Spring is in the air – what to look out for
Spring is here and with the arrival of lambs and wildflowers we are definitely feeling it. We’re on ‘spring watch’. We are celebrating the start of spring, also known as the spring equinox by sharing a blog on the wildlife and wildflowers you may find when visiting the natural burial grounds across the UK.
With the arrival of spring also comes the arrival of the new baby lambs. The photo below is of one of the lambs at Bath Natural Burial Meadow from a previous year. If you are visiting you may see lambs playing in the natural burial meadow at Bath. You may also see them at a few of our other natural burial grounds.
It is not just baby lambs that you may see in the spring. Wildlife such as badgers and rabbits have their litters in the spring, and you may see signs of these, or if you are very lucky catch a glimpse of them as they emerge from their burrows and explore the great outdoors.
We do not lose all our birds in the winter. But it is at the start of spring that you begin to hear many of them singing their mating songs, such as the chaffinch. They are getting ready to find a mate and build their nests in the spring. So it’s worth keeping an eye out for great tits and blue tits along with robins, blackbirds. As well as the migratory birds such as blackcaps, and willow warblers.
Primroses flower in early spring. Although, you can sometimes find them flowering in late winter letting us know spring is on the way. They love to grow in open woods and hedgerows but also can be found in meadows. The light yellow petals show that these are the native variety and they provide a vital food source for some of our insects including the small tortoiseshell butterfly.
The native wild daffodil is not as common as it used to be with many cultured varieties now being planted. You can distinguish it from its lighter leaves which are slightly pointed. It can be found across the UK but used to be very common in Wales, especially in South Wales. So you may find these popping up at our natural burial ground in Cardiff.
The Cuckooflower, also known as Lady’s Smock, is a beautiful flower that can often be found around April. It is an important food source for caterpillars and can be found in meadows, grassland and ponds. It can often be found amongst the reeds as it likes slightly damper ground, which we have found at our natural burial ground in Pembrokeshire where this photo was taken.
This beautiful photo of Snakes Head Fritillary was taken at Aylesbury Vale Natural Burial Meadow. They are a sure sign of spring but may not be found as readily these days since they have declined due to a loss of habitat. However the meadows at the natural burial grounds are a perfect place for them to flourish again.
This photo of the gorse at Cothiemuir Hill Natural Burial Ground shows how beautiful some of our flowerings hedgerows can be, while their flowers have had many uses in the past including as fuel, for salad and as soap. As the gorse starts to flower it’s a sign that spring is nearly here. You may also come across other hedgerows like Blackthorn which is starting to Blossom.
The native bluebells, which create a beautiful bank of dappled blue at our Natural Burial Meadow in Usk Castle Chase arrive slightly later in the spring around April and May. This allows them to make the most of the sunlight, as they often flower near woodland or along banks. They are a favourite for many when they arrive, including our bees which visit the natural burial meadow.
Snowdrops are often a sign that spring is on the way. While they flower early in the spring they are usually starting to make an appearance in the late winter. These beautiful snowdrops were taken in Dorset near the Dorset Downs Natural Burial Meadow.
With the return of the spring flowers also comes the return of our beloved bumblebees. You can find these at all of our natural burial grounds. Flying through the woodland and meadows and pollinating the flowers, while gathering nectar for their honey. You may also start to see other insects enjoying the warmer weather.
As the weather gets warmer we start to see more insects and one of the bugs you may find are ladybirds. The photograph below is from Hundy Mundy Woodland Burial Ground, but they can be found at all our natural burial grounds. You may also see other beetles making an appearance.
You may start to see some of the earlier butterflies, moths and caterpillars in the spring. One of the earliest butterflies is the Brimstone Butterfly which can often be found visiting the Cuckooflower. However, the new blossom can attract lots of different types of butterflies and moths as they enjoy the warmer weather. This photo was taken at Henley on Thames Woodland Burial Ground.
There are also lots of other flowers and signs of spring that we have not mentioned, but these are just a few to look out for. We would love to hear about the spring wildlife & wildflowers you find if you visit, or see your photos which can always be added to our Facebook or Google My Business Page.