Found in the Fells – February

 

Almost certainly one will find a lot of snow and ice in the Fells in February. In other words, not very different from January. But,  those who like to fit in a walk with the dog in the early morning or late afternoon will notice some differences compared to early January - the lengthening days. On New Year’s Day the sun rose at 7:13 am over the Fells, but by Valentine’s Day it will be rising half an hour earlier, and setting 52 minutes later – affording more time to fit in those walks.

 

It’s a tough time for animals as they search for scarce food. But while snow is on the ground we can see much more clearly where an animal has passed by, although of course many tracks we see will probably be dog tracks. I did see clear hoof marks of deer near Long Pond in February 2004. As I walked along Skyline Trail checking on various patches of wintergreen plants in the thin cover of snow, the hoof marks seemed to be accompanying me. Possibly the deer were feeding on the same wintergreen plants. 

 

            Deer prints

              Deer footprints in icy snow at Molly’s Spring Road, 02-05-04

One does not expect to see flowers blooming in the Fells in February but surprise, surprise, there is one - an introduced single small bush of a vernal species of Witch Hazel can be found blooming by the parking lot mid-way along the west side of Fellsway East near fire gate 53.  I normally don't show non-native species but this one does bring some color into our February chill. The native Witch Hazel, common throughout the Fells, blooms in October and November.


                        Witch Hazel

                                          Vernal Wich Hazel    Fellsway East                     2 - 05 - 06