Well it's feeling almost spring-like here in York, thank goodness, and according to the University weather station it is 9 degrees today. The primroses in an old pot in my yard have got new leaves and I'm hoping for the first flowers soon. Yesterday I took some students out to Wakefield and the buds on the trees were definietely swelling.
All this got me thinking about phenology. Now, phenology is the study of the timings of natural phenomena, for example, the first fully opened oak leaf, first sighting of a butterfly, first leaf dropping off a particular species of tree etc. People have been recording such phenomena for centuries in the UK, and looking back over these records we can see any long-term trends that may be occuring. If you'd like to take part in this kind of recording, then you can do so at the fabulous nature's calendar website, which is run by the Woodland Trust. The website allows you to track the "movement" of spring up the UK and is well worth a visit!
Here's a picture of a common blue butterfly taken by Kevin Hicks at Upton Country Park in Wakefield last spring- just to brighten this blog post up!