Tag Archives: naturestimeline

A naturestimeline Facebook page production – Snail pictures!

As stated, some photographic captures from my bird research activities from recent years. Should I receive welcoming feedback, more images will follow over the coming weeks and months.

Please click of the link below to see the relevant imagery and commentary on this and past debates.





I’m not the only one

I am glad I am not the only one.

The following reblog speaks of the role of Citizen Science from the viewpoint of a Nature’s Calendar Researcher.

Citizen science data: addressing important questions on the future of UK woods and trees.

Should anybody be interested in my records, they are accessible via the link shown below.


naturestimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell
on Google+

Sort your life out……………………………………

Naturestimeline is back, I hear you gasp. Cue rapturous applause…………………………..

Where has our venerable host been and why were there no updates! Well, sometimes life’s chores tend to overwhelm but hell; I am not to be defeated by what seems a never-ending list of tasks. Besides, I have a responsibility, as a blogger to inform and educate (at least to my knowledge) so here is a brief rundown of what I meant by my “Sort your life out” comment.

As a relative newbie to the Conservation/Ecology sector, like most of us, I must devote time to career expansion. Much reading, studying and attending courses, webinars and the like has taken place during this time. For example, I attended a Dragonfly workshop back in early August. Additionally, I have met up with or have been networking with important work colleagues. As a requirement to add skills to my CV, I am also currently undertaking a Project Management course and have other ventures in planning. Aside from this however, there were occasions when nature did acquire my full attention. To this end, I will now enlighten you with a select few natural events.

Today has seen most of the additional Phenological events logged onto My Natural Events Calendar. As usual, you can best access this via the Agenda option and from there you can view past dates for any action missed, since my last post.

Ten weeks can be a long time for the natural world and since my hiatus; many phenological events have taken place locally and non-locally. For example, many young birds have been flocking to my busy feeders and for the first time, I have added an immature Carrion Crow to the records, not bad for a semi-suburban locality. Alongside this, during this time, various finches, tits, a Great-Spotted Woodpecker, daws and corvids had been raiding the feeders and fat balls with a summering Blackcap on the latter mentioned. Only in recent weeks, has this feeding frenzy decreased and I suspect the reason for this is simply moulting activity. Who says we shouldn’t feed the birds all year round? In fact, many of the youngsters were finding the bird table and its feeders, useful sheltering positions during the wetter periods.

Looking back

On the 10th June, it was most pleasing to witness a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the garden during a sunnier interlude. By the 30th June, the Buddleia was noted in bloom, which it still is to this day.

July continued the overall weather pattern (often cool and wet) of the previous few but briefly relented, come the final week. It was during this period, in which I most probably saw my final Common Swift of the season. The 27th July date for this event being significantly earlier than the normal date of 14th August, albeit based on a limited sample size. The first harvesting locally and predictably a couple of Thunder days during July were to be expected. Also on a local level, I witnessed the first Ringlet on the 13th July, Marbled White and Meadow Brown on the 19th July and a first Gatekeeper butterfly on the 24th July. Only the Meadow Brown butterfly showed up as being well behind schedule with the rest within a week or so of their usual emergence dates. Birds of Prey were well to the fore over my neighbourhood with a gathering of seven thermalling Common Buzzards on one special day.

August has so far proved to be a very busy period for personal reasons, whilst it has been a quiet month phenology wise. Only the Thunder days of 15th August and 25th August being especially noteworthy. Both dates occurring pretty close to their usual positions in the calendar year.

*It seems that tomorrow also marks a happy anniversary for a certain blogging adventure

Cheers, I’ll drink to that.

A cross posting to my other blog!

Sorry people but for those interested, I have a new blog up and running called UKbirdingtimeline, which can be accessed from here or via the home page. This blog will run in conjunction with naturestimeline.

I would just like to bring to your attention, the latest posting from over there.

Heightened garden bird feeding activity due to the weather?

Best Wishes

Tony Powell

Shock horror, a cool showery April for a change


No, you did not imagine it, it has been miserable for far too long so I haven’t ventured out much. This is partly the reason for my lack of posts, alongside a busier working life. More news to come, honest!

Tony Powell

Originally posted on Met Office News Blog:

These are early figures covering 1 – 25 of April and not full month statistics, so are therefore very likely to change. Especially regarding ranking. Full month figures will not be available until provisionally Wednesday 2 May.

Figures for 1 - 25 April show the month so far has seen well above average rainfall across the UK, with 97 mm of rain recorded – this is 139% of the long-term monthly average (1971-2000). The wettest April in the records dating back to 1910 was 2000 which saw 120.3 mm of rain.

Currently the month is the 9th wettest April for the UK in the records. However, it’s not possible to say where the month will end up in the records until all the figures are in at the end of the month – especially as we are expecting heavy rain on Sunday.

Some areas have seen significant rainfall amounts with some parts of the…

View original 257 more words

Mankind pressing the self destruct button once again

How does the following video affect you emotionally?

The above is in relation to a post entitled “the last days of wildcat falls” courtesy of Rebecca in the woods. Rebecca is from across the pond but this matters not! This kind of destruction is happening on a global scale, along with it, the biodiversity, crucial to man’s existence is lost forever. These ecosystems are non-transferrable and you cannot simply replicate them in another place. On this very topic, the great David Attenborough once stated, “If we continue to damage our ecosystems we damage ourselves”. Sadly, most decisions appear to revolve around making a quick buck at the expense of common sense.

With climate change being a background focus to my blog, why does man insist on adding to the woes and insists on pressing our self-destruct button.

Let me ask you this. What irks you when it comes to caring for our ecosystems, be it on a local, national or even global level? Are some authorities who insist on ignoring common sense solutions out of our reach on a personal level? 

I am by no means an activist but believe me, I am deeply passionate about our environment. The next post will be return to a much cheerier topic, Phenology.

Best Wishes

Tony Powell

Another sign of seasonal shifting?

I, for one would not argue against this latest evidence. See my Natural Events Calendar link for a personal slant from last year.  It is pure conjecture as to whether there is a definite trend but these events are thought provoking, to say the least.

Butterflies move faster than birds in response to climate change

Kind Regards

Tony Powell

And now the Snowdrops

According to my records, I have noted the first emergence of Woodland Snowdrops on 16 occasions. This year’s flowering, as with Winter Aconite has been witnessed on the earliest date on record, being the 30th December. The full range of dates from 30th December right through to 20th January. Another 2011 oddity in that Woodland Snowdrops was noted flowering twice in one year.

Snowdrops Greyfriars Dunwich 220211 7346

The above picture courtesy of Finn Holding’s Flickr site.

Woodland Snowdrop – Galanthus nivalis

Known by its various vernacular names such as Candlemas Bells, Snow Piercers and Dingle-dangle to name a few, the Woodland Snowdrop is a joy to see when it first emerges. The Woodland Snowdrop’s Greek name Galanthus comes from the word “milk flower” and it is the British version is one of a genus of at least 20 members. Some members of the genus do actually bloom in summer or autumn despite the name but thankfully, that appears not to be an issue with Galanthus nivalis. The Woodland Snowdrop has leaf tips especially hardened for breaking through frozen ground. Having similar traits to Winter Aconite both can be blooming for the first time on the exact same date. However, the Woodland Snowdrop tends to bloom for longer than the Winter Aconite and is well-known as being a winter and spring survivor. I have personal records of the Woodland Snowdrop still being in bloom in early to mid April.

Its history links the flower to various places of monastic origin and it has a tendency to thrive on sites such as long since destroyed cottage ruins. There are many gardens in the United Kingdom where people can go to see vast carpets of these wondrous plants and they open up their grounds especially for this purpose.

Kind Regards

Tony Powell

Hello 2012 and here comes the climate change indicators

The year 2012 is upon us and the UK’s climate is continuing with its bizarre approach. Today, the 3rd January has seen 54mph gusts at my sheltered location and winds in excess of 100mph in other parts. Christmas Day and New Years Eve and New Years Day all possessed temperatures 3 to 4c above normal.

So, what of this new era, how is nature coping with the upheaval?

One thing for sure, the phenological indicators are keeping me on my toes.

Firstly, Winter Aconite (illustrated below) has bloomed in my garden at its earliest date on record, the 27th December. The range, being represented by 12 personal records is from 27th December right through to 24th January. 

 Winter Aconite -Eranthis hyemalis.

Known as choirboys in Suffolk and more commonly as wolfs bane, Winter Aconite is a member of the Buttercup family. It is a tough plant, being tolerant of frost, snow and ice. The harshest winters bring about the best show of this beautiful flower. It will bloom all the way into March in most years. Although a popular ornamental plant, it is known to be poisonous. Occasionally planted alongside Snowdrops and other early bloomers, they are a joy to behold on a crisp sunny winters day. I know of a wonderful display under a canopy of deciduous trees near Andover in Hampshire, England. I will be visiting there in a couple of week’s time to see how the Aconites are progressing.

More phenology will be forthcoming, people.

Kind Regards

Tony Powell

I’m obsessed

It must be said, I am obsessed with participating in Citizen Science. This might take the form of listing garden birds, a local patch list or trips farther afield. Maybe, it’s the daily transfer of weather records from my diaries, except this is not necessary any longer, due to owning an AWS (automatic weather station). Perhaps, as in today’s instance it’s keeping track of Phenological indicators and yes, in spite of it being November, there can be some events at this time of season. I take immense pleasure from “doing my bit” and it can feel like one’s been “warped back into time” when browsing over those personal snippets of information. Today, as in many recent weeks, I’ve been doing just that and it must be a most valuable way of spending my quiet unemployed time. You can also learn so much from the actual interpretation of your data, the deeper you delve.

Right, to put an end to my current rambling, I have up to today (11th November) , entered approximately 54 Phenology events onto Google Calendar and these can seen in My natural events calendar on this blog. This enables me and others, should they wish, to track and compare progress of the seasons in further intimate detail. After all, the purpose of this blog is just this.

  • I will endeavour to produce a timeline of natural events for the United Kingdom like no other

I will attempt to elaborate on each of the events, as they unfold, over the course of the climatic season. Hopefully then it will be possible to then explain their reasoning’s for happening on a given date. Learning from this, we may be able to ask why the phenological event differs from others within the dataset. How they may or may not then be used to forecast forthcoming weather etc.

Science in this subject is still in its relative infancy and this is precisely why I feel the need to explore my own records.

Obsessed Regards

Mr “Anorak” Tony Powell