I don't know why but it's felt like a long winter this year, perhaps it's because the cold has come in fits and starts. Pockets of mild weather made us think 'winter's over' only for the frost to come back.

But now we're on the home straight and the return of spring is in evidence.

Looking for wildlife can seem like a bit of a chore through February. Let's be honest there's not loads to see. But the coming of spring can bring with it some of nature's great wonders.

Here are a few things to keep an eye out on your first walks this spring:

Hares

If you live near fields, you may be lucky enough to bear witness to the most iconic March spectacle, the boxing hare.

You may not know that this is actually the behaviour of female hares trying to shoo away amorous males, not a competition between two males:

Frogs

In southern parts of the UK, frog spawn was laid as early as January but by now it should have be growing and turning into tadpoles throughout the UK. 

See if you can spot some of these animated apostrophes wriggling in the shallows of a pond. 

This is a time lapse video of new frogspawn expanding in water:

Bumblebees

You may have already seen some thumb sized blobs buzzing by in mid air. These huge bumblebees are the queens and the only one's that survive the winter.

They'll be setting about making a new hive at this time of year, the drones are smaller and look like this:

  

This is actually a cuckoo bumblebee. These bees hide their eggs in the nests of other bumblebees so they don't have to do any of the parenting.  

Daffodils 

Most of the daffs you see nodding their yellow heads in the breeze are domestic versions.

They're still beautiful, but if you're walking somewhere a bit more remote than a town park (like Wordsworth did) it's a special treat to see the smaller, paler wild ones.

Now's a great time to start our Wild Challenge, we have an activity dedicated to signs of spring

Anonymous