Winter Solstice;The first day of winter in the northern hemisphere was on the 21st December 2020. This day is the shortest day of the year, having the fewest hours of sunlight. Thankfully, after we reach the winter solstice, the days begin to once again grow longer and longer, having more hours of sunlight, until we reach the Summer Solstice (The first day of summer) and the longest day of the year.
The Winter Season ends on the 20th March 2021. What season comes after winter? Can you remember?
Spring, that's right. The seasons go in a cycle; Winter (21st December - 20th March), Spring (20th March - 21st June), Summer (21st June - 22nd September) and Autumn (22nd September - 21st December).
Winter is the coldest season of the year. It is associated with plunging temperatures, ranging between -2 degrees celsius and 7 degrees celsius, and although sunny days are possible they will be cold. There is often frost in the mornings, ice on car windscreens and roads, and sometimes snow fall. British weathers are usually very wet and windy as well, so make sure you wrap up warm.
Aomori City in northern Japan receives more snowfall than any major city on the planet. Each year citizens are faced with 312 inches, or about 26 feet, of snow on average.
Antarctica currently has the lowest temperature on record. On the 10th August 2010 scientists recorded a temperature of -93.2 degrees celsius/ -136 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winter brings changes to the world. Much of the U.K wildlife in Winter either migrates (moves to another area for the season) or hibernates ('sleeps' or becomes inactive for the season).
Animals usually migrate south to warmer climates. But migration is not just about staying warm, animals can be forced out of their normal habitat because of changes in their food supply.
Hibernation is a way that some animals deal with the harshness of winter. They curl up in a safe place and stay there until winter ends. Hibernating animals seem almost dead. They barely breathe, and their body temperature is near the freezing mark. In warmer weather they return to their regular activities. Animals that hibernate are called hibernators. Only three British mammals truly hibernate, they include; bats, hedgehogs and dormice.
Even though much of the UK wildlife either migrate or hibernate, there are still lots of amazing wildlife to spot. Like Starlings that fill the skies with incredible patterns of their Murmurations (the wonderful shape they make when flying in their tens and hundreds of thousands). These are best to see at dusk as flocks from all directions come together in one big group. I actually saw my first Starling Murmuration of the winter yesterday from my back garden. The shapes and sound they make is amazing. Have a look in the sky tonight as it starts to get dusk, and see if you can spot the Starling Murmuration.
Almost half of the worlds population of Atlantic Grey Seals come back to the warmth of the UK beaches in winter. having spent months in the sea the seals head to the U.K to have their pups in the shelter of the sand dunes.
In the winter Barn Owls can be easier to spot as they often hunt in the daylight to get extra food they need to keep them going. As they swoop down on their prey (small mammals) they need un-windy conditions. You can find them on moorland or grassy meadows. Why not try listening out for the screech of a barn owl.