Arrivals/Departures spans 12 months between May 1016 and May 2017. Together with Wageningen University, Netherlands, Marcus compiled a calendar of nature events for every day of the year that occur annually in the Netherlands. These events were once integral to recognising and marking time across the changing seasons. Particularly in urban environments the daily events in nature have become less significant to us as they become less visible and decreasingly unfamiliar.

A large led display was installed outside the entrance of Utrecht Train Station announcing the daily arrivals and departures in nature across the year.

A print version of the Nature Calender was given away free to the public and became a teaching aid in local schools.

Across the year Marcus instigated performances based on celebrating some of these nature events. These were designed as contemporary rituals for the public to participate in. See Arrivals/Departures Rituals

First commissioned by Public Works for Utrecht Centraal Train Station, 2016-18


01/05 Female cuckoos arriving.

02/05 The first nightjars arrive, churring and wing clapping at dusk.

03/05 Wild bluebells are in full flower in the woods.

04/05 Young tawny owls may be calling now, before they have broken out of their egg.

05/05 The first young grebes have hatched and are carried on the backs of their parents.

06/05 Spotted flycatchers are arriving from Africa.

07/05 The first golden orioles can be heard.

08/05 Oaks in flower, producing a lot of pollen.

09/05 Orange tip and holly blue butterflies on wing.

10/05 The last of the summer migrants arrive: swifts are screaming across the sky.

11/05 Oxeye daisy in flower.

12/05 Butterflies abound: speckled wood, wall brown, green-veined white, dingy skipper on wing.

13/05 Meadow froghoppers are appearing from their foam ‘cuckoo spit’ nests.

14/05 Young moles are being born.

15/05 Young eels start ascending rivers from the sea.

16/05 Bogbean and yellow iris in flower along the banks of ponds.

17/05 The air is full of blackbird song.

18/05 Ash are coming into leaf, one of the last trees of the spring.

19/05 Swallowtail butterflies are on the wing.

20/05 The first red deer calves of the year are being born.

21/05 Young great tits are leaving their nests.

22/05 Most swifts have laid an egg under loose roof tiles.

23/05 Mistle thrushes cease singing, their work done.

24/05 Fox cubs are emerging from their earths and playing above the ground.

25/05 Common spotted orchid, common mallow, yellow tattle are in flower.

26/05 Brightly coloured garden tiger moths are on the wing.

27/05 Hummingbird hawk-moths are on the wing, looking for nectar.

28/05 The first caddisflies are emerging.

29/05 Robins have their second brood; the young of the first brood have left their nest.

30/05 Meadows are full of buttercups.

31/05 Poisonous hound’s tongue is in flower.


01/06 Most Eurasian hobbies have laid an egg.

02/06 The flowering period of the lesser butterfly orchid begins.

03/06 Female cuckoos are visiting nests, removing one of the eggs to lay one of their own.

04/06 Wild dog roses are blooming.

05/06 Hedgehogs are giving birth.

06/06 Extremely poisonous deadly nightshade or belladonna in flower.

07/06 Meadowsweet with large white plumes is flowering in damp meadows.

08/06 Rough chervil is in flower.

09/06 The green tortrix moth is looking for suitable leaves to roll them into egg cases.

10/06 Snipe are displaying by flying downwards making a ‘drumming’ noise with their vibrating tail feathers.

11/06 Most of the female reed warblers have laid their eggs.

12/06 Poppies are flowering in fields, on unused sites and road sides.

13/06 Stag beetles are emerging.

14/06 Young swallows are big enough to start leaving their nests.

15/06 The first edible giant puffballs are appearing in meadows.

16/06 Large and small tortoiseshell butterflies can be seen.

17/06 Bats are fully active, each catching thousands of insects at night.

18/05 Scotch bonnet fungi suddenly appear in pastures and sometimes in fairy-rings.

19/06 Young harvest mice are in their woven grass nests suspended between stalks.

20/06 Blackbirds stop brooding and stop their passionate singing.

21/06 The first young toads are moving onto dry land.

22/06 Small skipper butterflies are on the wing.

23/06 Common seals are giving birth to their young on sand flats in the sea.

24/06 Great horse-flies are emerging.

25/06 The cuckoo gradually stops calling its own name.

26/06 The dark green fritillary is on the wing with its black-orange chequered wings.

27/06 Chaffinches cease singing.

28/06 Harbour porpoises concentrate on breeding; their young are born eleven months later.

29/06 Grass snakes are laying their eggs in sweltering dung hills and compost heaps.

30/06 Elephant hawk-moths are visiting honeysuckle flowers for pollination.


01/07 Glowworms are emerging.

02/07 The first wasps start looking for something sweet for their young.

03/07 Rosebay willowherb is flowering.

04/07 Vervain is flowering.

05/07 Brown hawker dragonfly and willow emerald damselfly are on the wing.

06/07 Female bats are suckling their young.

07/07 Most of the adult cuckoos have departed to Africa.

08/07 Purple emperor butterflies on wing near willows.

09/07 Young magpies are following their parents, begging them for food.

10/07 Roe deer start mating.

11/07 Silver-washed fritillary butterflies appear.

12/07 Sundews are flowering in sphagnum bogs.

13/07 The red berries of the rowans are ripening.

14/07 Largest number of common blue damselflies are on the wing.

15/07 In sunny places the first blackberries are ripe.

16/07 Female otters are giving birth.

17/07 Cotton grasses and bog asphodel are flowering.

18/07 Meadow brown butterfly, dark green fritillary and large blue are on the wing.

19/07 Song thrushes cease singing.

20/07 Rose bedeguar galls are appearing on wild rose species.

21/07 The first chantarelle funguses are appearing in beech woods.

22/07 Most birdsong has ended but skylarks and yellowhammers are still singing.

23/07 Wasps on the wing abound.

24/07 The large copper can be spotted flying.

25/07 Clouded yellow butterflies are appearing on clover and alfalfa fields.

26/07 Common seals begin their display and mating ritual.

27/07 Migrant hawker dragonflies are on the wing.

28/07 Small skipper butterflies are on the wing.

29/07 Water dropwort is flowering. Its roots are very poisonous.

30/07 Honeysuckle berries start ripening.

31/07 Gipsywort or bugleweed is in bloom in wetland areas.


01/08 Second broods of swallows are fledging.

02/08 Caterpillars of the eyed hawk-moth fully fed.

03/08 Small red-eyed damselfly on wing.

04/08 The common earthball fungus attacked by the parasitical Boletus parasiticus.

05/08 Ivy-leaved bellflower in flower.

06/08 Foxgloves are abundant.

07/08 Yellowhammers stop singing.

08/08 Young frogs have dispersed and forage for insects in the grass.

09/08 Devil’s-bit scabious still in flower.

10/08 Swifts begin to leave for Africa.

11/08 Small tortoiseshell butterfly on wing.

12/08 Young slowworms hatch.

13/08 Second broods of martins fledged.

14/08 Robins commence their autumn song.

15/08 Moles cast out their young.

16/08 Blue hawker dragonfly on wing.

17/08 Small emerald spreadwing on wing.

18/08 Great woolly-headed thistle flowering.

19/08 Larvae of elephant and privet hawk-moths almost fully fed.

20/08 The fungus Amanita mappa appears on sandy soil under oaks and beeches.

21/08 Young bats begin to catch insects for themselves and no longer need their mothers’ milk.

22/08 Smooth snakes are giving birth to live young.

23/08 Winged ants appear in swarms from ants’ nests.

24/08 Lapwings flock together for their autumnal migration.

25/08 Flying alone and for the first time, young cuckoos are departing for Africa.

26/08 Horn of plenty or “trumpet of death” fungus is appearing in woods.

27/08 The adonis blue butterfly is on the wing.

28/08 Caterpillars of the emperor moth are feeding on heather.

29/08 Adult shrews are at the end of their lives and die of exhaustion.

30/08 The first elder berries are ripe and are eaten by wood pigeons.

31/08 Peacock butterflies can be found on the wing or resting.


01/09 Death’s-head hawkmoths are on the wing.

02/09 Many glistening inky cap fungi can be found.

03/09 Blackberries start ripening.

04/09 Young natterjack toads are leaving the water.

05/09 Silk-button spangle galls are appearing on the back of oak leaves.

06/09 Fancifully shaped knopper galls are falling from oaks.

07/09 The last silver-spotted skippers can be spotted on the wing.

08/09 Wasp nest beetles appear from underground wasps’ nests.

09/09 Parasol fungi appear in meadows and along road sides.

10/09 Crane flies or daddy longlegs are abundant.

11/09 The first horse chestnuts are ripe and fall from the trees.

12/09 Shaggy ink cap fungus appears on disturbed and nutrition-rich soils.

13/09 The stemless dwarf thistle can still be found blooming.

14/09 Lime trees begin to shed their leaves.

15/09 Red deer stags start their mating season rutting.

16/09 Common kingfishers can be spotted frequently.

17/09 The first acorns are falling.

18/09 Bracken assumes its autumnal tinting.

19/09 Male badgers are preparing their burrows to accommodate multiple females.

20/09 The first barn swallows and martins start their migration south.

21/09 Beech-nuts are now plentiful in the woods.

22/09 Ivy is beginning to bloom.

23/09 Mistle thrushes are feeding on ripe orange rowan berries.

24/09 Caddis fly are swarming over ponds in the evening.

25/09 Turtle doves are leaving to spend the winter in West Africa.

26/09 Second flowering of honeysuckle.

27/09 False truffles can be seen in pine woods, after rabbits have dug them up.

28/09 Dormice and squirrels are stocking up their winter supplies.

29/09 Scarlet waxcap fungi are appearing in fields and on lawns.

30/09 Migrating silver Y moths are on their way south.


01/10 Adult eels are migrating from inland waters to the sea on their way to their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea.

02/10 Many trees, including beeches, are changing colour to autumn tints.

03/10 Hips, haws and sloes are now ripe.

04/10 Field mushrooms in striking fairy-rings are in fields and on lawns.

05/10 Rutting red deer are using their antlers in the competition for hinds.

06/10 Fly agaric are emerging under birches and other trees.

07/10 Starlings are starting to roost in huge flocks.

08/10 The last flights of the green-veined white butterfly before it hibernates as a pupa.

09/10 Queen wasps are going into hibernation.

10/10 Blackbirds are feeding on fallen apples.

11/10 Ladybird beetles are going into hibernation, often in homes.

12/10 The trees are shedding their leaves but oak and ash trees are still very green.

13/10 Cauliflower fungus is appearing at the base of Scots pine trunks.

14/10 Chaffinches and lesser redpolls are sometimes singing on fine mornings.

15/10 Wrens are beginning their autumn singing.

16/10 The last martins and barn swallows are leaving to spend the winter in Africa.

17/10 Dogwood leaves are turning a beautiful red.

18/10 At dusk blackbirds are making their short high pitch alarm calls.

19/10 Some young wood pigeons are leaving the nest only now.

20/10 Amphibians start withdrawing into their hibernation shelters.

21/10 The vomiting russula or the sickener fungus is appearing on damp, acid soils.

22/10 The northern red oak takes on a striking red.

23/10 The first fieldfares are arriving from the high north.

24/10 Brent geese are returning from their northern breeding grounds with their young.

25/10 Slowworms are going into hibernation, hidden in humus and rough grasses.

26/10 The first woodcocks are arriving from Finland and Russia to spend the winter here.

27/10 Comma butterflies have stopped flying for this year.

28/10 The birch leaves have taken on their autumnal colours.

29/10 Peacock butterflies stop flying as autumn progresses.

30/10 Dormice are going into hibernation until April.

31/10 Virtually all butterflies have stopped flying because of the cold.


01/11 Mistle thrushes begin singing again from treetops.

02/11 The brown long-eared bat starts to hibernate in trees, hollow walls, caves and mines.

03/11 The grass stops growing.

04/11 Money spiders in vast numbers on fields cover the grass with threads of silk.

05/11 Autumnal leaf tinting is usually at its best about this time.

06/11 Mermaids purses holding shark’s or skate’s eggs, wash up on beaches.

07/11 Serotine bats are spending the winter in cavity walls, under roof tiles and in disused chimneys.

08/11 Salmon start to ascend rivers from the sea to spawn upstream.

09/11 The last red admiral butterflies are still on wing.

10/11 Thousands of wild geese are back from their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic.

11/11 Adult shrews die of exhaustion, the young are left to survive the winter.

12/11 Frogs hibernate in the unfrozen muddy layer on the bottom of ponds and pools.

13/11 Candlesnuff fungus is abundant on old stumps.

14/11 The colourful butter waxcap appears in meadows.

15/11 The spitting spider Scytodes thoracica goes hunting by night.

16/11 Adders and grass snakes go into hibernation.

17/11 Hedgehogs go into hibernation until April.

18/11 Lapwings are feeding in flocks on fields.

19/11 Brown witch’s butter fungus or jelly leaf is growing on dead birch and oak branches.

20/11 Occasional appearance of brimstone butterflies.

21/11 Squirrels retire to their winter retreats.

22/11 Most moths start to hibernate as a pupa among fallen leaves or other hidden spots.

23/11 Long-eared owls form communal roosts.

24/11 Greenfinches assemble in flocks for their collective wintering.

25/11 Common bracket fungus is abundant on dead wood.

26/11 The pedunculate or English oaks are now completely bare.

27/11 The nettle cells of stinging-nettles are losing strength.

28/11 The Fluted bird’s nest fungus ejects its spores.

28/11 Young magpies without a territory are roosting in small flocks.

30/11 Pipistrelle bats are going into hibernation.


01/12 Today the meteorological winter begins.

02/12 The common shrew is now underground and hunting for invertebrates.

03/12 Male foxes are calling in the night to find a female to mate with.

04/12 Nathusius’ pipistrelle bats may fly on mild winter days.

05/12 Red-stemmed feather moss abundant on sandy soil.

06/12 The rough-mantled doris sea slug is looking for barnacles to feed on during its breeding time.

07/12 Yellowhammers are congregating in winter flocks at nutrition-rich places.

08/12 At night luminous centipedes can be spotted.

09/12 The first young of grey seals are being born.

10/12 Blackbirds clear circles of dead leaves to get at insects and worms in the ground.

11/12 The song thrush sings at dawn in mild weather.

12/12 Titmice extract larvae from oak marble galls and eat them.

13/12 Groundsel can be seen in flower, in sheltered places all year long.

14/12 Stoats have their white coat for winter.

15/12 The mating season of squirrels has begun.

16/12 The high, sharp call of the great spotted woodpecker can be heard high up in the trees.

17/12 Shepherd’s purse is occasionally still flowering.

18/12 Many insects winter in the hollow stems of dead plants.

19/12 The first scarlet elf cup fungi appear.

20/12 Long-tailed tit flocks are looking for food all day to survive.

21/12 Common chickweed is occasionally still flowering.

22/12 Compass jellyfish come near to the shore.

23/12 Slowworms can be spotted in sunny weather.

24/12 Early nuthatches commence their spring whistle.

25/12 Stag beetles can be spotted on a clear evening.

26/12 Yellow witch’s - butter fungus can be seen on the stems of dead oak and other trees.

27/12 Yellow gorse is flowering profusely.

28/12 Moles throw up hillocks when the ground is not frozen hard.

29/12 Robins are singing.

30/12 Wild boars churn up the fallen leaves looking for acorns.

31/12 Earthworms tug/pull dead leaves into their holes and eat them.


01/01 Badgers are asleep deep underground.

02/01 Dunnocks commence their birdsong.

03/01 The black-spotted chestnut moth can be spotted flying in the night.

04/01 Marsh tits begins to sing.

05/01 Beavers are satisfying their appetite with willow bark.

06/01 Rabbits gnaw the bark of holly and other scrubs if the weather is severe.

07/01 Stock doves can be heard calling.

08/01 Smooth newts begin breeding if the weather is warm enough.

09/01 Rabbits start devoting themselves to breeding.

10/01 Lesser spotted woodpecker sometimes drums.

11/01 Red dead-nettle already flowering here and there.

12/01 The pale brindled beauty moth flies from now till late April.

13/01 Swan’s-neck thread moss is forming its reproductive organs.

14/01 Common winter damselflies on wing on warm days.

15/01 First yellow daffodils are flowering.

16/01 The first buntings start singing.

17/01 Dark green cushions of broom fork-moss are growing on sandy banks and tree trunks.

18/01 The loudest singers now are the great tits.

19/01 Brown hairstreak butterflies are laying eggs in blackthorn bushes.

20/01 Beavers are starting their mating season.

21/01 Wood larks are singing.

22/01 Black witch’s butter fungus (Exidia glandulosa) is growing on dead branches.

23/01 Dumbledore beetle appears.

24/01 First snowdrop leaves are emerging from the snow.

25/01 Early skylarks start singing.

26/01 Nathusius’ pipistrelle bats may be spotted flying if it is not too cold.

27/01 Hare mating season begins and continues well into summer.

28/01 The first robins start building their nests.

29/01 Winter gnats abound.

30/01 The first snowdrops begin to flower.

31/01 Earthworms lie out.


01/02 Small tortoiseshell butterflies start to emerge from hibernation.

02/02 Greenfinches separate from flocks to continue on their own.

03/02 Moles prepare their underground nests for their young.

04/02 Tree creepers commence their spring call.

05/02 Tawny owls hoot at dusk.

06/02 Hawfinches feed on holly berries.

07/02 Blackbirds sing at dusk.

08/02 Winter jasmine is flowering profusely.

09/02 Collared doves are cooing loudly in the morning.

10/02 First crop of glistening ink cap fungus appears on dead broad-leaved trees.

11/02 Greater spotted woodpeckers drum to mark their territory.

12/02 Male moles in search for a partner dig long tunnels throwing up many hillocks.

13/02 Badgers are giving birth to young.

14/02 Woodcocks are making their flight displays ‘roding’, to mark their breeding territory.

15/02 Yellowhammer starts to sing its characteristically shrill notes.

16/02 Barn owls are mating.

17/02 Peacock and brimstone butterflies emerge from hibernation.

18/02 First primroses appearing.

19/02 The great crested grebe’s mirror courtship dance begins.

20/02 Salmon start to descend rivers on their migration to the sea.

21/02 Frogs are busy mating and producing frogspawn.

22/02 Chaffinches commence singing.

23/02 Lesser periwinkle blooming with brightly blue flowers.

24/02 Goldcrests begin their almost inaudibly high chirping.

25/02 Adders emerge from hibernation.

26/02 Brent geese start to leave for the Arctic islands.

27/02 Early-nesting herons already have eggs.

28/02 Slowworms revive from torpidity.


01/03 Most tawny owls have laid their eggs.

02/03 Wood anemones in flower in woodland.

03/03 The first queen wasps emerge from hibernation.

04/03 Willows and marsh-marigolds in flower.

05/03 Curlews begin their display flights, rising steeply then gliding down while singing.

06/03 Mistle thrushes are nesting.

07/03 Blackthorn in flower.

08/03 Early swans may start building their nest.

09/03 First lesser celandine flowers appearing.

10/03 Male hares start to fight, standing on hind legs and boxing.

11/03 The first generation of brimstone butterflies start their flight period.

12/03 Male yews begin shedding abundant amounts pollen.

13/03 The large white butterflies are on the wing.

14/03 Sparrowhawks can be seen soaring over their territories only at this time of year.

15/03 Common frogs start to emerge.

16/03 Black ants remove the seal from the entrance to the nest and begin to forage above ground.

17/03 The first speckled wood butterflies can be spotted flying.

18/03 Common frogs start croaking to attract the attention of females.

19/03 Wrens are singing higher in the trees, their voices carrying further.

20/03 The first young European pine martens are born.

21/03 The first newts return to the water.

22/03 Rosemary has started flowering.

23/03 First horse chestnut leaves are unfolding.

24/03 Toads are mating and laying eggs.

25/03 Kingfishers are looking for nesting holes.

26/03 First hazel leaves are appearing.

28/03 Magnolia flowering before the first leaves appear.

29/03 Wheatears have arrived, one of the first long-distance migrant birds to return.

30/03 Long-eared owls are nesting.

31/03 Crows, jackdaws, magpies and rooks are building or repairing their nests.


01/04 Mating season has started for adders; the males compete in a dance/fight to impress females.

02/04 The first Chiffchaffs have returned and begin to sing their name.

03/04 The first young of the wild boar are born.

04/04 First willow warbler song can be heard.

05/04 Tadpoles abound in ponds and pools.

06/04 Sparrowhawks and kestrels nesting.

07/04 The first nightingale returns.

08/04 Most buzzards have laid their first egg.

09/04 The distinctive orange-tip butterflies are flying.

10/04 Grass snakes are mating.

11/04 Cuckoo males begin to arrive from Sub-Saharan Africa and start calling their name.

12/04 Beavers are having their first young.

13/04 Ash trees are flowering.

14/04 Yellow wagtails have arrived from their winter retreats.

15/04 Hedgehogs are emerging from hibernation.

16/04 Small tortoiseshell butterfly and comma butterfly are at the peak of their flight period.

17/04 Young mallards are hatching and can be seen swimming.

18/04 Crab apples flowering.

19/04 Grey squirrels prepare their dreys (tree nests).

20/04 Yellow archangel in flower.

21/04 Sandpipers, European pied flycatchers, grasshopper warblers and many other birds have returned to the country.

22/04 Pedunculate or English oak leaves unfolding.

23/04 Hawthorn starts flowering.

24/04 The wood warbler has arrived to spend the summer.

25/04 Great and blue tits are now sitting on eggs.

26/04 Rare migrating turtle doves that have survived being hunted while crossing Malta arrive in UK.

27/04 First flowers of the horse chestnut tree appearing.

28/04 The reed warbler is in the country.

29/04 The first swift has arrived and will stay for one hundred days.

30/04 The male wren is busy making several nests, the female chooses one of them.

Sources: Country Notes and a Nature Calendar (E.W. Swanton, 1938),,,,,,,,,,, British Trust for Ornithology.

With thanks to: Jelle Reumer and Arnold van Vliet (Wageningen University, Netherlands).

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