Signs of Spring
by Carla Hill
We’ve had an unusually mild start to the year this year, so since January I have been saying on a (probably far too) regular basis ‘it really feels like spring today!’. Maybe wishful thinking, as spring still isn’t quite here yet, though slowly but surely signs of its arrival are starting to show. The first thing I noticed was Daffodils beginning to spring up around the estate, those distinctive flat green leaves appearing in clumps all over the grass. It wasn’t long before they began to flower, the bright yellow flowers bringing some joy to the horrific windy days we’ve been subjected to recently.
Walks through the elms revealed several patches of Snowdrops, and it was one day when I was admiring these that one of my favourite things that has happened in the past month occurred. I had been looking at the Snowdrops when two of the Elms Robins appeared and stayed around me for a while. A friendly couple walking through stopped and we had a brief chat about the Robins, and the lady very kindly offered me a handful of mealworms, allowing me to do something I have been wanting to do for a very long time – feed a Robin from my hand. I managed to get some videos of it landing on me and it’s amazing to watch how each time it came for more, it would stay on my hand for a little longer as it learnt I could be trusted.
While I enjoy seeing the spring flowers, it’s the wildlife I’m really excited for. I’ve seen a few bees about recently, as well as a wasp that flew into the moffice while I was in there a few weeks ago much to my dismay, as I am not a fan of wasps. The obs trap has made it out a couple of times with a few different species of moth caught already, my first seen of the year being a Hebrew Character, a moth that will soon be numerous in the trap. I can’t wait for moth numbers to pick enough for it to be worth me putting my little actinic out around the recording area again, there’s no better way to start the day than with a nice full moth trap to sort through! I keep occasionally checking the reptile mats around the estate but haven’t had anything under them yet, though I doubt it’ll be long until there is. I’m also still waiting on my first butterfly of the year and looking forward to seeing what it will be – I’m predicting a Red Admiral or Peacock!
Walks have also recently started to be accompanied by a symphony of birdsong, something that I was initially very happy to hear until I realised that, just as I’d started to get to grips with learning the calls of different birds, I now have a lot of songs to learn. Songs are so far proving to be a little easier than calls, and some are already becoming familiar. My favourite recently has been Mistle Thrush song, and I have enjoyed a few walks around the Green Wall in the past few weeks with their mournful melody a constant soundtrack. One morning, I was particularly pleased to have one sat right above me singing it’s heart out outside Royal St. Georges Golf Club! It won’t be long until the songs I’m getting used to are joined by many more as spring migration begins and birds arrive here to breed. Hopefully spring will also bring with it some nice scarcities to the bay!