signs of spring
The weather has been pretty crazy this year with very little of what we’d normally expect from winter, which has been causing many of the traditional signs of spring to come much earlier than normal.
Usually longer warmer days prompt nature to literally ‘spring’ back into life later on in the year, but it’s already time to start looking out for these tell-tale signs that spring is on the way.
Here are eight for you to look out for over the next few months:
Snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses
This year, the first snowdrops were seen at Christmas! Delicate crocuses are now making their brief appearance and in some places daffodils are already out! You usually know spring has started when these are all blooming around us in parks gardens and woods.
Mighty fine celandines
This is a flower you may be less familiar with – they look a little bit like buttercups. In February and March look out for bundles of lesser celandine flowers in our woodlands, hedgerows and, if we’re lucky, our gardens. Their yellow rays turn the ground into galaxies of little suns, a reminder that the promise and warmth of spring and summer are on the way.
The buzz is back
Look out for the first bumblebees on warm days in spring. The first queen bumblebees lumbering around the garden, the mining bees emerging from their underground cells leaving neat little piles of soil around the exit holes, and then the first butterflies will appear feeding on the newly opened blooms.
Frogs getting busy
Ponds come to life with frogs mating and then laying their jelly-like frogspawn. A great bit of drama unfolding right in front of your eyes – how many of the tadpoles will survive?
Birds building and singing
Birds only spend a few days building nests, to a design that is unique to their species. Keep your eyes peeled throughout late March and April, you may be able to see evidence of this remarkable workmanship taking place around you. You should also notice that the dawn chorus gradually gets louder the further into spring we go. International Dawn Chorus Day is at the start of May when it reaches its peak.
Where’s that smell of garlic coming from?
Take a woodland walk in the springtime and you might be met by the unmistakable aroma of ramsons (also known as wild garlic) whose lush green leaves sprout in March followed by its star-like white flowers in April. This striking plant will often be found while walking along our wooded river valleys and is a favourite with foragers who like their food wild!
The big bird swap
Try to spot when the winter birds leave and summer visitors appear. Millions of migrant birds leave to go back to Scandinavian or Eastern European countries, while others arrive, with chiffchaffs, sand martins and wheatears amongst the first to appear in March and swallows, swifts, cuckoos, nightingales and many warblers follow in April and May.
One of the great wildlife sights of the year is when a carpet of bluebells transforms woodlands into a place of magic and wonder. In April and early May bluebells are usually at their best so make sure you don’t miss this amazing spring spectacle.
In Birmingham and the Black Country there are many special wild places where you can see these and other wildlife spectacles throughout the year. The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country works to protect and enhance these spaces and create more for the benefit of people and wildlife.