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Whitelee windfarm

What to see and when

Find out the best times of year to visit Whitelee according to the wildlife you want to see.

caterpillar found at Whitelee

What's Nature's Calendar/Phenology?

The study of nature's calendar, also known as phenology, literally involves the recording of recurring events in nature. For example, when the first Bluebell is seen or when the first Swallow returns. This information can then be compiled over years of recording and provide valuable information on important events in nature that occur at the local level.

Historically phenology seems to have begun in Japan and China where the blooming of the Cherry and Peach trees for important festivals has been recorded as far back as the eighth century. In the UK, the first person to really start phenology recording was Robert Marsham in 1736.

What use is it?

At its most basic level, recording the timing of events in nature can aid visitors coming to the site, to know when to come to see a certain plant or bird returning for example, but phenology can also provide valuable information on important events in natures calendar. These events or markers can then be used to look for changes or patterns, thus helping to shape future management. For example: delaying certain management practices until all the migratory birds have left because we know through recording that they stay longer than the guide books might suggest (possibly caused by climate change).

Why record at Whitelee?

The sheer size of Whitelee means that it's impossible to be on the lookout for the changes of natures calendar throughout the site all year round. For this reason the rangers are happy to get help from members of the public, reporting what they see to the countryside rangers. The information will help to build up a much more accurate picture of what's going on around the windfarm at different times of the year.

How to get involved

Please download and read the recording sheet for the species we would like you to look out for when in the windfarm. Simply record what you see, when and where on the sheet and either drop it into the ranger cabin or visitor centre or email your records to the rangers at

Whitelee database

The Whitelee countryside rangers have been developing a phenology database since they started that can be used by visitors to time visits to coincide with the best times to see certain species. The database will expand over time and can then be used for monitoring for changes in event timings, for example changes in the migration of Wheatears or the first opening of the fluffy seed heads of cotton grasses. Unfortunately work commitments mean that the countryside rangers do not always get to see the first flowers opening for example which is why they would love you to aid with this work.

The Whitelee phenology list can downloaded here word icon Whitelee Phenology List [17kb]

If you would like to contribute to the Whitelee phenology database then please download the recording sheet and get involved.

For more information on Nature's Calendar data for the whole of the UK, the woodland trust have produced the following website:

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