Winter Almanac – February 2020

flowers_rose
A Rose in winter in my garden.

Here in Philadelphia…

It is clear and cold. No real accumulation of snow. The Canada Geese are around. I saw a flock of about 100 birds on local the post office lawn and a large lawn across the street. They were round and well-feed.

Some days are clear and sunny. But the bare trees, the brown fallen leaves, and the drab colors of the birds make me look for signs of spring. I know next week, February 2nd is when Earth turns toward spring.

In Philly we are mourning the lost of Kobe Bryant and his daughter. I knew good friends of his. Philly is a small town. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the people lost in the helicopter crash.

This nature almanac is illustrated with winter colors. I took this photos in my garden this week.

Did You Know?

That plant roots grow and contract throughout the winter? The roots of perennials are alive all year around. Plants maybe dormant above ground but the roots are alive, growing and contracting seeking moisture and nutrients.

 

flowers_snowdrops
Snowdrops in my garden

Seasonal Events to Watch

  • February 2 – spring cross-quarter day (Celtic: Imbolc), Earth begins spring in the northern hemisphere
  • February 2 – Groundhog Day – if the groundhog sees it’s shadow, there’ll be six more weeks of winter weather
  • February 14 – Happy Valentine’s Day
  • February 17 – Winter’s back breaks (we begin to see signs of spring – February 17
  • Vernal (Spring) Equinox, March 19, 11:50 p.m. EDT

Spring is  93 days from the vernal equinox to the Summer Solstice

Weather Forecasting

  • Expect cold temperatures when the night is clear with no clouds or wind
  • Generally, low barometric pressure is associated with wet weather (including snow)
  • The weather will get worse if once fluffy clouds begin to form sheets and move lower to the ground. I describe this as a gray, wet blanket covering the sky.
leaf litter in winter
Leaf litter in winter in my garden

In the Sky This Month:

  • First Quarter – February 1
  • Full Snow Moon – February 9
  • Last Quarter – February 15
  • New Moon – February 23

Moon Knowledge

  • New moon always rises near sunrise
  • First Quarter near noon
  • Full Moon always rises near sunset
  • Winter Full Moons are high in the sky
  • Last Quarter rises around midnight
  • Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day

 

Best Fishing – When the Moon is between New and Full

January 24 – February 9; February 23 – March 9

leaves of prickly pear cactus
prickly pear cactus leaves in winter in my garden

This Month Watch For …

Birding This Month:

Animals Activity This Month:

  • Groundhogs emerge from their dens
  • Brown Bear females give birth
  • Black Bear cubs are born

Plant Activity This Month:

  • Skunk Cabbage’ purple-green spathe emerge
asters flowers in winter
Aster flowers in winter in my garden

Nature Journaling This Month

  • Look for insect evidence in logs, on tree trunks, and dig in the leaf litter
  • Keep notes on the birds that come to your feeder
  • What trees and shrubs still have berries or nuts on the branches? Why do you think this is so?
  • Take note which birds are foraging together. Do they forage at different levels or in different places.
  • Draw diagrams of winter twigs
  • Study winter buds
  • Find as many winter colors as yu can. Even if it is shades of grays and browns.
  • Photograph winter colors, my nature journal activity this past week. Winter Photography Tips 

More : Winter Nature Journaling Prompts

parsley leaves in winter
parsley leaves in winter in my garden

Citizen Science Events to Participate In

Project Budburst, all year around – projectbudburst.org

Great Backyard Bird Count – Audubon Society , gbbcc.birdcount.org

If you have comments or questions be sure to enter them in the comments below.

That’s it for this issue. Look for the next issue the beginning of March.

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