Spring is already in the air: December photos

Martha Boalch, 09/01/2019

Thank you to all of our recorders. Whether you’ve submitted a photo this month or not, we really appreciate the time you’ve taken to tell us about the wildlife activity near you. This is my last month of providing maternity cover; I will miss seeing all of your photos each month. Here’s my top pick of your pics from the mild December we’ve had.

Bare trees

bare ash tree

Bare ash tree, Dennis De Cala

bare oak

Bare pedunculate oak, Marilyn Hicks

bare oak

Bare pedunculate oak, Susie Dickinson

These pictures really caught my eye – partly for the lovely view of the branches when the tree is bare but also because these people are so lucky to have such beautiful trees right in their gardens. This must make recording for Nature’s Calendar very convenient!

Redwing arrivals


Redwing, Janet Cole


Redwing, Rohit Bangay

It’s so hard to capture a good bird photo, so I was really pleased to see these shots of redwing first sightings. Most new arrivals will have now landed on our shores, if you see redwing regularly in your area you can make a note every time you see them. Once they leave in spring you can let us know the last date you recorded them. Find out more about redwings in my blog.

Hazel catkins opening

hazel catkins

Catkins in flower, Dave Helliar

hazel flowers

Catkins in flower, Tony Beyga

Signs of spring are starting to come in now. The hazel catkins are beginning to open and release their pollen; these photos capture the wonderful yellow-green shade that they show. You can find out more about hazel catkins in my recent blog.

Snowdrops flowering


Maria McGuigan Small


A carpet of snowdrops, Haydyn Wheeler


Snowdrops, Sandy Walker

Our first snowdrop was at the end of November last year. We’ve had more sightings of these spring blooms over December. If you are able to take a photo it’s very useful to have a close up of the green pattern on the petals as this helps confirm that it is indeed a native snowdrop. See our snowdrop page for more identification tips.

A unusual Christmas visitor…

small tortoiseshell

Small tortoiseshell, Melanie Evans-Jenkins

This small tortoiseshell was spotted in Wales on Christmas Day and the recorder provided this comment: “Fresh-looking adult small tortoiseshell butterfly flew into my kitchen from the garden on Christmas day. It appeared newly emerged, with fresh vibrant colours, rather than ragged and a bit faded like the adults hibernating inside the shed.”

This is fairly unusual as we would expect the majority of first active sightings to occur from March to April when the overwintering adults emerge. There’s often a second surge of sightings after May when the offspring of these first adults take to the wing.

It’s great that we can get instant insight into the impacts of weather on wildlife across the country – so thank you for uploading your records so promptly.

When will spring be this year?

Will we have an icy February like 2018 or will the mild weather continue? Start looking out for elder budburst and lesser celandine flowers to give us clues about spring in your neighbourhood. Tell your friends and family about us so we get an even better understanding of the impacts of climate change.

Join thousands of other people and let us know what's happening to wildlife near you.

Join thousands of other people and let us know what's happening to wildlife near you.

Have you seen your first butterfly or swallow of the spring? Is it a good year for wild autumn fruits? Take part in Nature's Calendar and help scientists to monitor the effects of climate change on wildlife.

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