The days are getting longer, the mornings and evenings are lighter, the temperature is warming up. Everywhere, life is beginning to bloom, from the blossom on the trees to the daffodils in the fields.
At this time of year it’s easy to spot the signs of spring in the trees and plants, but spotting birds and animals walking up and returning is a little trickier sometimes. You need to know what to look out for.
One of our favourite signs of spring is finding frogspawn in ponds and lakes and even, sometimes, large puddles! Frogspawn is the eggs of frogs and toads, and looks like little balls of jelly with a black dot in the middle. This black dot is what will become first a tiny tadpole, then over time a baby frog.
The transformation is amazing, and if you find a pond with frogspawn in it you should visit it often to see if you spot the tadpoles growing, hatching, then developing into frogs!
Hello your highness! If you’ve spotted any bumblebees out and about in the warmer weather, then you’ve probably spotted a queen bee. These regal female bees have made it through a cold, hungry winter and are on the search for food in the form of nectar from all those spring flowers that have burst into bloom.
Once she’s satisfied her hunger, the queen will then begin to hunt for a safe place to build her new nest. She’ll start building a mound of pollen and wax, and lay her first brood of eggs. Once these hatch, she has the start of a hive!
There’s lots of brilliant information about the bumblebee lifecycle on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.
Return of the birds
Listen out in the mornings and evenings and you’ll notice that the once again the birds are signing! Lots of birds return from more Southernly parts of the world in the spring now the temperature is warming up, and it’s them you’ll hear singing in the trees and hedgerows in the mornings.
The birds you hear in the morning are robins, chiffchaffs, blackbirds, skylarks and thrushes, and the RSPB has a wonderful explanation of why birds sing in the morning.
If you want to be able to identify a bird by its song, then have a look and a listen to this brilliant guide on the Wildlife Watch website. Its got recordings of many of the songbirds you’ll start to hear at this time of year, so soon you’ll be able to tell which bird is which even if you can’t see them!
Useful links and more information
- What lives in forests Roots & Shoots activity
- The National Trust’s top spots for spotting the signs of spring
- 8 signs of spring to look out for by the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust
- First signs of spring ID for kids by The Woodland Trust