Most people are familiar with the sounds of Spring Watch announcing its return to TV each year, with its hidden cameras keeping an eye on the antics of the creatures living in and around the farm site in the south of England. With the glimpses of sun and signs of spring, we decided that we should do our own bit of Spring Watching. Well, not in the sense of Bill Oddie keeping tabs on frog action in the local pond, or Kate Humble spying on badgers, but that is an idea for the future perhaps. Looking around in the hedgerows and gardens, there really is the sense that spring has finally sprung. Of course we won’t be safe in the knowledge that the frosts are gone for a good month yet, but everywhere you look there are many varieties of daffodils nodding their heads in the breeze (perhaps wind would be more accurate, especially for how breezy today has been!) and crocuses opening their petals to the sun, in shades of lavender and yellow, white and deep purple.
Apart from the colourful displays of spring bulbs decorating the towns and villages, I was really pleased over the weekend to find a cluster of frogspawn tucked away in the corner of the pond. It’s good to know that some of the local frogs managed to escape the clutches of the many patrolling cats of the neighbourhood! I always think there’s nothing like the colour and new life of spring to make you feel happier; whether it’s the anticipation of watching those tiny black dots grow bigger, then escape their jelly homes to test the water as tadpoles, until their little limbs develop and they seek out dry land; or the joyous bounding energy of new-born lambs dancing across the fields, or even down to the first unfurling leaves of a willow tree that has stood naked all winter with its whip-like branches hanging about its trunk.
It shouldn’t be long now either, til the blackbirds, who this morning were scuffling around in the last piles of brown, curled up sycamore leaves that never got swept up in the autumn, are building their nests and growing the family. Sometimes I think it can be easy in the hustle and bustle of daily life to be walking along and not even notice these little signs of the seasons changing. Before you know it, summer can be round the corner (I know we’re talking Britain, but I like to try and be hopeful!) and the chance to enjoy the springtime has gone for another year. The British countryside has such a lot to offer too, as do parks and gardens in more urban areas, that there is no reason for anybody to miss out on the enjoyment of watching the seasons go by.
We want to kick-start people’s love and awareness of British wildlife in a number of ways. By providing tips and ideas for small projects that you can try in any garden, and ideas for creating larger wildlife areas, we hope that lots of small actions across the country can add together to make a really big impact on British wildlife. We’ll be looking to give you ways of recycling old junk into homes for birds and insects, building your own animal houses, and keeping an eye out to see if any new neighbours move in! Looking out for the creatures that share our world can be fun for children of all ages, and doesn’t need to cost a penny.
By providing havens and safety for creatures, and by helping people learn about these wonderful creatures, from hedgehogs to butterflies, bats to bluetits, we believe we can keep Britain a place where wildlife can live and flourish.