227km, 44 sites and 334 nestboxes – fieldwork begins!

Spring is just around the corner, the vans are packed, we are ready to kick off another field season along the Phenoweb transect. We will visit sites every two days through the spring, recording various phenological and fitness measures. The project was set-up to explain spatiotemporal variation in blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) breeding phenology and fitness and it provides the empirical backbone to this proposal.

The transect stretches 227km from Edinburgh (55.98°N) to Dornoch (57.89°N). In addition to a latitudinal gradient, the transect incorporates an elevation range from 0 – 450m, a temperature range of ~3.5°C and a variety of woodland habitats. At each site we have six to eight 26mm hole nestboxes, which exclude larger passerines such as great tits, and two thermochron i-buttons, which record accurate hourly temperatures.

We are excited to observe and record the arrival of spring in Scottish woodlands and will be sharing more of our experiences along the transect as the season progresses.

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