Winter is the coldest season out of the year. The other seasons are spring, summer and autumn.
The months that are included in this season are December, January and February in the Northern Hemisphere and June, July and August in the Southern Hemisphere. The countries that lie in the tropical regions do not have winter.
Here in the UK this season comes after autumn and before spring. The axis of the earth is tilted away from the sun at this time. If the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun then the Southern Hemisphere is nearer to the sun and vice versa. This gives the difference in seasons between the two.
The winter solstice is also known as midwinter and happens on around the 20th - 22nd of December in the North and around the 19th -21st in the Southern Hemisphere.
This is when the earth is tilting the furthest away from the sun. This happens twice during the year but only once in each hemisphere.
At this time there is a short amount of daylight and a longer time of darkness and is usually referred to as the shortest day.
The difference between the daylight and night has been working gradually towards the shortest day since the summer solstice.
This season usually has the largest amount of rainfall which can fall as snow with the colder temperatures.
Visiting Birds will migrate back to warmer countries to avoid the really cold weather and will return in the spring. Many birds stay in the UK permanently.
This will be the time to feed the native birds as the berries on the trees or shrubs may be few and far between.
I like to leave fallen apples on the ground and quite often see a blackbird or magpie pecking at them.
Animals may prepare for hibernation at this time of year and would have been feeding on and /or stashing food in readiness for a long wait. Some may grow an extra layer of fur which will then be lost in the spring.
Those animals and birds that live in the highest parts of the mountains may change colour from black or brown to white in order to still be camouflaged.
Plants that only grow for one year called annuals will not survive this season. Deciduous trees will shed their leaves and their roots will stay protected in the ground.
Perennial plants are those that grow each year and will lie dormant in the ground after all the above ground growth has died back.
Some seeds need this colder spell of weather in order to germinate and therefore complete their lifecycle.
This is also a time to plan the garden for the year ahead. If the weather is favourable maybe also prepare the vegetable plots for the following growing season.
Some plants will grow happily in the cold.
Many people love the colder weather as walks can be interesting and invigorating in fresh, cold and frosty days.
Winter could give time to plan what to plant or how to alter the garden in readiness or just give time in not going outside in order to concentrate on a hobby.
Each season is unique and each has its special beauty. Enjoy what each day brings and take in the sounds of the season.