Spring is usually said to start at the beginning of March and the 21st of March is the Spring Equinox; the date on which day and night are of equal length.
This season is a time of days getting longer and the spring sunshine bringing growth and greenery everywhere with buds bursting and leaves unfolding. Birdsong reaches a peak and many flowers appear, in turn attracting insect-life, including bees and butterflies. Animals that hibernated over winter appear on the first warm days of spring so keep an eye out in early Spring for hedgehogs, newly emerged queen bees, frogs, toads, grass snakes, lizards and adders.
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 and swallows, swifts, cuckoos, nightingales and many warblers 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.
Watch the progress of Spring in a hedge! The buds of hawthorn burst and new fresh green leaves appear followed by creamy white flowers in late April or May. The blossom was once known as ‘May’ but in many places flowers now appear in April, perhaps an indication that climate change is making Spring come earlier.
Look out for the first bumblebees on warm days in March! These will be queens which have successfully survived the winter and are now seeking nectar and pollen from Spring flowers.
Chiffchaffs are usually one of the first migrant birds to arrive in March and they can be heard singing their names in a repetitive ‘chiff chaff’ song from the tops of trees. Cuckoos, swallows and house martins usually arrive in April and swifts may not appear until early May.
Frogs and toads on the move
One of the first signs of spring is the spawning of 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; they travel at night when it's cooler and damper and sadly often get killed crossing roads. There is evidence that frogs and toads are breeding earlier, even in late winter months so start looking in February.
Woodlands carpeted in bluebells
One of the great Spring wildlife sights! In late April and early May bluebells are usually at their best so make sure you don’t miss this amazing Spring spectacle. A carpet of bluebells transforms woodlands into a place of magic and wonder.
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.
Visit a local Wildlife Trust woodland nature reserve
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. So make sure you go on a Spring woodland walk – it will keep you healthy too!
Learn bird songs
Spring is the perfect season to enjoy and appreciate bird song. 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.
Our guide to bird song, with Brambly Hedge, is a great way to become an expert!
Become a phenologist!
This means keeping a record of when and where you see your first spring flowers, migrant birds, trees in leaf, frog spawn, first butterflies and dragonflies and other seasonal signs. Your records can help scientists who are studying climate change and its impact on wildlife. So start a wildlife diary today!
Sow some wildflower seeds
Think local; by planting and growing some wild flower seed you can attract butterflies and bees to your garden. Take a look at our activity sheet below for tips on what to grow!
Flowers are blooming and the air is filled with bird song. It's the perfect time to get out and about! Take a look at our fun activities below!
Time to turn detective! What can you find?