Find the first signs of spring

First signs of spring lesser celandine
Look for lesser celandines studding the woodland floor like stars (Photo: WTML/Richard Becker)

We’ve been battered by wild winter storms over the last few months, and the zingy freshness of spring seems such a long way off while you’re battening down the hatches.

But if you look closely, beyond the bare trees and soggy leaf litter, you’ll see woods are already humming with life and there are tiny clues that spring is just around the corner.

Be a real Nature Detective and hunt for spring

Next time you’re out and about, look on the ground and among the branches and see what you can spot. Spring signs are everywhere, so keep your eyes peeled!

Trees springing into action

Hazel and elder are two of the first trees to spring into action. Look out for yellow catkins on hazel trees (they can appear as early as December) and dark red elder buds bursting open to reveal the new leaves inside.

Early spring flowers

Snowdrops and primroses are some of the first spring flowers to pop up, brightening up bare woods with splashes of white and pale yellow. They are followed by lesser celandines, which look like bright yellow stars dotted across the woodland floor.

If you look very carefully, you might also spot deep green bluebell shoots peeping above the earth to make the most of the early spring sunshine.

Can you hear the birds?

Have you heard birds singing early in the morning? This is called the dawn chorus, and it means that spring isn’t far away! As the nights get shorter and the days get longer, more and more of our feathery friends will join the choir. They sing to announce that they’ve chosen a territory and are ready to start building nests.

Most birds start nesting from April, but some start from as early as the beginning of February! Watch out for blackbirds, rooks and mistle thrushes getting a head start. They collect twigs, grass, moss, mud and feathers to make cosy homes, and are all ready to lay their eggs from early March.

Find frogs and frogspawn

Frogs start mating from January onwards, so look out for frogspawn in ponds, ditches and slow-moving streams. The tiny black specks are the eggs, surrounded by balls of jelly that help to protect them from predators.

But there’s so much more to discover! Check out our first signs of spring spotter sheet and see how many super spring signs you can track down and tick off.

And don’t forget to head to our Facebook page and tell us all about your amazing adventures!

Spotted early signs of spring?

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