Top 10 wildlife in Spring
Woodland Spring flowers
Visit one of Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s ancient woodland nature reserves in spring and you are guaranteed to enjoy a spectacular range of colourful wildflowers. In March and early April look for the brilliant yellow of Marsh Marigolds growing in the wetter areas or spot purple violets, yellow primroses or the white stars of wood anemones.
Look for stunning displays of bluebells in late April and early May. Follow your nose to find carpets of Wild Garlic. Treading on the leaves creates an overpowering smell of garlic but its white flowers, often in their thousands, are spectacular. NWT reserves to visit include Foxley Wood, Thursford Wood, Ashwellthorpe Wood, Honeypot Wood and Wayland Wood. Each one of these reserves has a very different character but in all of them you can be sure to find spring flowers in profusion.
Peewits or plovers?
Whatever you chose to call them the aerial displays of lapwings over coastal marshes in March and April are a great spring spectacle. Lapwings are surely one of our most beautiful birds. They may look black and white in the distance but take a closer look – in sunshine their plumage shines myriad shades of glossy purples and greens. Did you spot the orange feathering under their tails? And at the other end that fantastic crest – slightly longer in the males than the females.
Combine all these showy colours with what has to be one of the most amazing of spring displays – spring is lapwing show-time. They tumble, twist and turn, throwing themselves headlong towards the ground and then skywards, calling as they perform. You can enjoy all this and more on an early spring morning at NWT Cley Marshes, NWT Holme Dunes, NWT Hickling Broad or on the grazing marshes at NWT Upton Broad and Marshes.
Marsh harriers doing mid-air flying stunts
Nightjars at sunset
Small things with wings!
Spring is a time when all sorts of flying insects appear. Many are very beautiful. Marvel at the sheer diversity and exuberance of Norfolk’s many butterflies, dragonflies, moths, ladybirds and mayflies this spring. If you can find a hand-lens or magnifying glass to look at some of our smaller winged creatures you will discover a whole new, world of colour, pattern and extraordinary structures.
For butterflies and dragonflies including two rare species, Swallowtail butterfly and Norfolk hawker dragonfly visit NWT Upton Broad, NWT Hickling Broad or NWT Ranworth Broad.
Mad March hares
And listen out for bird song...
Open your ears as well as your eyes this spring. Listen out for the unmistakeable voice of the cuckoo from mid-April or the diva of the bird world, a nightingale in full song, in early May. Both these species have declined so let us know where and when you hear them by phoning the NWT Wildline on 01603 598333. Bird song is all around us in spring but make a resolution to get up one morning, even if it's just in your garden, and enjoy the dawn chorus. For details of NWT early morning bird walks visit the website.