Mar 25 2022

Spring on the heath

A photo of tree blossom

Spring is my favourite time of year (until we get to summer, at least!)

I love the lengthening hours of daylight, fresh green shoots, blossom and bumblebees emerging from their winter slumber. I love hearing bursts of birdsong from trees, hedgerows and scrub. I love the sense of anticipation of when I might catch a glimpse of my first butterfly of the year as the temperature warms, tempting them out of the safety of their overwintering hideaways. I love checking every single open flower head in the hope of spotting a hoverfly or a pioneering solitary bee fuelling up with high-calorie nectar. I love that memories of the cold, seemingly lifeless months of winter slip away quickly.

What’s your favourite thing about spring?

Photos of a reen Hairstreak butterfly and a Marmalade Hoverfly on Lesser Celandine

Wonderful spring insects – Green Hairstreak butterfly and Episyrphus balteatus hoverfly

Brilliant birdsong

On the heath, I look forward to the beautiful song of the Woodlark – one of our fab ground-nesting birds – a sign that spring has most definitely arrived. Dartford Warblers start to become more active and I always try to re-learn their contact calls before the similar-sounding Common Whitethroats arrive back from their migratory adventures in Africa to confuse me. I’m sure they don’t just come back to confuse me, that would be an odd survival strategy!

The arrival of spring also means it’s not too long before I can get out on the heath at dusk and take part in my favourite nature spectacle – Nightjar watching! There is something fabulously magical about a Nightjar encounter. The combination of being out on the heath as darkness falls, the unworldly churring and witnessing these amazing birds flapping over my head like a butterfly-bat hybrid is a simply perfect nature experience. I’ll be running lots of Nightjar walks across the season, so keep an eye out for further information.

A photo of a Dartford Warbler and a Common Whitethroat

Dartford Warbler and Common Whitethroat – contact call confusion?

Downloadable spring spotter

If you’d like to slow down and look more closely at nature on your heathland wander or, for that matter, walk anywhere, how about downloading our updated spring spotter? [Click the image below]

It’s a great activity for all the family and a brilliant way to improve your nature connections.

Image of a spring spotter sheet

[Click the image to download our free spotter sheet]

As always, let me know how you get on!

Education Officer

P.S. to teachers: This spotter sheet is perfect to use if your class are investigating seasonal change. Please visit our schools page to find out about our free education sessions – We offer lots of opportunities to connect your students with their local wildlife.

eachers, let us help connect your children with nature


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