Spring is finally here and with it comes the warmer weather. It seems that at this time of the year, all the wildlife comes out of it’s slumber and begins again in earnest. The riverbank is one of the nicest places to go during the Spring time as it plays host to a wealth of creatures that are more active than usual, and you may be able to catch a glimpse of some of the creatures that are more hidden away at other times of the year…
Plant life is abundant -As you walk along the riverbank you will be treated to the sight of Snowdrops and Daffodils in early March, and Bluebells in April and May. You may even notice the strong smell of garlic in the air – this is wild garlic – it’s strong smelling leaves start to appear in March, followed by the pretty white star shaped flowers in April.
Life in the water starts to become very busy – the frogs and toads croak loudly, clamouring for the attention of a potential mate, and during April and early May you might spot the jelly like frogspawn and toad spawn clustered up at the edges of the water – usually hidden underneath plants away from any potential predators. Look out for the herons too – the master fishermen of the riverbank, they will be seen keeping their eyes peeled for their breakfast if you walk along the riverbank early in the morning. They are a very distinctive bird, and if you like them have a look at a bronze wildlife sculpture by http://www.gillparker.com/ – you will always be able to remember the beauty of the heron wherever you are.
A rare and delightful treat early in the morning and if you are very quiet is an otter. Spring is also the time that otters are in search of a mate, so will be a lot less elusive at this time of the year. Look out for spraints (otter droppings) and the footprints of otter heading down to the river, for clues that there is one living nearby.
One of the most welcome reminders that Summer is on the way is the sight of the Swallows, House martins and Swifts coming back from spending the winter in North Africa and Spain. The river is a favourite for these master aerial acrobats, as they feed on the small flies and moths that also live here.