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ukstormchaser (A.k.a The Bug Whisperer) 8:08pm, 30 December 2010
Hi all,

Although Winter may have just started, March isn't far away and already, they're are signs of Spring coming from our local wildlife and nature. I've noticed Collared Doves displaying since the beginning of the month, more recently a Dunnock displaying his wings to others around him near our garden and also the Wood Pigeons displaying again.

I've also noticed that birds like the Dunnock, Coal Tit and Great Tit have began singing again for the first time in a while round where I am.

If you've seen anything unusual that you may think could be a sign that the local wildlife knows Spring is coming, let us know in this thread. This way, we know what to look out for! :)
(1 to 100 of 165 replies)
Fenwalker1 PRO 6 years ago
We have blackbird, songthrush, dunnock, wren and robin singing and also coal, great, marsh and blue tits have been a lot noisier
i havent heard the robins singing in my neighbourhood for a month but now all of a sudden they are singing there heads off. and also seen a magpie carrying a piece of twig in its beak..
Derbyshire Harrier PRO 6 years ago
I was watching ravens displaying on Christmas Day. The rhubarb in my garden had started to be forced under the snow.
Quite a bit of bird song about now.
Interesting stuff. I wouldn't expect Blackbirds to be properly singing this early in the year! :-)

I've heard the Wood Pigeons cooing again since December 23rd along with the singing Great and Coal Tits and also a Song Thrush that was singing in the local woodland this morning. There were Woodpeckers drumming also!

I've also seen Blue Tits and Great Tits in pairs recently.
DaveMH PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by DaveMH (member) 6 years ago
I was at the Chase Nature reserve, Dagenham, Essex, where the mallards are already acting as if spring has sprung, one group of three males were squabbling over a single female, with others looking on, the charge is attempted quackicide.

Mallards shot 2

There are a couple more in my thread
Shoestring.uk [deleted] Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Shoestring.uk (member) 6 years ago
I have had the blue tits checking out the nest boxes with great enthusiasm.
Fenwalker1 PRO 6 years ago
UKstormchaser - The Blackbirds are only singing quietly at the moment.
Alex Berryman 6 years ago
I have seen mallards displaying to one another.
Blue Tits keep coming and going from my nest boxes and I have hear Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming ;)
Whistling Joe PRO 6 years ago
We have an old blackbird nest in the rose growing outside our front door. In the last couple of weeks it has been repaired and the local moggie has started taking an interest. Surely it's too early for blackbirds to start getting houseproud?
Blackcap1000 6 years ago
i have started to hear great tits and collard doves singing again!
Fenwalker1 - Yes, I heard one in sub-song recently also.

Whistling Joe - Yes, way too early I think. Keep an eye on them and keep us updated :-)

I've also seen Blue Tits checking out nest boxes and heard the Woodpeckers drumming.
fishandsnap 6 years ago
The songs started here almost immediately the snow melted, collared doves displaying started then too (or at least first time I noticed.) I was recently in the kitchen watching the feeder when I realised just how loud and varied the songs were from all around. I know it sounds weird, but if you listened and tuned init was almost deafening. (not the normal screaching and squabbling noise). Starlings have been singing duets on the garage roof. I have also noticed more "fighting" over the garden, particularly three wagtails, and a couple of male blackbirds and one female.

Something small (looks like sparrows) is regularly visiting the nesting box on the house on the opposite side of the road.
beebo7 PRO 6 years ago
Blue tits are in my bird box, the daffodils are pushing through and the robins are singing again...woo hooo!
Fishandsnap - I think it must've been the change in temperature that got them displaying again and I think the fighting may have been caused by the lack of food for the birds during the big freeze :-)

Beebo7 - Robins sing all year round, but recently they have been singing more than usual I think. Have you got any pictures of the Daffodils as of yet?
beebo7 PRO 6 years ago
yeah will post daff pics, will be in a day or two as i'm ill in bed with the cold bug, dont forget im further south than some of you, so we are ahead of you people regarding seasons.
Yes, you're right there.

I remember that from Qi! Hope you get well soon :-)
beebo7 PRO 6 years ago
i have a bunch of daffodils picked and in a vase on my coffee table uploaded but dont know how to get them on here? your help would be appreciated ...thanks
Just copy the html from the "Share This" box.

They look brilliant though. So, these were growing out in your garden? I know the further south you are, the sooner Spring comes but aren't they are bit early?
beebo7 PRO 6 years ago
we have a bad winter (lots of snow) this year so i am surprised also, the fields are full of daffodils and the pickers are here, the new crop of jersey royals are going in also, so we should get a 'double' successful crop, hope to get outdoors tomorrow and will take more pics of the fields of daffs on sunday weather permitting.
beebo7 PRO 6 years ago
joescott999 6 years ago
not so in durham the monkeys are asking for welders ? still bitter up here
beebo7 PRO 6 years ago
sorry to hear that joe move south for warmer climate its great!
"Mike Foster" PRO 6 years ago
Magpies are pairing up and swapping sticks and so on preparatory to nest building.
Fenwalker1 PRO 6 years ago
I watched a treecreeper singing this morning, such a beautiful little song! :-)

(I believe I may have heard this song before but not realised what it was as it is similar to a goldcrest song)
fishandsnap 6 years ago
Spring is on the way by fishandsnap

The flora is on the move.
Tollymore55 [deleted] 6 years ago
Sign of Spring, or just the mild weather? A Song Thrush singing it's heart out in the dark, at Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes (about 10 minutes ago.)
Tollymore - Yes, where I am there's one singing as I type this! Our one has been singing since yesterday. It's definately the same one as the noises it makes are just the same.
Derbyshire Harrier PRO 6 years ago
Seen some hazel flowers out today.
Hazel Flower
The wood sorrel leaves seem to be greening up considerably.
child of herne 6 years ago
Yesterday 17th noticed Winter Aconite in a Bedfordshire woodland coming into flower although the accompanying Snowdrops much less advanced. Have seen flowering Snowdrops in a garden but these could be an early cultivar or have been artificially sheltered. Slightly earlier than last year when no flowering Snowdrops for the festival of Imbolc on 2nd February.
Have also noticed many birds singing including Great Tit and Song Thrush and am hoping to see Ravens displaying in next couple of weeks.
joescott999 6 years ago
still looking 4 welders up here at durham the monkeys are all in a line brrrrrrrrrrrrr
cruisersoo 6 years ago
The Blue Tits and Great Tits are checking out the boxes in my garden,
The Robins are singing and fighting,
The Blackbirds are singing and also seem to be fighting.
Most of the Tits seem to be playing chase.
The Dunnocks are doing a bit of wing waving and the Wood Pigeons are displaying.
The Collar Doves are definately getting friendly.
It must be something in the Yorkshire air.
Jim Bennett 88 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Jim Bennett 88 (member) 6 years ago
Found this Black Caterpillar at work today, no idea what it is though!

mikethereservewarden Posted 6 years ago. Edited by mikethereservewarden (member) 6 years ago
I work at WWT London Wetland Centre and on Sunday I found an active juvenile Slow Worm under one of the reptile refugia on site. I submitted a report to the Surrey Reptile and Amphibian Group and they think it might be the earliest record they've ever had. I also found a Common Toad on the same day.
Mirrored-Images 6 years ago
Heard woodpecker drumming last week, thought it was a bit earlier than normal. Also was out photographing immature hazel catkins last Thursday and this week they are opened up and female flowers opening up as well. Must have been the unusually warm weather we had at the weekend in North Yorkshire.
Ian Dyer 6 years ago
There were a couple of mallards doing more than pairing on LLangorse lake today. Perhaps we'll have an early end to winter.
The robin in my garden is singing louder than usual, and is receiving a reply.
aerial2 PRO 6 years ago
We have Blue Tits checking out the nest boxes and the Robin seems to have paired up as I saw one pass food to another.
cruisersoo 6 years ago
I think that a pair of Robins are together in the garden and are looking at the ivy for a nesting spot. Its where a pair nested last year so it's looking good.
jo92photos PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by jo92photos (member) 6 years ago
Like Little Lambs' Tails by jo92photos

Hazel catkins are in abundance
Penny Chatfield Wildlife Camera Work (badger woman PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Penny Chatfield Wildlife Camera Work (badger woman (member) 6 years ago
I have seen a ladybird at our local wildlife conservation area. Also lots of moths and a few flys. Foxes mating, and starlings courting.
And blue tits and great tits poping in and out of our nest boxes.
Squirrels courting. growing grass and bulbs in places that where previously flooded.
Janurary Ladybird 2011
Silly_squirrel 6 years ago
I saw a ladybird out the other day.

Blue tits have been chasing eachother through the air in some sort of courtship- and they've been investigating my nest box.

lilac buds quite advanced in the garden. daffodil,crocus and snowdrop shoots pushing through the soil.

also noticed some little flying creatures dancing around in the sunlight yesterday afternoon- where these gnats ..? not sure if they'd be around or not!

I have two grey squirrels in our garden that have been courting for a while now- and I saw them mating the other day.
Peter Hedger 6 years ago
Eider Ducks Mating at the Arundel WWT last Sunday

Eider Ducks Mating
BBC Springwatch PRO 6 years ago
Hi all, inspired by this rather lovely thread, I've posted on the blog asking for people to tell us about the arrival of spring where they are.

Sheerlight PRO 6 years ago
the snowdrops and primrose are out already in my garden too
wakeuplittlesuzy PRO 6 years ago
I've noticed lots of birds singing too and more than one pair of blue tits are checking out the nesting boxes. The collared doves are definitely getting more friendly. I've also seen a pair of chaffinches and a pair of bullfinches in my garden whereas I've normally only seen them singly. The crows and magpies seem to be doing aerial displays which I've not seen before which I think must be part of their courtship displays.
The Great-Spotted Woodpeckers are busy drumming again in the local woodland. Here's a clip I got of a female doing just that yesterday :
I've noticed that the Green Woodpeckers have been making their laugh-like calls more frequently over the recent weeks, but if you go out and hear something drumming on a tree, this'll be a Great-Spotted Woodpecker as Green Woodpeckers do not participate in the drumming competitions. Green Woodpeckers are more like blackbirds, feeding on insects in the ground :-)
Maria-H PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Maria-H (member) 6 years ago
There were plenty of lambs in Wales on Saturday. This seems very early - but I wondered if different breeds lamb at different times?

Welsh Lamb
child of herne 6 years ago
The date of lambing is determined partly by the breed and partly by the farmer. Farmers will put the ewes to the tup early in order to get early lambs, whicch will be born under cover as early lambs will get a premium price at market.
Blackcap1000 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Blackcap1000 (member) 6 years ago
the daffodils in my garden are 4in above the ground. i have seen my first open snow drop of the season and lots of catkins. i have heard allot more birds singing too!
* Made of Stardust * 6 years ago
Same here Blackcap1000, and the birds have been checking out the bird boxes too.
laurencea PRO 6 years ago
Snowdrops popped up a few weeks ago and crocuses came out on the 23rd Jan near me (SW London).

I saw a blue tit investigating a nest box last sunday and today i saw a pair of long-tailed tits, not the usual chatter of them (is that the collective noun?).

there has been a Gt Spotted Woody drumming in the small park near work this week.
Gill Langridge PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Gill Langridge (member) 6 years ago
Nest building

The grebes are nest building, the swans are courting and the buds are opening on the trees.
A word or two of caution and only IMHO of course :-)

Grebes nest building, Blackbirds singing,and the buds opening.

Is that heartening to see the first week of February ? Well maybe yes but is it beneficial maybe not.
Look at today's weather, Damp, miserable, temperatures in single figures and wind blowing force 7 to 8.

We in the UK have just emerged from the coldest winter for twenty years and yet from what we read on this thread Spring is starting early. What will happen to those buds if they open to a biting easterly wind ? Where are the insects to feed any early Tit families?

The seasons may appear to have shifted a couple of weeks but the climate seems to be in chaos
Gill Langridge PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Gill Langridge (member) 6 years ago
mpgoodey this seems to be the case, but I can remember it snowing heavily in April in the past. Early 1960's (1963?) I was stuck in a blizzard in The Peak District on Easter Monday. So the climate is chaotic most of the time and our wildlife seem to cope failry well.
It does seem early for nest building but last year the grebes had at least 2 broods.
child of herne 6 years ago
Long tailed Tit (not a true tit but related to Babblers) always starts to breed earlier than the other Tits probably because they rely on many species of small invertebrate rather than being dependent on the Moth Caterpillars. Also that complex nest will take some time to build. Grebes have a very long incubation period for their size so again start breeding early. They can also multiple brood, I once saw young Great Crested in the late autumn. Corvids also start early, particularly Ravens which can be on eggs by the end of February, whilst larger Raptors also start early as they have a long incubation and a long period of dependency for the young. In the case of larger long-lived species a bad season is less critical as a breeding pair will have many seasons to breed. However in the case of Tits they have only one brood per year so bad weather when they are feeding chicks can cause a large population drop. Their large broods in a sucessful season help to counteract this.
Bluebells - Spring Is Coming....
The Bluebells are starting to pop out from the ground in the local woodland now and the Daffodils are also!
Silly_squirrel 6 years ago
Two collard doves have paired up in my garden. yesterday in the howling wind and rain the one bird waited for hours on a branch for the other bird to return . they sit breast to breast in our tree frequently now.

saw my first snowdrops a few days ago, in nextdoor's garden.

have seen a number of ladybirds out sunning themselves recently .

and pussy willow catkins are coming out on the tree in our garden now , which is lovely.
bobspicturebox PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by bobspicturebox (member) 6 years ago
i watched a robin and blackbird what appeared to start nest building both collecting leaves and disappearing into bush and ivy.Also a blue tit check out my sparrow x5 box and normal boxes
ukstormchaser (A.k.a The Bug Whisperer) Posted 6 years ago. Edited by ukstormchaser (A.k.a The Bug Whisperer) (member) 6 years ago
Woke up this morning to the sound of a Blackbird singing. Not very, noticeably loud, but clear enough. Nice to hear one of them again! :-)

Edit - 18:42-
Here's the link to a recording I got of one singing outside after sunset this evening. Beautiful soind. So nice to hear it again!
BBC Springwatch PRO 6 years ago
Just heard word from Jeremy Biggs of Pond Conservation that frogspawn has been spotted in the far west of Wales. Has anyone else spotted this yet, or better still photographed it?

That's very interesting. I haven't seen any myself yet but I will look at the ponds twice next weekend!
Silly_squirrel 6 years ago
hurrah! saw my first crocuses.
a long strip of yellow ones.
Derbyshire Harrier PRO 6 years ago
We are starting to see Common Nettles, Bluebells and Dog's Mercury becoming active in very sheltered areas.
Up on the moor, the red grouse are quite vocal.
Blackcap1000 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Blackcap1000 (member) 6 years ago
i heard my first blackbird of the season singing yesterday evening, and also saw loads of opened snow drops. i also saw two 7 spot ladybirds today in the sunshine.
Fenwalker1 PRO 6 years ago
The Goldcrests are now singing and seen snowdrops today for the first time
McRusty PRO 6 years ago
Possibly a frozen/recently defrosted leftover from last year, but it was fresh and alive.

Things to do on dark nights, No 90
devonteg PRO 6 years ago
Dippers courting on the moorland streams - delightful songs!
* Made of Stardust * 6 years ago
Flowers on my cherry blossom today.
Cherry blossom buds and flowers
SteveJM2009 PRO 6 years ago
The bursting willow pussies are a wonderful indication of the coming spring:

Hope springs anew!
BBC Springwatch PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by BBC Springwatch (admin) 6 years ago
I've written another spring sightings blog post. It's taken from Twitter, the blog and of course this very discussion. Hope you enjoy and please keep those sightings and images coming in.

While I'm on the subject, any frogs spawn photos out there?

Derbyshire Harrier PRO 6 years ago
No sign of frogspawn, or frogs yet but we have got some primroses flowering.
And Dog's Mercury
Dog's Mercury
Bluebell shoots
The Green Shoots Of Spring
Opposite leaved golden saxifrage

Opposite-Leaved Golden Saxifrage
Blackcap1000 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Blackcap1000 (member) 6 years ago
here is a photo i got of the ladybird i saw earlier today

Has spring sprung?
ukstormchaser (A.k.a The Bug Whisperer) Posted 6 years ago. Edited by ukstormchaser (A.k.a The Bug Whisperer) (member) 6 years ago
While in the local woodland at the weekend, I saw a huge group of Redwings in some of the trees but they weren't just sitting there making their usual calls, but actually singing quietly to themselves. The sound wasn't at all noticeably loud, but it was just like the Redwing song I heard on the RSPB website I think.

I believe they don't normally sing here in the UK, but maybe they are starting to get more vocal as this Winter is starting to fade into Spring.

I don't have a recording/clip of it, because I couldn't locate them in the trees and they were very wary, but if I see or hear this again when I'm out with my camera again, I'll try and get one.
© DerekB49 [deleted] 6 years ago
Robins are mating here in midland.. ( looking for nest not found)
blackbird and thurshes singing... bluetits visiting nest boxes with moss... catkins, crocuses, snowdrops etc out in flower and daffodils will be a week to 10 days
Blackcap1000 6 years ago
i saw lots of lambs in the fields today!
devonteg PRO 6 years ago
Ravens renewing their pair bond on the moor with tender sounds,
the quiet bell like 'klong' that some ref books mention
and also today a different one when they came together,
musically a 1/5th going upwards
and phonetically I'd say
'booo-wok booo-wok'
a real liquid distance travelling sound!
Today I saw a male Blackbird singing loud and clear at one of the local retail parks earlier in the afternoon and I also heard one again this evening as it got dark but a bit closer to home.

Something to listen for in the next few weeks is the song of the male Chaffinch. Beautiful sound and as we get further into the year, they'll start singing more and more frequently.
Fenwalker1 PRO 6 years ago
Chaffinches are singing now :-)
All thought we have five or six days of grey sky's and rain the first day of sunshine makes you aware the world of nature progresses forward with the little warmth in the air and the soil. Whilst we moan about the weather

I have my new Shoots on

Then the snowdrops, always make you aware there is a change about to happen from two weeks ago 30th Jan
Snowdrop or Sun drop
Snowdrops are now popping up in the local area and I spotted a nesting pair of Feral Pigeons under a local underpass yesterday :-)
Derbyshire Harrier PRO 6 years ago
We have plenty of snowdrops now, I saw some crocuses out yesterday. On the high ground the ravens and red grouse are very active. The mountain hares are still in their winter coats, hopefully they will start to moult soon, as they are a little to visible at the moment.
Blackcap1000 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Blackcap1000 (member) 6 years ago
Today i heard my first male Chaffinch singing of the season, and I also found a honey bee basking in the sun. The Forsythia in my garden has just started to flower too. And lastly, i saw a Magpie flying with a stick in its beak!!!!
Fenwalker1 PRO 6 years ago
Birds singing! I am hearing most birds now its beautiful!

Dunnocks sing beautifully too by Fenwalker1
Gill Langridge PRO 6 years ago
aerial2 PRO 6 years ago
Spotted this morning, some sort of caterpillar on a Snowdrop.

Caterpillar On A Snowdrop
Simon& Judy PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Simon& Judy (member) 6 years ago
think spring has definatly sprung they say birds pair up around 14 feb!!
Fenwalker1 PRO 6 years ago
A Mistle Thrush singing today - too far to get a photo sadly!
(I think their song is prettier than a Song Thrush!)
ryank005 6 years ago
first daises of the year are popping up all over the place
Purple Centipede~Jack 6 years ago
Seen lots of insects emerging & some collared doves mating yesterday.
GVG Imaging PRO 6 years ago
crocuses have sprung 17/2/2011
Blackcap1000 6 years ago
I saw lots of yellow Crocuses today!
devonteg PRO 6 years ago
here in Devon back in mid january I came across a dead female frog that was clearly egg laden -
pic not posted as its revolting!
Today I came across this


which looks very much like viable frogspawn,
well it would have been if it had been half a mile further down the hill..
Silly_squirrel 6 years ago
Daffodils are forming buds. heather is flowering!
The local riverbank is carpeted with purple,orange,yellow and white crocuses (and lots of snowdrops)
bluebell shoots are popping up in my garden :) :) :)
and the pair of collared doves are still all loved up!
Hazel catkins...
Signs of spring: hazel catkins  by Silly_squirrel

Fair maids of february  by Silly_squirrel

Crocus  by Silly_squirrel

Heather in bloom...
Signs of spring : flowering heather by Silly_squirrel

Collared dove pair
Collared dove pair by Silly_squirrel
The local blackbirds around work have been singing for a couple of weeks now. Also, earlier this week, the gret crested grebes were just getting into the swing of their courtship dance and the coots were starting to squabble, with one full blown foot fighting episode just about visible behind the reeds.
Gale's Photographs PRO 6 years ago
I found a mound of Frogs spawn in our school pond on 16th Feb, didn't get a photo though, also my brother has some in his pond......though none in mine yet.
All in Cardiff, South Wales.
beebo7 PRO 6 years ago
Daff shadow...
Fenwalker1 PRO 6 years ago
Lesser Celendine starting to flower by the stream
devonteg PRO 6 years ago
some of our frogs seem to have forgotten where the ponds are!
I know we've had a lot of rain recently but...

This puddle is on a fairly broad track aka Dicky's path on Exmoor -
between Sweetworthy Coombe and Bagley Coombe

frogspawn puddle
Derbyshire Harrier PRO 6 years ago
We had a few stonechats return to the moor last weekend, despite the covering of snow.
Purple Centipede~Jack 6 years ago
Saw my first butterfly of the year today! A Red Admiral basking on our path!
Heather*C PRO 6 years ago
Seen today

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