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Cymraeg

Exploring Our Woodlands

February 2008

Spring dips its toe in

Posted by Gareth Bonello on 20 February 2008
Coal Tit

It is mid February and the wet and windy weather that persisted throughout January has given way to clearer skies. The days have been sunny and bright but quite cold at the same time, and the clear nights are leaving ponds and puddles iced over long into the morning.

Many of the early signs that spring is on the way have been on show for a few weeks now. Snowdrops have been up since late January and hazel catkins have been swinging in the breeze since the beginning of the month. Primrose and lesser celandines have also been growing about the site since mid February. The hawthorn bushes are growing fresh green leaves and the daffodils are flowering too. I’ve also seen quite a few bumblebees since the start of the month and I found a lone ladybird perching on a twig.

Amphibians such as frogs and newts filling up small ponds are a good indicator that spring is truly here, because it means the water is warming up. I found a few newts in the tannery pits last week but it’s still a bit too cold for them with the water prone to freezing in the night. Keep your eyes peeled for frogs spawning around the beginning of March when it’s a bit warmer. Listen out too for chiffchaffs singing later in March. They are usually one of the first of our migrant bird species to arrive from Africa.

Last week was the school half term holidays and I ran workshops based on spotting the signs of spring. Over 1200 visitors took part in a leaf quiz, and went out spotting spring flowers and birds with my spring trails. You can download spring trails and record what you’ve seen on the Nature Detectives website. You can also visit the brand new Exploring Our Woodlands website which will be taking shape over the next few weeks.