional very light snow &/or snow grains. Little change in the afternoon or indeed the evening and overnight, though despite the cloud temperatures would drop below freezing overnight.

Wold Garth ; Week Six
With chilly weather dominating most of the week progress in the garden was minimal, and no further flowers or notable spring signs have been recorded since I last reported from Wold Garth. However the first hint of the Crocus' coming into bloom was noted this week (all be it very slight), while the green spikes and leaves of the Daffodils and Tulips in the spring beds have been joined by Hyacinths and Bluebells. A good display of Snowdrops is still on show, and are now almost at their peak, though the Winter Aconites are now just beyond their best and are starting to look a bit tatty.



Meanwhile I have spent quite a bit of time in my bird hide this week trying to photograph just some of the bolder and braver feathered visitors which frequent the garden/woodland at this time of year. The addition of a few extra feeders has paid dividends in relation to the number of visitors, with Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Great Tits being particularly keen to take advantage of this easily available food supply, but as the week has gone on the somewhat shyer bird species have slowly got used to the new arrangement and are starting to visit more frequently again.


13th (Wed) -1.0 C to 2.6 C / 16.1 mm / nil / S 4.4 29 Kt.
A dull, cloudy and cold morning with temperatures barely above freezing and it would remain dull, cloudy and cold throughout the day. In mid-afternoon and early evening a period of moderate to heavy snow would give 2-3 cm of lying snow, though after a short drier period (in which the wind would also freshen from the South) wet snow and eventually sleet followed by rain would persist throughout the night, though surprisingly the ground would remain covered by very slushy snow even by the end of the night.



14th (Thu) -1.5 C to 8.4 C / trace / 4.7 hours / W 3.3 22 Kt.
A filthy start to Valentine’s Day with outbreaks of rain with slushy snow from last night covering the ground, but as the morning wore on it would steadily brighten, though not before it turned a bit misty for a time. By the afternoon the weather had dramatically improved with good spells of long sunshine and it also felt very mild, at least compared to recently, with temperatures climbing to 8.4 C (all traces of yesterday’s snow being largely gone by 1pm). Variable amounts of cloud in the evening and overnight, with a touch of ground frost by the end of the night.



15th (Fri) 1.8 C to 9.2 C / nil / 5.4 hours / W 2.1 18 Kt.
A largely cloudy start to the morning, though not without the odd brighter spell, but as the morning wore on these brighter spells would become longer with good spells of sunshine in the afternoon. Indeed in the sunshine (and thanks to largely light winds) it would feel quite pleasant, the temperature reaching a high of 9.2 C. More cloudy for a time in the evening and overnight, but later the cloud would break up with a touch of grass frost by dawn.

I had the moth trap out for the first time last night, and though I caught nothing (bar a few Gnats) it was a good dummy run for the months ahead.

16th (Sat) 0.3 C to 8.6 C / nil / 5.5 hours / SW 0.3 9 Kt.
A bright morning with hazy sunshine and after an initially chilly start it would soon warm up with temperatures  reaching a high of 8.6 C in the late winter sunshine. Remaining bright with hazy sunshine throughout the afternoon, with the skies remaining largely clear in the evening and overnight with a frost by dawn.


17th (Sun) -1.1 C to 9.0 C / nil / 7.5 hours / SE 1.3 16 Kt.
A cold and clear start to the day with a frost on the ground but with clear skies and an abundance of late winter / early spring sunshine it would soon warm up with temperatures climbing to nearly 50 degrees, the lack of any wind making it feel that bit warmer and spring like. Remaining sunny and clement throughout the afternoon, though in the evening mist and then low cloud would soon form, this persisting throughout the night and helping to hold temperatures above freezing.


Tun & Frendal Dales
This morning we made our way up to the Huggate area of the high Yorkshire Wolds, the countryside in this part of the Wolds looking splendid in the unbroken winter sunshine which bathed the rolling fields and hidden dales of this corner of eastern Yorkshire. The day had begun chilly with a frost on the ground, but as the sun rose higher in the sky it soon warmed up, the lack of any wind today making it feel that bit warmer, indeed it was positively spring like by the end of the morning with temperatures hovering around 8 C (46 F). However despite the recent warmer and sunnier weather quite a few sizeable patches of snow can still be found up here on the Wolds, particularly where it had drifted along the hedges on Wednesday, and it will be interesting to see if any remains by next weekend with colder and duller weather forecast by the middle of the week.


As we set off on our walk from near Glebe Farm we were serenaded by a few Skylarks whom were singing high in the blue sky, a glorious sound on this spring like day, while along the hedgerows a few Yellowhammers and a pair of Bullfinches were noted dancing along ahead of us. A Kestrel also watched us from its vantage point atop a tall Ash tree and actually allowed us to get quite close, certainly close enough for a few record photos, but eventually its nerve gave way and it moved to a more distant tree. Meanwhile out on the open fields a good number of Hares were seen, albeit distantly, though later in our walk we would get a little closer to these handsome British mammals.


However the main reason we had chosen this walk this morning was to see the annual display of Snowdrops which can be enjoyed in Tun Dale Wood. This somewhat modest but nevertheless attractive spectacle of a variety of galanthus is not particularly well known, at least as far as I know, and this means that more often than not one has the entire woodland to ones self. However to be honest the Snowdrops are not quite at their best yet, and probably won't be for another week or two (depending on the weather) but in a few of the sunnier spots of this north facing wood a few flowers were found in full bloom, the delicate bell shaped flowers swaying in the merest of breezes.



After enjoying this late winter spectacle we headed onwards down the dale, crunching through the snow which still covered the shaded valley floor, and eventually we arrived at Frendal Dale, perhaps my favourite dale in the whole of the Yorkshire Wolds. This tranquil and rarely disturbed valley is a haven for wildlife, particularly birds of prey, Hares and Roe deer, and as we stopped for a cup of tea we spotted five Buzzards soaring and calling high above us, a glorious sight. At the top of this valley lies a series of ancient ditches known as Huggate Dykes, and these mysterious works of ancient man are just a small part of a series of such ditches which used to crisscross the Wolds, most of which have now been ploughed out after centuries of farming. The exact purpose of these ditches is still unknown, but it has been suggested they are connected to the ancient standing stone located in the grave-yard at Rudston, a 7.6 metre (25 ft) free-standing monolith which is the tallest such monument in the British Isles.



Just beyond Huggate Dykes we would be blessed with some fine views of a Red Kite which was feeding on some carrion in a nearby field, and at this point we would be joined by a local rambling group whom stopped with us to enjoy the sight of this beautiful bird of prey as it circled the sun drenched field. Just a few moments later a handsome Hare would also join us, and after suddenly noticing our presence it took flight across the field and I was able to grab a few photos as it bounded across the winter sown cereals. From here it was a short walk back to our vehicle, but before we departed we heard a Lapwing calling, the first one I've heard displaying this year and a real reminder that spring is nearly here up on the high Yorkshire Wolds.


18th (Mon) 0.9 C to 6.0 C / nil / 3.3 hours / S 0.3 9 Kt.
A dull and overcast morning for the most part, but by midday it would quickly brighten up with spells of hazy sunshine in the afternoon. Not quite as warm as recently though with a high of 6 C. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening, but overnight skies would clear, this allowing temperatures to fall below freezing, though towards the end of the night it would also become misty and eventually foggy, this becoming thick by dawn.

19th (Tue) -3.3 C to 8.8 C / nil / 7.1 hours / E 2.9 19 Kt.
A very foggy start with thick freezing fog reducing visibility to around 100 metres, but this would soon clear with misty sunshine for the rest of the morning. Remaining sunny in the afternoon, and again with largely light winds it felt very pleasant with temperatures rising to nearly 8 C. However by the end of the afternoon cloud would increase from the east and it would remain cloudy for the rest of the evening and overnight, the breeze also freshening somewhat.

Wold Garth ; Week Seven
This last week has brought some of the best weather of the winter thus far and indeed at times it felt positively spring-like with light winds, plenty of sunshine and pleasant temperatures, though looking at the forecast it looks likely to turn colder and duller again by tomorrow (Wednesday). Nevertheless the strengthening power of the sun was certainly felt this week as it bathed Wold Garth in glorious unbroken sunshine and this has seen spring move along quite nicely with a greater variety of spring flowers and insects being recorded within the confines of the garden.


The biggest highlight of the week was yet another Peacock butterfly fluttering around the warmer and sunnier corners of the garden, the 2nd spotted in the garden in as many weeks, and this winter, despite the chilly weather of late, has been remarkable for early butterfly sightings (the first butterfly sightings usually coming in early to mid-March in a typical year). The first Honey Bees and Hoverflies of the year have also been spotted visiting the Aconites and the now flowering Crocuses this week, with the Hoverflies (which I think are of the species eristalis tenax) also being found sunning themselves on the warm south facing walls.


Meanwhile the birds have been quite vocal this week, with one particular Song Thrush singing loudly in the early mornings and evenings right outside my window, while Blackbirds too have begun and ended each day with a fine chorus of song. Indeed most of the common garden birds have now been heard singing at one point or another, including Greenfinches 'tsewwing', Goldfinches 'tinkling' and Chaffinches singing their distinctive but hard to describe series of rapid and accelerating notes. The swelling blossom buds on many of the fruit trees have also started to attract the local Bullfinches, and despite the damage they do I nevertheless welcome these handsome and stocky finches into the garden as Bullfinches are one of my favourite garden birds.


20th (Wed) -1.3 C to 3.2 C / nil / nil / SE 3.8 19 Kt.
A dull and cold day with little in the way of any brightness, the temperature rising little higher than 3 C. Remaining cloudy overnight with a cold easterly breeze.

21st (Thu) 0.9 C to 3.3 C / nil / nil / E 2.6 19 Kt.
Another cold and grey day, with some light snow grains in the air, especially during the morning. Remaining cloudy throughout the evening and overnight.

22nd (Fri) 0.4 C to 2.6 C / nil / nil / NE 1.2 14 Kt.
A cloudy and cold day yet again with even a few very light snow flurries / grains in the afternoon and evening. Mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight, but some clearer spells latterly would allow temperatures to fall lower than recently with a minimum of -1.8 C.

23rd (Sat) -1.8 C to 4.5 C / 0.3 mm / 2.4 hours / NE 2.3 15 Kt.
A cold and largely cloudy start to the morning, but by the end of the morning some good spells of sunshine would develop. Nevertheless it felt very cold in the gentle to moderate NE breeze. Becoming cloudy again in the afternoon with some flurries of  snow latterly. Further light snow flurries in the evening and overnight, this giving the very slightest of dustings by dawn, but there would be some clear spells too during the night with temperatures falling below freezing.

24th (Sun) -0.5 C to 4.3 C / 1.5 mm / 1.1 hours / N 3.5 19 Kt.
A mostly cloudy morning with occasional very slight snow flurries (a very slight dusting of snow was on the lawn to start the day) , though in the second half of the morning there were some spells of welcome winter sunshine. Cloudy again by the afternoon and remaining largely cloudy in the evening and overnight, bar the odd clearer period from time to time.


25th (Mon) 0.3 C to 4.7 C / trace / nil / NE 4.1 19 Kt.
A wet start to the day with outbreaks of light to moderate rain, but by mid-morning it would become merely dull and overcast and would remain so throughout the afternoon. Remaining overcast in the evening and overnight.

26th (Tue) 2.7 C to 4.6 C / nil / nil / NE 1.7 12 Kt.
Another dull and overcast day with little in the way of brightness. Remaining cloudy in the evening and overnight, though towards the end of the night some breaks would begin to develop.

Wold Garth ; Week Eight
With cold and exceptionally dull weather dominating the weather this week the garden has been very quiet and spring has advanced no further since my last update from Wold Garth. Indeed thinking of anything to write about this week is proving quite a struggle to be honest but at least the common garden birds have been providing some welcome activity at the feeding station and a good sighting was enjoyed on Sunday morning when a large Grey Heron flew low over the house and headed southwards.


27th (Wed) 1.5 C to 8.8 C / nil / 8.6 hours / NE 1.3 12 Kt.
A much brighter start to the day with clear skies and lovely late winter sunshine by mid-morning, and it would remain sunny and clement throughout the day with temperatures managing to reach nearly 9C, and with light winds it would feel very pleasant indeed, positively spring like. Clear skies in the evening and overnight with temperatures falling below freezing.

28th (Thu) -2.0 C to 7.3 C / nil / 7.2 hours / N 4.0 17 Kt.
After a cold and frosty start it would be another sunny and clement late winter / early spring day with lots of sunshine. However by the end of the afternoon cloud amounts would increase from the north-east and for the rest of the evening and overnight it would be largely cloudy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.