My latest Phenology news and the cold weather incoming

As nature’s circadian rhythms seem somewhat uncoordinated, here was I, hoping for colder weather come February. Well, some normality at last appears to be on its way, but first, some phenology.
  • My latest phenological event was yesterday, 27th January, in the form of a First heard drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker – Dendrocopos major. This event matches closely to the mean date of 28th January, based on 12 individual records.
Great Spotted Woodpecker, courtesy of BWPi
Great Spotted Woodpecker, courtesy of BWPi

However, alongside this, there have been other odd sightings. From various sources, I have heard of early/late Barn Swallows – Hirundo rustica, Honeybees on the wing and nesting Eurasian Blackbirds – Turdus merula to name but some. So, what of the weather hinted at earlier? To find out the latest, click on the attached link below.

Cold weather brings risk of snow to the UK.

Kind Regards

Tony Powell

8 thoughts on “My latest Phenology news and the cold weather incoming

Add yours

  1. Have also heard a Greater Spotted Woodpecker drumming already, about 5 days ago. We get lots of them near us, as well as green ones. But it’s snowing now, so he’s given up I think!

    1. They won’t give up Cathy as like a lot of my phenological events, once the first sighting has been noted, invariably the trend continues. For example, Snowdrops, Winter Aconite and lets say Daffodils are being seen in numbers in the right spots. The Blackbirds are singing every morning without fail now and this will continue. As for drumming woodpeckers, I would expect them to lessen the output on the stormiest days but the snow is unlikely to stop them. Nature can be so resilient and because of this, the incoming cold will not be detrimental for all things. However, it also nature’s way for there to be some losers, as well as winners.

      Best Wishes and please keep us updated.

      Tony Powell

  2. Hello Tony,

    I watched a GSW drumming in Cambridge a couple of weeks ago. I’ve also had a pair of great tits collecting moss from my garden wall. I hope any cold snap we may have doesn’t wreak havoc as it did with last years butterflies.

    My friend told me today he had a blackcap in his garden this week, which I would consider a phenological anomaly, but he told me they have recently changed their migration patterns so as our summer resident blackcaps head off to Africa, those from eastern Europe now migrate and overwinter here. Climate change causing phenological perturbations? What do you reckon?


    1. Hi Finn,

      Firstly, another wonderful post from your good self and I have recently added your blog on my “Blogs to Follow” link. However, I find your analysis of the Butterfly year of 2011 rather puzzling. I am sure I read it was a good year for Butterflies in general, ok with exceptions as that is always the case. The warm spring benefitted many creatures, excepting of note, Badgers, whom suffer from a lack of earthworms coming to the surface. Mind you, if we are talking longer-term which we should be in reality, the undeniable trend for the once common Butterfly species is that they are now much rarer. In spite of this though, according to sources I have read, certain Fritillaries and Blues are having a revival. It is not all bad news out there but at a local level, it can most definitely paint a different picture. Likewise, with the weather, some prone places should expect a lot of snow and severe cold as we head into February and who knows, beyond there and into spring. Our climate can be cruel but nature is very resilient, however I wish humankind would do much more to help it out.

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

      ps! The latest research suggests the wintering Blackcaps come from the Benelux countries.

  3. Hello Tony,

    That’s really interesting about the butterflies, I reckon there must have been regional successes and failures and Histon was the fulcrum for a spectacular failure… at least the bit that I explore. But I’m really pleased that some blues and fritillaries are doing OK. Common blues were almost absent here last year after a bumper year in 2010, and conversely holly blues were OK as they emerge early in the year when the weather was favourable.

    Your update on blackcap migration is really interesting too. I wonder how much we really know about what our birds are actually up to. I suspect alot of what we thought we know is by know means cast in stone. Lots more research to be done!

    I’m with you on humans living up to their responsibilities. To that end I ordered my solar panels this week in order to reduce my carbon footprint a little further. I may post on that when they’re installed and I can see how they’re working

    Best wishes


    PS Thanks for adding ‘thenaturephile’ to your ‘Blogs to follow’ links

    1. No problem, as a birder who is into his migration studies, I could not recommend a book more highly, than Ian Newton’s Bird Migration in the New Naturalists series.

      As for regional differences, I think that is what fuels my passion to explore the phenological events in further depth too.

      I may soon wish to use some of your pictures as discussed previously if you don’t mind?

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

  4. Hi Tony,
    this is a great site! It’s wonderful to see the comings and goings of nature recorded in such a passionate and informed way and made available for others to relate to.

    My mum lives just outside Edinburgh and has mentioned seeing a female GSW in her garden in the last ten days or so. They’re a very special visitor.

    Thanks for dropping by my site too!


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