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Spring on Time:60% Greening

Various catch phrases are being used to describe this year's Spring. 'it's late by three weeks', 'ash is early', '

cuckoo is on time', 'swallows are early'.'s reading of its Nature's Calendar data shows that Spring is right on time and in some areas is rushing ahead. Aerial photographs support this by showing an estimated 60% greening of the countryside (Thursday April 17th). The cold easterly and north easterly winds have not slowed down bud burst. Bud burst responds more readily to sunlight than temperature and the recent cold winds have brought abundant sunlight with them. Early Spring events such as the first frog spawn, first tadpoles and first Horse Chestnut budding have been early by about a week. Some late Spring events are early by as much as two weeks (ash budding). Paul Whelan, who runs the Nature's Calendar on says 'its tempting to give a simplistic interpretation of Nature's Calendar data. On the surface it may appear that Spring is late by up to three weeks, but when the age of trees is taken into consideration on examining budburst records, its right on time, or slightly tripping ahead of itself south of a line from Galway city to Wicklow town'. has accepted both song and visual sightings of cuckoos over the past three weeks and these are typical for this time of the year. Nature's Calendar records coming from inside towns and cities show that Spring is early but 'this is a typical pattern' according to Paul Whelan, who goes on to point out that heat from buildings and street lighting will bring on budburst and bird nesting artificially early'. Whelan goes on to say that people are not only lighting buildings to draw attention to their aesthetic value at night, but are now extending this practise to vegetation, particularly trees. 'Lighting garden trees is intrusive to wildlife, forcing early budburst, while inhibiting animals such as squirrels and birds from using the trees at night for shelter and/or hunting. From nature's point of view, lighting a tree up at night is as effective as cutting it down'.

See Nature's Calendar data for Spring 2008 by clicking HERE or use the Playback map in the Nature's Calendar page.
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