Groundhog Day. If Ms. G, the official state groundhog of Massachusetts, fails to see her shadow, according to nature lore, the wintry weather will soon subside. Should a day of sunshine reveal the groundhog’s shadow, the forecast is six more weeks of cold inclement conditions.
Search for Mercury low in the eastern sky during the dark hours just before dawn.
The planet is most visible now because it’s at its highest point above the horizon.
Look for various tracks on snowy fields and in woodlands—prints you may find include those of coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and fishers.
Full moon. The Ice Moon (Celtic).
Among the earliest of spring migrants, killdeer arrive as early as late February in exceptionally warm years. Listen for their killdee killdee call in fields and pastures, and on playgrounds, lawns, unpaved driveways, beach dunes, and other open areas.
Maple sap begins running given the proper weather conditions; an alternating sequence of short warming trends and cold spells is best for sap flow.
Leap day. Since it takes the earth 365 days, 5 hours, and 48 minutes to circle round the sun, a Leap Year with one “extra day” every four years is an adjustment that keeps our calendar in synchrony with the planetary cycle.
Excerpt taken from Mass Audubon's Outdoor Almanac.
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