March and April – what to look out for
While some winter birds are yet to fly back north to their nesting sites, spring fever is definitely on its way. March and April is such an exciting time of year with plenty of spring wildlife to look out for.
Buds are budding and the first blossom of blackthorns are pretty as a picture. The blackthorn hedgerow by the North Pool Hide is worth a look, open the side shutters to see what birds are among the blossom. Listen out for the distinctive call of the chiffchaff, he calls out his name.
Butterflies and insects
Look out for the first butterflies during the next month:
New spring-time arrivals
The distinctive Wheatear with its “bandit” face mask comes all the way from Africa for the summer. You might seen them anywhere, this one was on a washed up log on the salt marsh.
Many of our residents are showing off their breeding plumage.
For most of the year Black-headed gulls have white heads with just a telltale white spot behind the eye. But this time of year they actually live up to their name – well nearly, the head is actually brown!
Soon our wildlife will be looking to nest and rear young so this is the time for courtship displays.
Male shelducks display to impress a mate, though clearly it is not working here! She looks decidedly disinterested. Look out for them on the foreshore and on North Pool Island.
Or you may be lucky enough to see oystercatchers strutting their stuff on the North Pool island or on the foreshore.
Water Voles are becoming more active in the rhynes. Now is a chance to glimpse one swimming. It gets harder to see them once all the reeds start growing.
While on the Salt Marsh
Sea scurvy grass in flower on the salt marsh. It is rich in vitamin C and sailors used to eat it to prevent scurvy.
There is so much going on among our spring wildlife so this is just a taster of things to look out for.