People collect all sorts. For me, it’s words. So when I heard a report this morning about ‘phenological’ events, I was interested straightaway. But before all that, here are today’s sightings…

Turns out that, even though I didn’t know the word ‘phenology’, I’ve been aware of it my whole life and I bet you have too. It’s the study of the timing of natural events – when we see the first oystercatcher, the first snowdrop, the first bumblebee – that kind of thing.

People into nature notice those things and the timings and, well, how that changes over the years. So, all of us have noticed the warmer-than-usual temperatures over the last few days and how that’s driven forward many of those early spring events.

The birds and other creatures of the Dearne Valley have noticed it too of course and today Old Moor was full of birdsong. In fact, the last few days, the season seems to be bounding forwards, never mind springing!

One of the seven brambling seen in the Tree Sparrow Farm today

Not sure it’s what you think of as ‘song’, but there were two bitterns calling in the reedbeds today. A male Cetti’s warbler could be heard throughout the day and a pair of great crested grebe took up residence on the pools there.

In the Tree Sparrow Farm, the lesser redpoll was joined by at first two and then five more brambling!

A black-tailed godwit was on the Field Pool and marsh harrier, water rail and a single whooper swan could be seen, among other things, at Wath Ings.

A whooper at Old Moor from earlier in the year

An early spring like this one is not without risks, especially if the weather turns colder. But for tomorrow at least, the sun is forecast to shine again with temperatures around 17°C! Just perfect to look out for that next phenological event – first Med. gull ... or sand martin maybe?

Until next time.

  • Interesting. Some things are certainly ‘forward’ this year. I gather that warmth can be a trigger as, also, can length of daylight (which is not so weather dependent.). A complex issue. The worry is that we get a cold shock that affects the early birds. I noticed this week that the buds on our clematis montana, which is an early flowerer, had been hit by the sharp night frost of late. 

    Nice to see a brambling invasion today. :)