The First Signs Of Spring
Date: 2013-04-12 12:49:44 | Category: Bird Watching
| Author: Twootz Staff
After what has seemed like a very long and cold winter, signs that spring is finally arriving are visible; everything is growing and bursting into life, birds are singing, leaves are unfolding, butterflies are starting to be seen and mammals are beginning to wake from their winter sleep.
The first whispers of new life are tentatively appearing, flooding the land with colour, form and scent; new leaves are budding on bare branches, crocus, daffodils and hyacinths are slowly blooming as the snow melts away.
Spring, like autumn, is a transitional season, where we make the chaotic change from winter to summer. As a result, it can provide a taste of summer, but often short, sharp reminders that winter still lurks close by.
One of the first signs of potential warmth is the sun rising a little higher in the sky, if you step out of the chilly shade and into the sunshine, you can begin to feel a little warmth - certainly a step in the right direction.
This season is a time of days getting longer and the spring sunshine bringing growth and greenery everywhere, birdsong reaches a peak and many flowers appear, in turn attracting insect-life, including bees and butterflies.
Animals which have hibernated over winter appear on the first warm days of spring so keep an eye out for hedgehogs, newly emerged queen bees, frogs, toads, and grass snakes.
Other animals such as squirrels become more active and are easier to spot. Millions of migrant birds arrive, with Chiffchaffs, Sand Martins and Wheatears amongst the first to appear in March. Other birds, such as; Swallows, Swifts, Cuckoos, Nightingales and many Warblers arrive slightly later in April and May.
Nature is at its most busy in Spring, every day brings changes, the sap is rising, and for many species finding a mate and successfully breeding is top priority.
Queen bees - look out for the first bumblebees on warm days in March and April; these will be queens which have successfully survived the winter and are now seeking nectar and pollen from Spring flowers.
Migrant birds - Look out for the first migrant birds arriving. Cuckoos, swallows and house martins usually arrive in April and swifts may not appear until early May.
Frogs and toads - Look for masses of jelly-like frog spawn in local ponds and ditches. Toads often travel long distances to suitable ponds to breed in and sadly often get killed crossing roads - they usually travel at night when it's cooler and damper.
Woodlands carpeted in bluebells - In late April and early May bluebells are usually at their best so make sure you don't miss this amazing Spring spectacle.
Visit a seabird colony - Britain has some of the most important seabird colonies in Europe. Watching puffins, guillemots, razorbills, gannets, cormorants, shags, fulmars and gulls is one of Britain's top wildlife experiences. You don't just watch a seabird colony you smell it and hear it too! Fantastic.
Go on a Spring woodland walk - Many woodland flowers are at their best before the leaves are fully open on the trees. If you find carpets of bluebells, wood anemones, wild garlic, wood sorrel and early purple orchids you can be sure it is an ancient woodland and likely to be good for many other kinds of wildlife too.
Learn bird songs - Many local Wildlife Trusts organise dawn chorus walks that you can take part in. Why not get up early and start by learning bird songs in your own garden - taking an early morning walk is always great for watching wildlife and early morning is the best time for listening to bird song.
Plant wildflower seeds - By doing this you can attract butterflies and bees to your garden.