Spring is by far my most favourite time of the year. It is a time of warmer weather, lighter evenings, buds bursting, animal travellers returning, new life, and new beginnings. It is a time to refresh and revive, gain new strength to move forward, and celebrate what spring means for us and our wild world.
For me the first snowdrops whisper of spring coming, and blooming yellow flowers sing of new starts, but for me spring truly begins with the return of the chiffchaff. The song of the chiffchaff epitomises the feeling that spring is here, and that the season now has hold of the landscape. It is much harder though for me to sum up just one or two favourite spring moments, as I love all that spring has to offer. I gain joy in moments ranging from bursting cherry blossom and the first oak leaves to fox cubs and the return of swallows. However, a star of spring for me has to be when our woodlands become carpeted with the brilliant blues and heady scent of native bluebells. Walking amongst these sensational flowers has given me many happy memories growing up and moving into my adult years.
Spring 2021 has been a tumultuous spring to say the least. Despite this, I have tried to make the most of the season and all it has to offer, rain or shine. Many of you too will have done the same, even though many people I know do not share their spring moments with others. With this in mind, when celebrating spring this year on my blog, I wanted to focus on more than what spring means to me and to include some of my friends and family in my celebration. So, I asked them the questions: What signs make you think that spring has arrived? And what is your favourite thing about the spring season (out in nature)? Here’s what they had to offer:
Nick Tuke, my Dad and farmer, Dorset
The signs that make me think that spring has arrived come in the form of spring flowers, such as daffodils, primroses and bluebells, or seeing the first swallows. My favourite part of spring has to be being out first thing in the morning, when the sense of bright, fresh, greenness, and new life, fills you with a sense of optimism for the year ahead, before the summer heat dulls everything.
Amanda Tuke, my Aunt and London-based naturalist
I always feel that spring has arrived when I see my first hairy-footed flower bee in the garden. The females have gorgeous black furry bodies and they have a very distinctive and energetic way of flying.
There’s a point in spring when a number of my favourite grasses are all finally in flower and looking particularly pretty, in particular Sweet Vernal Grass, Meadow Foxtail, Wood Melick and Wood Millet.
Kasia Starosta, my friend and member of Conservation Action, Dorset
Springtime starts for me with the first glimpse of the curlews flying inland to breed. It’s all about magic “curleee” in the air and familiar shape cutting across the sky. Looking at them I remember some of the names people were giving them. Old French ‘corliu’ the messenger, latin ‘Numenius arquata’ – new moon, bow shaped bill bird… There comes the reflection how far we have travelled from nature, not knowing what species are living around us now, not mentioning naming them after changing seasons and planets.
Judyth Tuke, my Granny, Dorset
For me the first sign that spring has arrived is seeing the first swallow over the garden. This year though, they did not arrive until the end of April.
The things I enjoy most in spring are watching the first flowers opening in the wild or in my garden.
Emily White, my friend, software engineer and writer, Winchester
I know Spring has arrived when it is announced by the smell of grass in the air, flooding my mind with memories of Spring Term lunchtimes spent sat outside on my school’s field. The coming of Spring is further confirmed by birds having conversations ever later into the evenings.
My favourite thing about Springtime out in nature is not actually something the landscape does itself but the way the Springtime sun presents it, showcasing the vivid colours of the fields. This is much unlike the Summer sun which makes everything far too yellow. However, if I had to pick something that happened within nature it would certainly be the sudden appearance of hoards of ducklings.
Marilyn Tuke, my Mum and my nature guru, Dorset
I feel like spring has arrived when I see the first yellows of primroses, celandines, daffodils, and cowslips when walking through the countryside. My favourite part of the season though, is when on early morning walks in spring, I hear the birds singing, such as chiffchaffs, chaffinches, great tits, blue tits, and many more, and I am able to pick out and know each of these individual species. A special spring favourite too is seeing barn owls hunting close to home at this time of year.
Ellie McNeall, my friend and geography teacher, Hampshire
I think that spring has arrived with the signs of life which start to come, such as the daffodils and the buds on the trees, which symbolise new beginnings. My favourite parts of spring are the daffodils and bluebells which come out at this time of year, and start to show that new life is coming after the cold winter. Also, I enjoy seeing lots of baby animals everywhere, especially little baby lambs jumping and little ducklings.
Andy Dell, my uncle, Northamptonshire
Spring is usually close when you see the first sign of the brimstone butterfly. They manage to find the first spot of warm sunshine, but in the changing climate other butterflies are now earlier visitors to the garden especially the purple emperor in this area. Also, the horse chestnut is probably the earliest tree, the big sticky buds the first to show. As the seasons change and merge in to each other it is becoming more difficult to define the start of spring. My favourite part of spring though, is when the sap starts to rise and you start to see the first bright vibrant greens in the trees and hedgerows, the more insistent bird song as the birds seem to reawaken to the prospect of better times, and the little owls are on the wing.
Emma Rogan, my friend, IT auditor and nature enthusiast, Manchester
Spring is in the air when the first bees start to appear in the garden, and when my favourite walk by the river becomes completely carpeted with wild garlic!
There are so many things I love about the spring season! I love being able to sit outside in the fresh air and read my book with a cup of tea, and this year I’ve found so much happiness in getting to know the wild residents of our garden. Mr and Mrs Blackbird visit daily for their plate of mealworms, and our friendly neighborhood fox is a regular nighttime visitor. I also have a special place in my heart for bees (Manchester girl!), so seeing big fluffy bees out on their travels is always lovely. I like going on walks along our local river with my mum and seeing how many different birds we can spot, particularly when we spot proud mum ducks with their ducklings.
Thank you to my friends and family that took part and have helped me out with this spring celebration!