The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) is acting as scientific adviser to the UK wide Springwatch scheme, building on our many years research and expertise in phenology and climate impacts research. Springwatch is a joint venture between the BBC, the Woodland Trust and the UK Phenology Network, of which CEH is a partner.

People across the UK have been asked to record the arrival of spring in their neighbourhood, by noting the arrival dates of animals such as Bumblebees, Peacock butterflies, the 7-spot ladybird and the Swift.

Springwatch 2005 has been the largest such survey in the world.   There have been over 150000 records of sightings by members of the public.  These have included over 45000 bumblebee sightings and over 32000 ladybird sightings.

Lead CEH Scientist, Tim Sparks, comments “These records provide a fascinating picture of the development of spring in 2005.  Many early records were delayed by "winter" conditions which eventually arrived in mid-February and lasted one month!”

The results are already being used in scientific research.  Tim Sparks says “The records will prove to be immensely valuable in looking at the pattern of spring advance across the UK. They already identify that winter activity in many species is now very common, for example there were over 7000 records of active bumblebee (mainly Southern Britain, but including some Scottish examples), and over 1200 observations of frog spawn (mainly in the South West) by the end of January.

Springwatch is back on our on screens every Monday to Thursday between the 30th May and the 16th June.  Tune in to BBC2 at 8pm each night to watch.

Useful links:

Springwatch – BBC2  

CEH research on Phenology

UK Phenology Network

If you missed out on recording for Spring, don't worry, you can take part in the “Autumnwatch” survey coming soon. 

Phenology is the recording and study of periodical events such as flowering, breeding and migration in relation to climate and environmental factors. A popular hobby in Victorian days, it has recently shown its value as an indicator of climate change.