Spring is well on the way and many birds and flowers will be appearing for the first time, but is often a cold month.
Plants beginning to flower include stork’s-bill, ivy-leaved toadflax, sea kale and sea campion. The flowers of the willow species are a great attraction to many insects, especially bees and wasps. Several species of butterfly should emerge during the month including speckled wood, comma, orange-tip and peacock.
The saline lagoons will be busy with hundreds of Sandwich tern, black-headed and Mediterranean gulls. The breeding waders will be busy displaying – avocet, oystercatcher, redshank, lapwing, little ringed plover and ringed plover.
Most of the summer migrant birds will start to arrive during this month – common and little terns, cuckoo, swift, house martin, reed and sedge warblers, lesser and common whitethroats and garden warbler. These birds will waste no time in setting up territories and nesting.
Several wading birds stop off here to refuel on their migration to their Arctic nesting grounds, whimbrel, bar-tailed godwit, knot, dunlin, common sandpiper, grey plover and turnstone. The numbers increase though the month and many will be in their distinctive breeding plumage.
On still days midges will form great clouds over bushes, providing food for some of the birds, especially the swallows and martins. On warm days the marsh frogs will be singing (or is it laughing ?) from the ditches, ponds and pits. This is also the time that the newts will be courting in the ponds that don’t have many fish to eat them!