Sweden’s most popular sport right now: Spring Spotting

Spring sign #1: Yellow crocuses in a sea of brown and grey. Photo: Sara Jeswani.

I’m on my way to work when I see a man and his little son suddenly crouching down in front of a heap of brown, dead leaves. Their heads move together, studying something very closely. My curiosity is awaken. What can be so interesting among a bunch of old leaves?
As I get closer, it’s obvious. Bright yellow crocuses glow beneath the brown and grey.

Spring sign #2: Willow buds. Photo: Sara Jeswani.

Now, this isn’t just any little yellow flower. This is a Sign of Spring, which in Sweden is something almost sacred.
My blog colleague Kate is in good company when she starts looking for spring signs , since it’s actually something of a folk sport.
This time of the year everyone does it: Children, adults, farmers and city dwellers, newspapers (article in Swedish) and television programs.

There’s even a Phenology Network (Phenelogy, for anyone who hasn’t heard the word before, means “the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate.”)

Spring sign #3: Ice melting, little by little. Photo: Sara Jeswani.

This network is founded by universities, museums and the Swedish Meteorological Institute SMHI, and at their web site (in Swedish), people are invited to report their latest spring findings. You can even register as an official Phenology Observer and help collecting information about when the lilac buds will burst, when it’s time for the blueberries and when the leaves will fall from the ash-tree.

This in’t just insteresting for those of us who can’t wait for spring to arrive for real. It’s also an excellent source of data for scientists studying the effects of climate change. For example, we know that both the bird cherry and the lilac blossom about a week earlier in the province of Uppland than they used to do 50 years ago.

This year spring has come unusually early. At the website of SMHI there’s a map showing how far north spring has reached right now. Watch it here. If you press the button saying “Sekvens” it will play the last weeks development.
But perhaps you need to live for while in Sweden to fully understand the drama of that sequence…

Spring sign #4: Nursery school groups, everywhere. Photo: Sara Jeswani.

Other interesting articles in Swedish media (in Swedish, but can be autotranslated here):
Miljöaktuellt: Swedish research project outlines 7 ways to save Earth
Skånskan: They cycle from Sweden to India

  • Monica-USA

    Yes my Tulips and Daffodils and Snowdrops are all out now!! I am looking forward to when it is time to go Blackberry picking again!!

  • Anonymous

    Our tulips are coming up of the ground, but it seems a long while before there will be any flowers. Are your tulips blossoming already? And yes, blackberries… looking forward to that too.

  • Monica-USA

    No the Tulips have not bloomed yet but they are still coming up. We are having such crazy weather we go from snow, hail and wind and rain to sunshine!!! Keep thinking Blackberries that will get you through til Summer!!!

  • http://www.internationalpatentservice.com/patentsearch.html USPTO Patent Search

    Open days in April for the photographers, who fell in love with aviation, and photo contests conducted among the spotting activities are timed to the Day of Astronautics anniversary – 50 years from the day of the first cosmic travel of Yuri Gagarin. For the first time such young photographers as 12 year old teenagers have become participants of the event.