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Six signs that spring has sprung

After a long and wet winter, spring has well and truly arrived in the New Forest. In this blog post our Lead Ranger Gillie Hayball tells you six signs that spring has sprung in the National Park.

1.  Spring Flowers. Longer days and warming sun encourage a burst of colour across the Forest, with the emergence of some impressive wild flowers. Make sure you look out for the sight (and smell!) of wood anemones, early flowering orchids, wild garlic, lesser celandines, bluebells and late primroses.

Spring also sees blooms appearing above the forest floor, with willow catkins and blackthorn flowers providing bursts of colour at eye level.

orchid

2.  Ground nesting birds. The New Forest is a stronghold for lapwings, curlews, woodlark and a multitude of other ground nesting birds. They breed on the Forest’s open heathlands and wetlands, making them vulnerable to disturbance. Please keep yourself and your dog on the main tracks during the nesting season (March to July).

More information can be found here.

lapwing

Northern lapwing

3.  Frog spawn. Frogs and toads start spawning in the spring and the New Forest is an incredibly important habitat for these amphibians with its system of streams, ponds and bogs. Frogs lay their eggs in clumps whereas toads lay their eggs in long chains up to two metres in length.

4.  Bud burst. Having dropped off in the autumn, the leaves on our deciduous trees like oak, beech and birch burst out from new buds in spring. Take a walk through the beautiful ancient and ornamental woodlands of the New Forest and see how many different types, colours and shapes of leaves you can see.

beech buds

Beech tree buds

5. Bird song. The Forest comes alive with bird song in spring as migrant birds return from Europe and Africa. Make sure you tune your ears to the sounds of chiff-chaffs, willow warblers, song thrush and the cuckoo amongst others – all sure signs that summer is on the way. See a timeline of bird migration to the UK at http://www.bto.org/about-birds/migration-timeline.

6.  Butterflies. The warmer weather of spring sees some species of butterflies starting to reappear in the Forest. Brimstone, peacock and red admiral butterflies can all be seen if you look carefully enough as you walk around the National Park.

More information can be found here.

red admiral

Red Admiral butterfly

This entry was posted by on Monday 31/03/2014

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