Spring is in the air – what to look out for!
We’re on spring watch! Spring is here and we are definitely feeling it. With the arrival of the spring equinox, the return of the wildflowers, wildlife and lambs spring is in the air! We wanted to celebrate this by sharing a few of the animals and flowers to watch for at our natural burial grounds.
You can find many of these across the UK if you are out and about enjoying the countryside too. You may even find them in your garden
With the arrival of spring also comes the arrival of the new baby lambs. The photos below were taken at Bath Natural Burial Meadow. These were born in previous years but often you will find lambs in the burial meadow in springtime. You may also find lambs in the meadow at Aylesbury Vale Natural Burial Ground. Sometimes you can see them playing in fields next to our natural burial grounds too.
Grazing sheep is one of the ways that helps natural burial grounds to remain sustainable. They offer beautiful resting places for the people we love but are also useful grazing spaces. Often our families say how lovely it is to see the lambs playing, or watch the sheep grazing when they come to visit.
It is not just baby lambs that you may see in the spring. Wildlife like badgers, foxes and rabbits have their litters in the spring. You may see signs of these when you visit. If you are very lucky you may catch a glimpse of them as they emerge from their burrows. It helps that dawn and dusk are slightly later in the morning and earlier in the day because this is when they are most active.
Near the end of spring, you may also come across hoglets, although these tend to be fairly early litters for hedgehogs.
While some birds stick around during the winter months, the start of spring is when they become more active. We also begin to hear many of the songbirds singing their mating songs.
Some of the most common birds to watch for are chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, robins and blackbirds. You may also see birds of prey like buzzards and red kites making the most of freshly cut grass and meadows. You can read more about the birds you may find at our natural burial ground here.
When the weather gets warmer and springtime arrives, migratory birds also start to make an appearance so you may want to keep an eye out for blackcaps, warblers, martins and yellow wagtails. Some you can hear rather than see like the Cuckoo. Signs of birds like nests will also start to appear in the trees and you may catch a glimpse of fledgelings leaving the nest later in the spring.
Spring seems to be a season of yellows, whites and purples. Many of these are due to beautiful flowers that bloom during the springtime. One watch out for as the weather gets warmer are wild primroses. You can tell if they are native because of their light yellow petals. Wild daffodils also appear in early spring. These are smaller than the introduced varieties you may also see. Unfortunately, wild daffodils are not as common as they used to be but are making a comeback. In the spring there is a beautiful display of daffodils at Cardiff Natural Burial Meadow.
Other early springtime flowers include snowdrops, wood anemones, lesser celandine and snakes head fritillary. Snakeshead fritillary is rare due to the decline of their native habitat, but it’s lovely they are one of the flowers the meadow at Aylesbury is helping to re-establish. Gorse is another early flowering plant. It’s one you can find across our natural burial grounds. While another hedgerow plant that starts to blossom in early spring is blackthorn.
Later in the springtime Dandelions and the Cuckooflower makes an appearance. We often find these at Pembrokeshire natural burial ground. You may also come across plants that are useful in cooking like wild garlic, three-cornered leek and chives.
Native bluebells are one of the later flowers to appear in the spring. In May they create a beautiful bank of dappled blue at Usk Castle Chase Natural Burial Meadow. This allows them to make the most of the spring sunshine that becomes more consistent. These are just a few of our springtime flowers.
With the return of the spring flowers also comes the return of our beloved bumblebees. You can find the bees pollinating flowers at all our natural burial grounds. As the weather gets warmer we start to see insects like ladybirds too. These are walking up from overwintering, where they have spent the winter sleeping in dead plant material or leaf litter.
You may some of the earlier butterflies, moths and caterpillars in the spring. One of the earliest butterflies is the red admiral which is coming out of hibernation. Nettles, which also make an appearance in spring, are an important source of food for their caterpillars. It’s one of the reasons it’s important we leave some wild areas for our wildlife in gardens. Flowers like Yellow Archangels and Dandelions are also an important source of food for our early spring pollinators. Spring flowers will attract lots of different types of butterflies and moths. They all tend to have their favourite flowers and plants. You can read more about our moths and butterflies here.
There will be lots of other animals, insects, and birds you may see. There are also other signs spring is here, but these are a few to look out for.
What have you seen?
We would love to see photos of the wildlife & wildflowers you find in the spring. We would also love to hear if you have spotted any nests or new arrivals at our natural burial grounds.
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