It has been a while……………

Spring peak has arrived and Summer is just around the corner too, as the birds are singing, the bees are buzzing, the trees are leafing and this blog is…… well desperate for content if truth be told.

Fear not, anybody who knows me will realise that I am still active over on Facebook and I haven’t disappeared into the oblivion, take today’s Facebook Naturestimeline cover update below, for instance.

And then there is the original, unedited, uncropped version (beware, large upload) for all my fellow nature lovers to admire.


Song Thrush in the garden, sitting atop a wheelbarrow
Song Thrush in the garden, sitting atop a wheelbarrow


Isn’t he or she a beauty eh! My advice to you is, should one need a boost for their wellbeing, just listen intently to birds such as the one shown above, singing lustily away at dawn or dusk amongst a cacophony of other birdsound. Of course, there are times when they’re not over vocal as when raising their own family, it is best to be quieter then as noisy adults make for noisy children, you know. As for my own voice, it can often be heard over on LinkedIn. I  like to participate in various LinkedIn Group discussions over there or simply make worthwhile connections with fellow naturalists and conservation professionals as the more the merrier, the bigger the conservation movement. I am an occasional Google+ community user as is evidenced by the badges on this page as well, of course.

So finally, it is time for a request. Wherever you find yourself loitering about online, do please let us know. As you are my audience, therefore we should get connected and continue to fight our fight together, for the good of the Natural World.


More, next time.



naturestimeline Media/News/Publishing “A conservation professional sharing his personal perspective on breaking news stories from the world of nature alongside his own accounts from the field.”


Late 2012 winter stirrings

Just what has been happening in the world of phenology………………. could nature be stirring already?

It may only be the 1st January but just as last year, there was some unseasonal activity. Firstly, in the form of flowering Woodland Snowdrops and secondly, flowering Winter Aconite, blooming around the same dates as in 2012, see here and also here

Again, this time around, these sightings will closely correlate to the  local weather conditions. One being, a general lack of Air Frosts over recent days and perhaps, the incessant rainfall, as shown below.

December 2012 Air temperature highs and lows
December 2012 Air temperature highs and lows
December 2012 rainfall
December 2012 rainfall

Intriguingly, looking at their expected emergence dates, both events have now moved forward to the 11th January consequently. Woodland Snowdrop captured below, emerged on the 28th December.

Woodland Snowdrop (Galanthus_nivalis) in bloom
Woodland Snowdrop (Galanthus_nivalis) in bloom

With Winter Aconite emerging on the 30th December 2012.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis_hyemalis) in bloom
Winter Aconite (Eranthis_hyemalis) in bloom

As we head into 2013, I wonder what delights the year will hold.

*should you wish to join, I now have a dedicated Facebook page for, accessible via the following link –

naturestimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell
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Two more indicators of seasonal change

Dear readers, I have two further events as mentioned in yesterday’s post. They are as follows.


I first witnessed a truly wild Primrose (Primula vulgaris) in flower on 7th January but as on other occasions, I have seen other varieties elsewhere, even in November and December this year just gone. However, if taking my 7th January date as gospel, my list of dates range from the certain Novembers or Decembers through to 2nd March. The adjusted mean date for all 16 records being 23rd January.

Primrose (Primula Vulgaris) in flower

Primrose with its vernacular name of “spinkie” or more appropriately “prima rosa” meaning first flower/first rose is always a welcome sight early in the season. In the past there were a very common sight and were picked profusely. However, numbers in the wild have dwindled a little but remain in good numbers in the right habitats. Having a scattered distribution, Primroses are seen in ancient woodlands or adorning hedge banks, and are often planted in gardens as they can be widely purchased. They also have a habit of colonising motorway embankments. They are able to self-pollinate, however bees and certain Lepidoptera will also help in this process.

In addition, Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) was flowering locally for the first time on 7th January. The current range of dates extends from 21st December through to 13th March, this being based on 16 records. The adjusted mean date works out at 7th February, a full two weeks earlier than in Gilbert White’s day.

Lesser Celandine (Ranuncula ficaria) in flower

Gilbert White, the 18th Century naturalist quoted these delightful little yellow star-like flowers as blooming on average around 21st February. Like many other phenological indicators however, the current climate as per my figures above denotes otherwise. Lesser Celandines have possessed various names over the years. Known names have included “spring messengers” or “pilewort” and a Greek derivation of “chelidonia” meaning a “swallow” you can see the fondness associating with them. The swallow connection being especially bizarre as this migrant species arrives well after the Lesser Celandine has started flowering. Moreover, folk now believe this was misquoted as it were more likely associated with the unrelated Greater Celandine. Being another member of the Ranunculaceae – buttercup family, they are sometimes looked upon as weeds, which, can soon carpet many a meadow and field. Some farmers believe the plants to be responsible for poisoning cattle and sheep.

Kind Regards

Tony Powell