It is often said that spring begins at the beginning of March and March 21 is the Spring Equinox; the date on which day and night are of equal duration. As any nature enthusiast will know, spring is a wonderful time of the year to enjoy wildlife. Whether that is in your garden, on a walk, and at the local park. We are lucky to have an abundance of plants and animals that are all looking forward to the warmth of spring and summer.
Wildlife to Look Out For in the Spring
- Frogs and Toads
One of the first spring signs is the spawning of frogs and toads. Look for masses of jelly-shaped frogs 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.
- The Bittern
The Bittern is a very secretive bird, which is why they are difficult to spot. They spend their time moving quietly through reeds close to the water’s edge looking for fish. In the spring, you can hear the booming sound of the males’ call.
- Barn Owls
The owl can be seen at dawn or dusk hunting along the borders of a field. They are easily recognizable by their heart-shaped faces and their ghostly appearance. The courtship of the owl lasts between January and March, so now is a good time to see it. The owl population has declined by more than half since the 1930s due to conversions of barns and busy roads. You can find owls throughout the year. Try to take a look along the river banks, farmlands, and pastures, where you could find one hunting for field voles and other prey.
There is no time more synonymous with the hare than in spring i.e March when they are more likely to show their “crazy march” behavior in boxing matches. They prefer arable fields and wide open spaces. They are becoming increasingly rare due to intensive farming methods, and seeing them is a particularly magical experience.
Squirrels are fun creatures to see, but for many species, the window is short. They will come out of hibernation at the beginning of spring, but by July they will go back into hiding.
This is popular with fly fishers, but it is quite ignored by other naturalists. A spring mayfly hatch is a great show that every nature enthusiast should experience. Mayflies are one of the most beautiful insects. They live like nymphs most of the year, then they emerge as adults, lay their eggs and die. Some live 48 hours or less. There are many species of Mayflies and some are born throughout the year. But during the spring and summer, you can catch hatches of mayflies that break off in huge waves. As they emerge on the surface of a river, the trout devour them.