Winter Nature Almanac – December 2019

Tree seed pod against a winter sky.
Tree seed pod against a winter sky. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Winter is a time of humbleness, humility, and gratitude. Winter is 89 days long from the Winter Solstice to the Spring Equinox.

The Winter Solstice is December 21, 2019.

Christmas Bird Count begins Saturday, December 14, 2019, through Sunday, January 5, 2020.

Best fishing days 1st through 12th – 26th through the 31st, between the new and full moon

  • 4th – First Quarter Moon – waxing to full
  • 12th – Full Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon
  • 13- 14th – Geminid Meteor Showers
  • 14th – Halcyon Days begin
  • 18th – Last Quarter Moon – waning to new
  • 21st – Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year
  • 26th – New Moon
The moon in a winter sky.
The moon in a winter sky. Photo by Donna L. Long.

In the Night Sky

  • New Moon always rises near sunrise
  • First Quarter rises near noon
  • Full Moon always rises near sunset
  • Last Quarter rises near midnight

Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day.

Geminid Meteor Showers are at their peak on December 13 -14th. Expect to see 95 fast-moving falling stars (meteors) per hour. The meteors originate in the northeast section of the sky. You will be able to see the show all night.

Winter Constellations

Circumpolar Constellations – from latitude 40 degrees north – these constellations are always in the sky: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia, Draco, Cepheus, and Camelopaedalis.

in the Northern Evening Sky: Pegasus, Lacerta, Andromeda, Pisces, Triangulum, Aries, Perseus, Auriga, Gemini, and Cancer.

In the Southern Evening Sky: Cetus, Taurus, Orion, Eridanus, Lepus, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Gemini, Hydra, and Monocerces.

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) in my garden.

Plants in Winter

  • Winterberry fruit is especially showy now

Birds in Winter

  • Many winter resident birds roost in tree cavities in winter.
  • Birds feed on suet and visit bird feeders more frequently in cold winter and during times of snow cove.
  • Watch for irruptive winter species such as Evening Grosbeck, Pine Grosbeck, Great Gray Owl, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Red Crossbill, and Snowy Owls

Citizen Science in Winter

Winter Blog Posts

Nature in Winter: An Overview

The Seasonal Winter Nature Journal

Winter Nature Journal Prompts

Happy Winter! It is time for putting out the fairy lights, the coziness of hot chocolate, crackling fires, and general hygge. Hygge is a Danish (Scandanavian) concept of “coziness”. Here is a video from my favorite Dane, Signe Olson about Hygge. Signe focuses on minimalism, simplicity, upcycling, and sustainable living.

Feel free to share ways you enjoy autumn and winter in the comments below.

Enjoy friends!

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