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February 2015

1st February 2015, Sunday
Min -0.1 C, Max 4.0 C, Rain 1.5 mm, Wind W
A thoroughly miserable and bitterly raw start to the day with periods of persistent sleet but by the end of the morning this would thankfully clear away with the weather rapidly improving after midday with some spells of winter sunshine developing. Remaining largely clear in the evening and overnight with a decent frost, though a moderate breeze prevented temperatures from dropping particularly low. However the low temperatures combined with the wind made the ground as hard as iron by dawn.

2nd February 2015, Monday
Min -2.7 C, Max 3.8 C, Rain 10.1 mm, Wind NW
A clear and cold start to the day and remaining bright and crisp for most of the day with plenty of late winter sunshine. However by mid-afternoon cloud would increase with some periods of mostly light snow by dusk, but this only gave the slightest of dustings. However longer showers of snow would arrive in mid-evening and would continue on and off for much of the night with a covering by dawn.

A Barn Owl flew right over our heads near the river this morning, a beautiful way to start what was a crisp and cold winter's morning.

3rd February 2015, Tuesday
Min -1.1 C, Max 3.9 C, Rain 1.4 mm, Wind NW
A bright but snowy start to the morning with 4-5 cm of lying snow at the weather station, this looking absolutely stunning in the wintry sunshine. After a few further wintry showers in the morning it would become dry in the afternoon with plenty of winter sunshine to end a pleasant winter’s day. Clear spells at first overnight but by midnight cloud & temperatures would increase with some outbreaks of sleet for a time, this leading to a slight thaw. However this would clear away by the end of the night with temperatures dropping below freezing again.

Grosmont & Goathland
We went up to the cottage this morning, enjoying a stunning drive through the current wintry landscape of eastern Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Wolds above Wetwang were particularly beautiful, the village of Wharram-le-Street looking stunning with clean white snow on the ground and clean azure blue skies above. Down at North Grimston the landscape was equally beautiful, the temperature still being -4 C at 10.30 am, and whilst down at Malton & through the Vale of Pickering conditions were not quite so beautiful with plenty of slush & winter muck, conditions again improved as we climbed up into the Moors, especially above Lockton & towards Fylingdales. Indeed up at Fylingdales we went up into the cloud with heavy snow falling all around us, but as we dropped back down again this snow turned into sleet and as we looked down at Whitby and the coast it was clear to see that no snow at all had fallen at the coast with green fields along the lowest stretches of the Esk Valley. However in Grosmont the countryside was still covered in snow, the village being far enough inland to negate the sea influence on the local climate, and after checking on the house, filling up the bird feeders and all the other necessary tasks, we headed out for a short stroll up the hill and along the route of the old Esk Valley line.



Along our walk a WILLOW TIT was spotted feeding high in the trees, a new tick for our patch list, though no birds of note were spotted along the river this time, certainly no Goosanders anyway. Meanwhile later in the day we went up to Darnholm, where recent rain and snow has seen the Eller Beck rise up to the height of the ford, indeed in one or two places it is now overtopping, but again it was largely quiet birdwise though a couple of Dippers were nice to see.



Finally we ended our day with a short stroll around Goathland station, famous for its frequent appearances in the long-running TV series ‘Heartbeat’ and also the ‘Harry Potter’ movies, and here the snow was about three inches deep. Whilst there we also enjoyed a play with the resident station cats, a friendly pair of grey tortoiseshells, and I have to say I really miss having a cat since Billy passed away over a year ago.



Meanwhile an EWS liveried Class 66 was in Grosmont today, with 66016 hauling a train load of ballast for the recent track works on the line. The resident Class 37 264 also helped in the operation, banking at the rear of the train. A little bit of research reveals that this particular Class 66 was built in October 1998 and is currently based at the Toton TMD in Nottinghamshire. Since Class 66’s are of one of favourite diesels classes, certainly as regards locos still in operational service, and that the EWS livery is one of the most attractive, I was doubly pleased to see this unexpected treat outside our cottage this morning.


4th February 2015, Wednesday
Min -2.1 C, Max 4.2 C, Rain 5.6 mm, Wind NW
Another cold morning with occasional showers of snow, this replacing some of the lying snow lost last night during the periods of sleet. Indeed at the 9 am observation hour the lying snow had increased from yesterdays 4-5 cm to 6 cm this morning. However these snow showers died out after 10 am and for the rest of the morning and the early afternoon there would be plenty of winter sunshine, though after 3 pm showers of sleet would return, some of which would become fairly heavy and prolonged by the evening. Drier for a time overnight but further outbreaks of sleet & rain would arrive by the end of the night. However despite the rain the lying snow would survive intact throughout the day.


5th February 2015, Thursday
Min 0.0 C, Max 3.6 C, Rain 4.2 mm, Wind E
A wet and miserable morning with persistent sleet & rain, though at the 9 am observation time 5 cm of lying snow was still at the weather station. It would would remain damp into the afternoon with the rain becoming more drizzly as time went on, though by dusk the cloud & drizzle would quickly clear away with clear spells developing soon after dark. Under largely clear skies temperatures would drop overnight with a decent frost by dawn, this freezing hard the remaining lying snow.

6th February 2015, Friday
Min -3.2 C, Max 5.0 C, Rain nil, Wind N
A bright and sunny morning, though cold and frosty at first, this making the remaining 3 cm of lying snow very hard and icy (most of which would survive throughout the day). It would remain bright and sunny in the afternoon though by dusk cloud was beginning to slowly increase with it becoming cloudy and eventually overcast through the evening and overnight.

7th February 2015, Saturday
Min -1.4 C, Max 6.4 C, Rain nil, Wind NW
A dull and overcast sort of day, though in the afternoon it did brighten up somewhat with a fiery red sky to end the day. Variable amounts of cloud overnight with some decent clear spells, though much milder than recent nights with just a touch of ground frost by dawn. (Still 2 cm of snow at 9 am this morning, though ground coverage down to 55%. Indeed by nightfall most of the snow had finally thawed at the station, though patches remain here and there in the vicinity).

Two Barn Owls were seen this morning, a beautiful sight. Meanwhile on the winter floods, which are currently quite extensive, good numbers of Teal & Wigeon were heard.

8th February 2015, Sunday
Min 2.0 C, Max 8.0 C, Rain trace, Wind W
A lovely spring-like day with mostly clear blue skies and an abundance of sunshine, this sunshine being pleasantly warm in any sheltered sun-traps. Remaining largely clear overnight with a frost by dawn.

A Barn Owl was seen hunting over the rough pastures again this morning. The continuing recovery of this bird in the local area is great to see. Meanwhile in the evening it was interesting to note three bright planets in the darkening sky, with Jupiter shining away in the eastern sky, whilst Venus and the much fainter Mars were close together low in the western sky.

North Cliffe Wood
Earlier in the day we had enjoyed a pleasant but uneventful walk around the birch wood with little to record in the notebook, partly due to the presence of a YWT work-party whom generally scare away much of the wildlife with their noisy tools & equipment. However a Hare was spotted on the heath and with the warmish, almost spring-like sunshine the gorse was giving off the slightest of scent. Over the fields Skylarks were singing & ascending and whilst it was warmer today their was still plenty of ice on the pools, indeed the ice on the heath lagoon was more than an inch thick at the edges.



9th February 2015, Monday
Min 1.2 C, Max 8.7 C, Rain trace, Wind W
Another sunny and pleasant day after a frosty start, again feeling almost spring-like in favoured spots. Clear at first in the evening and overnight, this allowing temperatures to drop below freezing, but after midnight fog would begin to form, this becoming thick by dawn.

Plenty of spring flowers now appearing in the micro-climate of the walled garden, with CROCUSES joining the already flowering ACONITES & SNOWDROPS, the Aconites now being at their best. Cyclamen can also be found, whilst against the warmth of the house a couple of Daffodils are starting to come into flower. Meanwhile a Grey Heron was beside the river this morning.

10th February 2015, Tuesday
Min -1.5 C, Max 3.7 C, Rain nil, Wind SW
A very foggy start to the day, visibility as low as 100 metres in areas, and though the fog would lift by late morning it would remain grey, overcast and cold throughout the day with little to commend it. Remaining overcast overnight.

11th February 2015, Wednesday
Min 0.8 C, Max 4.3 C, Rain nil, Wind SW
A dull and overcast day again and feeling quite cold with temperatures really struggling under the heavy grey skies.

Approximately 60 PINK-FOOTED GEESE flew over around 9.50 am heading NNW. Meanwhile the Wigeon & Teal were calling loudly as we passed the winter floods this morning, whilst the Grey Heron was again fishing beside the bridge. At the other end of the day we were awoken from our slumbers around 10 pm by a pair of very noisy mating Foxes in the wood.

12th February 2015, Thursday
Min 1.5 C, Max 4.8 C, Rain nil, Wind S
The dull spell of weather would continue into another day with overcast skies and little else worthy of note. No change overnight though it did become somewhat murky with low cloud.

Noticed the gathering Rooks at the rookery for the first time this morning, with a number of them calling loudly from the tree tops. Indeed bird song has continued to noticeably increase in the woods recently, with the dominant songsters being the Great Tits, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, Robins, Wrens, Chaffinches & Greenfinches.

13th February 2015, Friday
Min 0.2 C, Max 8.3 C, Rain 0.3 mm, Wind SE
A grey and overcast morning (yet again!!), though in the early afternoon it did actually manage to brighten up with even some hazy sunshine, albeit brief for a time. However by mid-afternoon it would become overcast again with some outbreaks of light rain after 4 pm. Mostly cloudy in the evening and overnight.

14th February 2015, Saturday
Min 0.7 C, Max 8.3 C, Rain 0.4 mm, Wind E
A grey and unappealing St. Valentine’s Day with some outbreaks of rain in the morning, the perfect excuse for a cosy lie-in on a Saturday morning. Further rain in the evening and becoming murky and eventually foggy during the night.

Three CURLEWS seen departing the winter floods beside the river this morning, with other observations including Grey Heron, Redshank, Teal, Wigeon, Golden Plover and plenty of gulls, including a few Black-heads which are now already in breeding plumage again. Meanwhile along the lane the DAFFODILS are now starting to flower, a perfect sight for Valentines Day.

15th February 2015, Sunday
Min 2.6 C, Max 8.2 C, Rain 0.3 mm, Wind SE
Thick fog greeted us this morning with visibility comfortably less than 100 metres at 8 am and it would remain grey and murky throughout the morning and indeed the afternoon with yet another sunless day being added to the logbook, the sixth so far this month. Cloudy in the evening and overnight.

North Cliffe Wood
A quiet Sunday stroll around the birch wood this morning, the weather being much better down here on the lowlands with some very pleasant and almost spring-like sunshine. The WOODCOCK count today would reach five, as ever all being seen in and around the central clearance near the Hazel coppice, and here a Hare was also spotted, this individual seemingly always being present at this location whenever we visit. However the morning would be dominated by spring sights and sounds, with a notable increase in bird song (including Skylarks over the fields) and Woodpeckers drumming, whilst Hazel catkins and emerging plants on the woodland floor and in the ditches show that nature is responding to the lengthening days and strengthening sun.


16th February 2015, Monday
Min 2.2 C, Max 6.8 C, Rain 2.7 mm, Wind W
A grey start with rain moving in after 8 am and persisting for the rest of the morning and into the first part of the afternoon, the rain being quite heavy at times. Becoming drier by mid-afternoon and by dusk the cloud would begin to break up with a fiery sunset to end what had otherwise been another disappointingly grey day. Clear spells overnight with a touch of frost.

The local foxes were mating loudly in the woods when I left the homestead at 6.20 am this morning, their murderous cries being loud enough to waken the dead.

17th February 2015, Tuesday
Min -0.7 C, Max 8.6 C, Rain nil, Wind SW
A beautiful day with nearly unbroken pale spring sunshine, thought the day had begun on a chilly note with a touch of frost. Indeed though it was not a particularly warm day it nevertheless felt very pleasant in the ever-strengthening February sunshine. Remaining largely clear in the evening and overnight.

Hornsea
We enjoyed a very pleasant few hours by the sea-side today on what was a sunny and fairly warm day, the sea-wall sheltering us from the otherwise chilly breeze. Being half-term the beach was quite busy, at least by Hornsea standards, with lots of children and dogs playing but obviously my interest was more in the birds out at sea, which included plenty of Cormorants, a trio of RED-THROATED DIVERS, and a variety of gull species. A few SANDERLINGS were also running along the shore, though with the large number of dogs and people about the number of shorebirds was disappointing.


18th February 2015, Wednesday
Min 1.5 C, Max 10.7 C, Rain 5.4 mm, Wind S
A largely bright day with warm sunny spells (for the time of year), though it wasn’t as clear as yesterday with some cloudier periods too, particularly around midday. Variable amounts of cloud in the evening but over night cloud would increase with persistent rain arriving prior to dawn.

Grosmont
With half-term running operating at the NYMR this week we headed up to the holiday cottage with the whole family, this enlarging the population of the village by almost 5% for a few hours! The weather was initially largely cloudy but it brightened up as the afternoon wore on with some long spells of sunshine by the end of the day. Trains operating were the Standard 4 No.76079 and a three Car DMU set made up of 51511, 59539 & 53204, though we didn’t have time to actually enjoy a trip on the trains. However it was nice to simply show the family around the cottage, whilst the children had a great time playing down by the river and throwing stones and whatnot into the peaty coloured waters.

As we played beside the river we noticed that COLTSFOOT has now come into flower, with many of these slender but otherwise dandelion-like flowers along the edge of the Murk Esk, and whilst the river was largely quiet of birdlife we nevertheless saw the resident Grey Wagtails. In the riverside garden the snowdrops are now at their best and it is heart-warming to see the ever increasing signs of spring in the countryside, though I am sure winter is not quite finished with us just yet.

19th February 2015, Thursday
Min 4.3 C, Max 7.1 C, Rain 5.0 mm, Wind SW
A miserable and wet morning with persistent moderate rain throughout, though after 1 pm it would quickly clear away with sunny spells developing by mid-afternoon. Clear spells in the evening and overnight with temperatures dipping below freezing.

20th February 2015, Friday
Min -0.6 C, Max 6.9 C, Rain nil, Wind W
A frosty and icy start with plenty of February sunshine, and though it would remain bright throughout the day, especially in the morning, it would become somewhat cloudier in the afternoon. Skies clearing again overnight with a frost by dawn.

Two Green Woodpeckers were heard this morning, with one down near the village and another in the wood beside the homestead. These are the first I have heard locally this year.

21st February 2015, Saturday
Min -0.3 C, Max 6.9 C, Rain trace, Wind W
Another frosty but bright start with it remaining largely sunny throughout the morning and the afternoon. Feeling chilly though, especially in the moderate NW breeze. It would remain largely clear in the evening, though there was a brief & unexpected light shower around 6 pm, and with largely clear skies temperatures would again drop below freezing during the night, the 11th air frost so far this month.

22nd February 2015, Sunday
Min -1.8 C, Max 7.5 C, Rain 4.6 mm, Wind S
A bright start but cloud would slowly increase through the morning with overcast skies by midday. The breeze would also freshen from SSW. Becoming wet in the afternoon with persistent rain, this being quite sleety at first, and this rain would continue beyond nightfall. However by 6 pm it had become drier and overnight skies would clear with temperatures dipping close to freezing.

North Cliffe Wood
As is customary we went for our usual Sunday morning stroll around the birch wood on what was initially a bright morning but which had became overcast by the time we headed for home. With a chilly and freshening SSW wind the wood seemed largely quiet, with not much worth noting, though a Green Woodpecker and a Buzzard over the heath were nice to see. Even the WOODCOCK count was disappointing with just two today, though one of them was actually encountered out on the heath, an usual observation for this part of the wood.


23rd February 2015, Monday
Min 0.5 C, Max 7.8 C, Rain nil, Wind SW
An icy start to the morning but otherwise bright and sunny, though a brisk SW breeze made it feel quite chilly. Clear spells overnight though the brisk breeze prevented another widespread frost.

Patches of black ice on the rural lanes made for tricky & slippery conditions this morning though the ground was nice and pacy given appropriate care. Meanwhile snow fell up on the Moors this morning though accumulations were largely short-lived as milder air moved in latterly.

24th February 2015, Tuesday
Min 2.0 C, Max 8.2 C, Rain trace, Wind W
A bright and blustery day with gusts up to gale force though there were a few light & fleeting showers in the afternoon. Variable amounts of cloud overnight with some light rain but again not amounting to anything.

25th February 2015, Wednesday
Min 0.8 C, Max 10.5 C, Rain 1.4 mm, Wind S
A bright morning again, feeling warmer with lighter winds, and it would remain bright up until around 2 pm. Thereafter cloud would increase and it would remain cloudy throughout the evening and night with some light rain arriving around dawn.

Heard a REED BUNTING singing this morning, the first I've heard this year, the few peeps & little trill being one of the characteristic sounds of spring along the river. A Barn Owl was also seen hunting along the edges of the low fields and when I left the homestead at 6 am the foxes were mating loudly in the woods again.

26th February 2015, Thursday
Min 4.4 C, Max 10.7 C, Rain 2.1 mm, Wind W
An initially dry start but rain would soon arrive and would continue for the rest of the morning, with some heavier spells at times (3.8 mm/h). However soon becoming drier after midday with even some weak sunshine by mid-afternoon. Feeling very mild too with temperatures in excess of 10 C for a time, though after the rain cleared temperatures would begin to drop again. Becoming clear overnight and with light winds temperatures would drop below freezing by the end of the night.

Heard my first singing YELLOWHAMMER of the year, its 'little bit of bread and no cheeeese' song bringing a little bit of spring cheer on what was otherwise a grim and wet morning. Further spring signs are also beginning to appear in some of the ditches with the sun-like flowers of CELANDINES now lending some welcome colour, and it was interesting to note a few Fieldares & Redwings back in the area for the first time in a few weeks. Late winter/early spring build up?

27th February 2015, Friday
Min -0.5 C, Max 8.5 C, Rain nil, Wind S
A beautifully sunny and crisp start to the day with a light frost, and it would remain largely sunny throughout the day with just some scattered & well broken cumulus to provide some cloudier periods from time to time. Though less mild than yesterday it nevertheless felt very pleasant out of doors and we took the opportunity to air the homestead out a bit. Mostly clear at first in the evening and overnight but cloud would increase later with the breeze also freshening from the south by dawn.

Widespread fertilising is now going on down on the lowlands whilst some of the arable farmers are getting on with ploughing for spring cereals. The next few months are a busy time for East Yorkshire farmers and hopefully nature will be kind to their crops in the coming year.

The skylarks were singing loudly from upon high in the clean and azure blue sky this morning, whilst the first displaying LAPWINGS of the year were noted in the afternoon, their unusual & almost electronic sounding 'song' which they deliver in their swooping flights being one of those sounds which confirm that spring is nearly here. Meanwhile the sweet coconut scent of GORSE was just about noticeable in the afternoon sunshine as more yellow flowers continue to appear thanks to the ever strengthening sun.


28th February 2015, Saturday
Min 2.8 C, Max 10.8 C, Rain 2.1 mm, Wind S
A cloudy and breezy day with temperatures well above average for the time of year, though it didn't feel particularly mild in the breeze. A period of rain in the evening around 7 pm, which was heavy for a time, but this soon cleared to leave a mostly cloudy but windy night with gusts up to near gale force. Remaining mild.