It appears Spring is Springing!

The past couple of weekends have seen a change in the weather - windy, bright and a lot sunnier, so I went and had a bit of a walk around the local patch of woodland and farmland that I frequent.  

The first thing I noticed was the amount of new greenery that had appeared - all across the floor of the woodland bluebells are starting to shoot through the leafcover as well as primroses in places and ground-ivy, the latter were just starting to flower the weekend just past.

Bluebell Shoots    

Ground Ivy

Just inside the woods there is a small pond, which is mostly filled with leaf mould and old branches; the water is much deeper this time of year and surprisingly clear, although when the sunlight gets on it, there is a good deal of chickweed.  Once the plants in the wood start to shoot, the ground is warming up - likewise the pond is too.  Whilst there are no fish, it's inhabitants start to wake from the depths or wander in from nearby gardens.  The other weekend, there were a lot of swirls and bubbles in the water, however now in the mornings there are lots of little green monsters peering out as they slowly wake up

as the day warms up, they become a little more active, a few climbing out of the water (this fellow had a ladybird for company)

Or others simply having a relaxed float in the water- preferably in a sunny patch!  All the while there is a quiet frog chorus going on, as they are tuning up to call the ladies.  I'm expecting to see frogspawn around the pond within the next few weeks.  

Elsewhere through the woods, the squirrels have gone quiet, however the birds are all appearing in very smart plumage and full voice to court the ladies.  This courting business also involves protracted chasing through the trees and bushes, although just occasionally a few will pause long enough for a picture!   I have to admit, I do spend a lot of time just watching their antics this time of year and often come away with very few pictures!

Anyhow, there are plenty of Blue Tits about, either chasing or prospectng this old woodpecker hole - they did the same last year, but no-one moved in.

There are a fair number of Great Tits about too and I have been really surprised, when listening to them, at how loud they are and also at the variations they have in the same call. At one point I was stood under a large oak tree, trying to see who was calling so loudly, eventually I spotted this one -

And another a little way along, both either calling or listening for an answer. 

Through the tops of the trees, the Great Spotted Woodpeckers have been busy drumming, 'kicking' and chasing.  I have definately seen two females and at least one male.  They tend to frequent the same few trees and I can almost track them by their sound, although once spotted, they soon spiral away.  This male was on the lookout for the girls.

Lower down, the wrens have started to 'declare' and break cover - I caught a glimpse of a pair starting to 'tag' through the brambles - this was taken during a moments pause to sing:

Outside the woods, along the edge of the woodland it is all go as well; I saw my first Brimstone butterfly fluttering past as well as three Small Tortoisehells either sunbathing or flying about.

There were also a number of still rather drowsy, bees - I gently helped this one off the path, where he was in danger of getting squashed!

Flora -wise in the field and along the outside edge of the woods, speedwell has started to bloom, hawthorn and blackthorn are suddenly bursting with buds, the elderberries are full of shoots and the willows are waiting!

Germander Speedwell

Blackthorn (Sloe)


Woodbine (Honeysuckle)

Along one part of the treeline, I often see a little troupe of Long Tailed Tits, I also know that they have nested and bred somewhere within the blackthorn in the same area.  I was very excited to see two of them being very busy with nesting material and will be keeping a lookout for youngsters in a while!

Last, but not least, the rabbits have started to appear in the fields again - caught these two dining out, just before they spotted me.

There is a lot more 'Spring' to come, so do come back for another instalment in a while!!



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