Early spring brings new life and excitement in nature – from dozing frogspawn in park lakes to blackbirds’ raspy “onk-a-lee” song, as well as blooms like daffodils, crocuses and tulips appearing across woodlands and hedgerows.
Tree buds blooming are an unmistakable sign of spring, while hazel catkins form long “lamb’s tails”.
Spring’s early signs can be seen both above and below ground. As days grow longer and brighter, birds begin singing again, while frogs surface in British ponds. Flowers also start blooming while tree buds expand indicating new life beginning to take form.
Snowdrops, one of the earliest blooming flowers to appear in Britain, have already started appearing in parks and woodlands this year, alongside crocuses, daffodils and forsythia in its cheerful yellow. Together these colorful signs of spring help brighten up an otherwise grey landscape after months of grey winter skies.
Birds are some of the first animal signs of spring, signalling its arrival early each March with singing robins, blackbirds and other songbirds being heard as they search for partners in early March. Listen out at dawn in coming weeks for the incredible dawn chorus featuring song thrushes, blackcaps and song thrushes along with additional species like chiffchaffs and sand martins joining from further away!
Many birds are busy building nests and beginning to lay eggs during these early months of the year, and may even surprise us by hatching one from its egg if we’re lucky! But please do not approach if you see one; their fragile young are extremely delicate; adults take great care to hide their nests away from predators until it is safe for their young to emerge.
Frogs and toads signal spring’s arrival by engaging in their annual ritual of spawning. From mid February through March, park lakes and reservoirs across the country become aquatic stages for some of nature’s strangest courtship displays, featuring male and female frogs dancing their intricate courtship dance of mimicry.
Other telltale botanical signs of spring include the swelling and breaking off of tree buds – known as ‘bud break’- and the reappearance of deciduous tree leaves. You might also notice reddish brown berries of hawthorns, blackthorns and other bushes turning yellow as their fruit begins to bear; these serve as food sources for bees and other wildlife alike.
After hibernation, hedgehogs, dormice and bats resurfacing is another sure sign that spring has come. Although you won’t see these nocturnal mammals during the daytime hours, on warm evenings you should hear their distinct calls.
Spring will soon arrive when trees sprout green shoots – and you might just catch sight of some buds already bursting on deciduous species such as pears, cherries and hawthorn trees! Catkins – which contain young leaves and flowers called catkins that release pollen to fertilise female flowers which then go on to develop into fruitful female blossoms – mark one of the earliest signs that spring has arrived! Look out for them at local parks or woodlands – they could be one of its earliest indicators!
After spring arrives, snowdrops and daffodils typically begin appearing in their natural settings. This early blooming event provides welcome respite from winter’s long reach while giving a beautiful show of colour to enjoy.
If the weather permits, you’ll also be able to witness trees beginning to bloom – a significant milestone that marks spring’s arrival and marks winter’s departure. Tree flowers and fruits provide food sources for bees and insects when blooms appear – providing bees and insects a much-needed food source.
Blackthorn flowers will be among the first to show their faces this spring, followed by hawthorn in late March and then cherry blossom by April’s end. Meanwhile, forsythia’s vibrant yellow blooms serve as another early indicator.
As temperatures warm up, Mourning Cloak and Comma butterfly moths can often be seen flitting across warm days in large numbers. Puddles on roadsides often contain dusty yellow powder from tree pollen.
Young children often begin learning the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees in Year 1, so it’s beneficial for them to witness these early signs of spring in their own environment. Watch as leaves begin to unfurl before summer’s warm sun begins dappling through. It will help them appreciate nature and understand that, although it might feel cold at times, new life always emerges!
After winter’s grey expanses have faded away, it’s wonderful to witness nature return with its vibrant blooms of colour in flowers and blossoming trees. Silver maple flowers often herald spring here in the floodplain forest – their pollen-producing flowers appear around April 1st or all female (seed-producing flowers). Bloodroot also makes its debut early. Our floodplain forest contains deep rich soil which brings this strange purple flower out quickly each springtime.
Another sure sign of spring are daffodils, which typically begin appearing around mid-February in woodlands, parks and gardens around the UK. Due to a mild winter this year, they appeared earlier than normal.
Primroses, bluebells, crocuses and other wildflowers make an appearance during this season of renewal; look out for primroses, bluebells and crocuses too! Also keep your eye out for unusual-looking frogspawn which often appears in ponds around the country; once their winter hibernation period ends they’re free to make their mark again on life!
As the days grow longer and warmer, make sure to set aside time for yourself outside. Explore local green spaces, nature reserves or gardens in order to take in all of the signs of spring – bluebell walks and wildflower foraging are great family activities during this season!
Now is a good time to check whether bulbs planted last autumn have sprouted. The spring equinox occurs on 20 March and marks when daylight levels across the UK equalize, giving us more sunny days as trees blossom, flowering plants bloom, wildflowers come into full bloom, bumblebees begin gathering pollen from these spring blooms as dormice and bats emerge to look for sustenance in search of food sources.
As with animals, many plants can also track the seasons by tracking when days lengthen and shorten – typically this signals spring’s arrival.
As soon as temperatures warm up, trees begin to bloom – an indicator that growth season has begun for deciduous plants such as birch, cherry and oak trees. Take time out of your day to appreciate their beauty as you see their buds begin to open!
Another sure sign of spring is the appearance of flowering shrubs and wildflowers – forsythia is an ideal example – which blooms bright yellow flowers as soon as winter has ended. When these blossoms appear, we know warmer days lie ahead!
Snowdrops, daffodils, and crocuses are among the more visible early spring blooms to keep an eye out for. These bulbs store energy that triggers them to bloom as days lengthen and temperatures warm.
As spring progresses, you will begin to see new buds appear on deciduous trees such as ash, beech, cherry and maple; these bud openings usually occur between mid-February and March. And if you live in an area where maples are grown, chances are good you may already smell sweet liquid gold seeping out from beneath their branches as the sugaring process begins.
As you walk with young children, ask them to notice the differences between closed buds on one day and open blossoms the following. Also encourage them to observe how each flower’s lifespan varies over time as well as changes in its colors.
In the woods, you can also observe hazel trees for signs of spring. Catkins – male flowers that resemble little grey sausages on ends of twigs – become covered with pollen as they blow in spring breezes, providing an early sign that spring has arrived – sometimes as early as January in some places! Additionally, you should keep an eye out for new buds appearing on shrubs such as red-osier dogwood.