Frosty February, short on days but big on love, with Valentine’s Day on the 14th. This month can be bitterly cold with grey snow-filled skies or clear and frosty with amazingly colourful sunrises and sunsets. But there is still plenty of wildlife to look out for in your garden.
Some flowers blooming in February are snowdrops, winter aconite, crocus and dwarf iris. Lesser celandines starry yellow faces will be cheering up woodland edges and banksides.
Birds such as robins and tits will be singing again, already marking out their territories and looking for a mate ready to get busy in spring. Some other birds like the hedge sparrow and blackbird could already be nesting.
Trees will be producing catkins for wind pollination, fluffy pussy willow and the yellow lambs tails of hazel. Hazel has both male and female flowers but cannot self-pollinate. Pollen from another hazel will need to land on the tiny pink star shaped flower for a nut to form.
A native tree that has enormous leaves to grow is getting a head start now and producing giant sticky buds, this is the horse chestnut or conker tree.
Foxes also like to get ahead of the game, their mating season falls around Christmas time until the end of February. You may hear the eerie calls of the female fox or vixen in the middle of the night, she cries out to let any nearby male foxes know she is in heat.
Many insects like bees and butterflies spend the colder months in a juvenile or semi-dormant state. This is why it is a good idea to do little or nothing in the garden over winter.
Grasshopper nymphs may be hiding in dry grass, ladybirds snuggled in hollow stems and baby bees and pupating butterflies tucked out of sight under leaves or in loose soil.
Worms go deeper into the ground and hedgehogs, bats and dormice hibernate out of the way to avoid starvation when their food is scarce.
A few early bumblebees may be seen looking for nectar on mild sunny days, either queens woken from their slumber or honeybees who can survive all winter on their honey stores in the hive.