Spring is well underway and there are signs of it everywhere you look. From the first lambs skipping across the fields, to the swathes of cowslips providing a blast of colour to the roadside, and the bluebells lighting up the woodland floor. Trees and shrubs across the country are bursting into leaf, coating the landscape with a fresh, vibrant green colour. So whatever the weather, get out and enjoy spring as it blasts away the cobwebs.
Waves of migrant birds are arriving on the South and East coasts after an arduous journey from the Sahara. These include cuckoos, swallows, house martins and willow warblers.
For our resident birds, nesting season is well under-way. Great tits, blue tits and long-tailed tits are rearing their chicks with the parents getting increasingly more ragged as the season progresses. Meanwhile, robins, song thrushes and blackbirds are already fledging, though still remaining close to their parents for now.
As the carpets of bluebells start to fade through the month they are often replaced with the golden yellow of a yellow archangel. This is a member of the ‘dead nettle’ family but doesn’t sting; this is thought to be where the common name originated from. There are a few more woodland species to keep an eye out for. Dog-violet and greater stitchwort, provide little patches of purple and white.
Gorse and broom are in full flower attracting bees from miles around. In marshy areas, Lady’s Smock (also known as the cuckoo flower) is springing up. This is the food plant of the orange tip butterfly, they only lay one egg on each individual plant so the two species’ survival is closely linked.
Keep an eye out this month for some active invertebrates. The hawthorn and green shield bugs can be spotted on foliage, and on sunny days you may catch sight of yellow brimstone butterflies. Their caterpillars will only feed on buckthorn and alder buckthorn.
The first bats will be emerging from hibernation this month, so it’s a good time to get out and about with your bat detector. Alternatively, join your local bat group and they usually provide you with a detector for the night. Listings of local bat groups can be found on the Bat Conservation Trust website.
Miniature dragons can be found lurking in ponds as smooth newts display their mating crests. They are more active during the night but they can be seen during the day if you look hard enough.
For more information about bat surveys or any of our other ecological services call us on 029 2065 0331.