Nature’s alarm clock is awakening the landscape; fresh buds are emerging, colourful flowers are blooming, birdsong is filling the air and just like that, wildlife is back to its bustling day job. You can almost feel the kinetic energy in the air as the environment once again become a hive of activity. Essex Wildlife Trust highlight some of the wonderful species and spectacles you can expect to see this season.
Starting earlier than most, the common toad can be active from as early as February. During spring you can begin to hear the familiar croaking of common toads as they look to impress mates, followed shortly by jelly-like spawn filling ponds and lakes. Toad spawn appears in long chains attached to vegetation, unlike the round clumps of frog spawn. One of best things you can do for wildlife in your garden is create a pond, why not give it a go this spring? Find how on the Trust's action page.
Get a ringside seat for the match of the season. Known for their incredible speed, ‘mad March hares’ are also well-known for their boxing abilities. This punch-up occurs between a female hare snubbing the over-attentive advances of a male hare. Look out for them across fields, coastal marshes and heathlands in Essex.
Recognised for their juicy plump sloe berries in winter, the blackthorn tree starts spring with a glorious display of snowy white blossom. Usually menacing in appearance because of their long thick spines, the explosion of delicate white flowers brightens up hedgerows across Essex as this time of the year. Unlike hawthorn trees, a blackthorn will flower first then unfurl its leaves, so look out for them blooming this month.
Warmer temperatures are tempting the return of sunbathing serpents. Being cold-blooded, reptiles must warm up using external sources, so keep an out for them basking. One exciting species to add to your list this spring is the adder, this is the UK’s only venomous snake species and can be identified by the striking black zigzag pattern that runs along their length.
So, shake off any remaining winter blues, lace up your walking boots and get out to enjoy this zestful season in all its enchanting glory! Find your nearest Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve to explore here.