View from the Rear Window - February 2023

"There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer"    Gertrude Jekyll

February 2023 was a weird month with several periods of hot and cold and no rain to speak of. There were snowdrops, hellebores, and daffodils to admire, the sweet scent of the sarcococca bush, and the first butterfly of the year. Views from the rear window are shown below: February 2 (Photo 1), February 8 (Photo 2) and February 24 (Photo 3). We missed the end of the month because of our snowdrop tour: see here, here, here and here.

Photo 1: Back Garden Scene in February (2/2/23)

Photo 2: Frosty Back Garden Scene in February (8/2/23)

Photo 3: Back Garden Scene in February (24/2/23)

I have put February's daily photos (usually taken around 10 am) into this short timelapse video (Video 1). For January's photos, I used the classic video editor supplied free with the Photo App in Windows 10. Having just got the hang of that, we upgraded to Windows 11 and lost the aforementioned video editor (replaced by Clipchamp). I know I could download the original Windows 10 video editor from the Microsoft Store but that would mean remembering my Microsoft Account (MSA) login details; I cannot remember them and trying to recover my account details from Microsoft has so far proven to be both painful and unsuccessful. I am not well-pleased with Microsoft and avoid using Windows whenever I can. Fortunately, ClipChamp is also available on Chromebooks (ChromeOS) so I may never have to bother with Windows again.

Video 1: Timelapse Video of Daily Rear Garden Photos for February 2023 

Summary of Weather Parameters for February 2023

Cooling and Heating Degree Days have been added to the list. Sunshine hours are estimated from average daily solar radiation values measured by the Davis weather station. A list of average and total weather parameters is given in Table 1.

Of particular note is the very low rainfall figure along with the high number of dry days - even when it did rain there was very little precipitation. The dominance of high-pressure conditions over the UK during February ensured low rain and good levels of sunshine which meant slightly above-average temperatures overall.

Table 1: Average/Total Weather Parameters for February 2023

February 2023

Weather Parameter



Average Monthly Temperature 

7 oC

Maximum Monthly Temperature

17 oC


Minimum Monthly Temperature

-4 oC

6th, 7th & 8th

Number of Air Frost Days


Number of Hot Days (> 25 oC)


Monthly Precipitation

2.4 mm

Greatest 24 h Precipitation

1.0 mm

21st - 22nd

Number of Dry Days


Monthly Sunshine Hours (estimated)


Average Wind Speed

3 km/h

Highest Wind Speed

48 km/h


Maximum Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

1048.1 hPa


Minimum Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

1009.0 hPa


Average Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

1028.2 hPa

Heating Degree Days


Cooling Degree Days


Daily minimum and maximum temperatures for February are shown in Figure 1. The warm spell at the end of January continued into February. There was a change on the 5th to sub-zero overnight temperatures until the 10th followed by 10 days of relative warmth before colder weather set at the end of the month (it felt colder still due to a chilling northerly wind).

Figure 1: Daily Minimum & Maximum Temperatures (February 2023)

Figure 2 presents the daily rainfall and sunshine values. Little or no rainfall for the first three weeks and even the rain that came at the end of the month was only 2 mm (0.08 inches). Sunshine was scarce at the beginning of the month (compensated for by being unseasonably warm) but plentiful for most of the other days.

Figure 2: Daily Rainfall and Sunshine (Solar Radiation) for February 2023

Figure 3: summarises some temperature variables for February covering the years 2020 to 2023. Average temperatures have been consistent for the last four years (7 ℃ + 1 ℃) though the maximums have been noticeably higher in the two most recent years (2022 and 2023). February is still a winter month, however, so sub-zero temperatures and frosts are still a thing even if snow is a rare event in Hereford. The dominant wind direction in 2021 and 2023 was northerly which is why these years had the highest number of frost days and lowest minimum temperatures. By contrast, the February winds of 2020 and 2022 were mainly from a southerly direction which helped to keep temperatures above freezing. 
Figure 3: Comparison of Temperature Data for the Last Four Februarys (2020 - 2023)

Rain, wind, and sunshine data for the last four Februarys (2020 to 2023) are displayed in Figure 4. The most striking feature is the severe lack of February rain this year. In fact, this is the lowest rainfall, by some distance, for any month since I began measuring rainfall using the Davis Weather Station (40 months ago). July 2022 was the driest July in England since 1935 yet, here in Hereford, there was three times more rainfall in July 2022 than in February 2023.
Figure 4: Comparison of Rain, Wind and Sunshine Data for the Last Four Februarys (2020 - 2023) 

The Met Office UK report for February 2023 concluded it was "milder and drier than average, with high pressure influencing the weather for much of the time." It was the UK's driest February since 1993.

It was also England's driest February since 1993 and especially dry in Herefordshire confirming the result from my Davis Weather Station.
Figure 5: February Rainfall (UK Met Office)

It was the joint fifth warmest February on record for the UK and especially warm 'oop north'. Herefordshire, marked in blue (Figure 6), was slightly warmer than the 1991-2020 average.
Figure 6: Mean Temperatures (February 2023)

The UK Met Office also reported average sunshine for England and Wales (Figure 7). Herefordshire sunshine hours were close to the average - in agreement with the results from my Davis Weather Station (Figure 4).

Figure 7: UK Sunshine Hours in February 2023

Jobs in the Garden

February was another quiet month in the garden.
  • the seed potatoes arrived and have been left in a cool & light position to chit.

Photo 4: Chitting Potatoes (Premier)
  • continued tidying up the garden, identifying plants lost to the frosts, visiting local plant nurseries
  • adding hot water bottles to the hot composter during cold (frosty) spells
Flora and Fauna

It has been fairly quiet bird-wise; I think the warm, for this time of year, weather has enticed the birds to forage further afield. At any one time, we have seen:
  • 3 x blackbirds
  • 3 x blue tits (nest-building behaviour observed)
Photo 5: Blue Tit on Nut Feeder 
  • 2 x crows
  • 1 x dunnock
  • 2 x great tits
  • 8 x sparrows
Photo 6: Exit Stage Left - Sparrows on Bird Feeder
  • 1 x magpie
  • 2x robins
Photo 7: Robin just taking off

  • 3 x wood pigeons
  • 1 x wren
The first butterfly (Red Admiral) of the year was seen on 14th February.

Photo 8: Red Admiral spotted on 14/2/23, photographed on 19/2/23

And finally, a few photos of the garden in February

Photo 9: Snowdrop

Photo 10: Hellebore (Lenten or Christmas Rose)

Photo 11: Kojo-No-Mai Flowering Cherry (6" tall)

Photo 12: Croci or Crocuses

Photo 13: Daffodil


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