After being hit by stormy winds and snowy blizzards from the east, we’re all waiting in anticipation for spring to finally arrive. The lake is no longer frozen over, the birds are happily chirping away and the sunshine is now beginning to appear once again from behind those grey clouds. Here at RSPB Sandwell there’s signs of new growth all over the reserve, from the delicate blackthorn blossoms to the budding purple of fresh crocuses.
Snowdrops are one of the first flowers to bloom during the change in seasons. They’re not fans of warm weather so the crisp winter air is perfect for them. You can usually find snowdrops dotted around in little white bundles in shady areas, especially in woodlands.
Next come crocuses – part of the iris family. These little flowers are a great burst of colour amidst the blues and greys of winter with their vivid purple or yellow petals. Crocuses can bloom as early as February, and sometimes January if the weather is warm enough.
As we move into March we can see plants such as the dainty primrose start to flower, usually clustered together under hedgerows or on shady banks.
We have several blackthorn hedgerows here at RSPB Sandwell, and they provide a source of both shelter and food for our resident wildlife. The flowers of a blackthorn tree usually bloom between March and April, and can be recognised by their five creamy white petals, which can look similar to hawthorn blossom, but they don’t appear until late April/May.
The leaves of the blackthorn are particularly popular with lackey and common emerald caterpillar moths as they provide them with a great source of food. Later on in the year, when the berries (known as ‘sloe berries’) appear, garden birds such as robins, blackbirds, song thrushes and starlings will come along and eat them.
We’ve had quite a few sightings recently including fieldfare, song thrush, redwing, kingfisher and a little egret over in the marsh. We’re also very excited about several of our upcoming events including a Good Friday Fun Day and of course our Easter Egg Trails! You can find out more about those on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/RSPBWestMidlandsWarwickshire/events/?ref=page_internal
Whatever the weather we always look forward to greeting our visitors, both old and new, and showing them what’s going on around the reserve. Whether you’re an avid bird-watcher, have an interest in botany or conservation, or simply love being outdoors, there’s always something new and exciting to discover!
Photography credit: Emily White
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