Winter’s passing: the season begins…

Christine Tansey's picture

Yesterday morning the sun made a welcome appearance, and I took the chance to visit Roslin Glen to see if spring was making itself known. The glen was looking beautiful, and although the muddy paths were still frozen, there was lots of new growth to be seen since my last visit in mid-January.


Very sadly, there was also some damage to one of the trees I track, the upper portion of its trunk had blown off during one of the recent storms. It wasn’t just my tree that was affected, as I noticed many fallen branches around the woods, in one place blocking a major path. A small dead tree where I found a Blackbird nest last spring had also been flattened by the wind.

I made my first phenology observations of the season on this visit, and although there was no sign of budburst on my Oak or Birch trees,  Bluebell, Wood sorrel and Ramsons leaves were pushing their way through the leaf litter. There were lots of other spring events to be seen, including Snowdrops in flower, the first leaves of Elder and unfrozen Hazel catkins!


We’ve seen lots of early spring signs pop up on Twitter and Nature’s Calendar recently, and so we’d recommend getting out and visiting your Track a Tree wood in the next couple of weeks if you can. If you’re going to take part for the first time this year, you might be interested in the excellent video guide our friends at Eco Sapien have put together about becoming a Track a Tree recorder. They will be doing more video blogs about their monitoring this spring, so keep your eye out for updates from them.

I’m busy analysing the first 3 years of Track a Tree data at the moment, and will be making visits to Roslin Glen during breaks from writing my thesis. However, I’ll still be blogging here as the season progresses, and hopefully will have some interesting findings to report back to you soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy getting out to record spring in the woods.


This is slightly tangential but I was invited to give a talk about my Track-a-tree activities to the 'Friends of Hampden Park' in Eastbourne. Ten people in a cafe. It was fun and they were interested. They might even do some recording but that's a big if, I think. I will keep in touch with the group. I was inspired to mention this after I was interviewed in Cardiff by Dr Ria Dunkley, for her research. Apparently Track-a-Tree has struggled to recruit/interest recorders in Wales.

Christine Tansey's picture

Hi Andrew 

Really delighted to hear that you gave a talk about your Track a Tree recording - so glad you've enjoyed it, and possibly inspired others to take part! Wales has indeed been one of our less-well recorded areas, especially for its size, but hopefully as we make more links with different groups we will recruit a few more folk throughout Wales. Hope you enjoyed speaking with Dr Dunkley, we're looking forward to seeing the outcome of her work in due course.

Thanks again for your participation.


Hello Christine

I couldn't locate your own email address.  I tracked a lovely pendunculate oak by Loch Lomond last year and plan to do so again this year.  Do I need to re-register? Made a visit last week - still sleeping (tree, not me)!

Was in contact with Jill D at Woodland Trust Perth re another matter and I passed on to her the address of my blog on which I posted the story of my John Muir Award on the topic of seasonal change. Posts cover April to October and I followed specific plants throughout the time, including the oak even though track a tree time had ended.  She suggested you might be interested in the blog, it is at

I was delighted to achieve the conserver award for my project; the blog was part of the sharing that you do for JMA.


Good wishes from Maggie 

Christine Tansey's picture

Hi  Maggie,

Thanks for your comment - I am delighted to hear you are planning to continue recording this year. There is no need to re-register, all you need to do is log-in to the site using your details from last year. If you have any problems logging in, let us know by emailing and we will assign you a temporary password.

Jill from the WT has been in touch with me about your blog, and it is great to hear how your Track a Tree recording contributed to your John Muir award. Congratulations on the Conserver Award! If you are happy for us to put a link on our website to your blog, let me know and I will add it to our recorder contributions section.

Many thanks for being part of Track a Tree,