One Voice for Animals UK Guest Blog by hottubhideaways
SPRING - MARCH, APRIL AND MAY
Spring is usually said to start at the beginning of March and the 21st of March is the Spring Equinox; the date on which day and night are of equal length. This season is a time of days getting longer and the spring sunshine brings growth and greenery. Birdsong reaches a peak and many flowers appear, in turn attracting insects including bees and butterflies.
Some iconic wildlife that you can see in Spring include:
Where: Woodlands, grasslands and gardens.
When: During the day
Woodpeckers certainly put the work in when it comes to making their home! These busy birds use their strong beaks to gradually chip into the wood of trees, creating a nest for their future chicks. There are many different species of woodpecker in the UK, including the green woodpecker, the great and lesser spotted woodpeckers, and the wryneck.
There’s a good chance you’ll hear one of these birds before you actually catch a glimpse of them. Stand quietly enough, and you can usually hear them pecking away at the trees above.
The wryneck is a particularly unique species, spending most of its time on the ground. While green and spotted woodpeckers can be found across the UK, wrynecks tend to stay along the eastern and southern coasts - and only during the autumn months.
Best location to spot one: Even if you aren’t in the countryside, there are plenty of places to catch a glimpse of woodpeckers. For those in London, Sydenham Hill Wood is an excellent location to see these busy birds up close.
Where: Open fields and farmland
When: Early dawn or dusk
With their long ears, big hind legs and amber-coloured eyes, hares have much more distinctive features than rabbits - choosing to live above ground instead of nestling in burrows.
They rely on their speed to escape from predators - with some hares reaching up to 45mph! The best time to see hares is usually at night or in the early hours of dawn, as they tend to search for food during these hours.
Although hares are considered a game species and are often hunted through the year, their conservation status is of ‘least concern’ - it’s estimated there are around 579,000 hares in the UK. While they can be found across the UK, they are a relatively rare sight in Southwest England.
Best location to spot one: If you are visiting southern England, one of the best places to spot hares is along the South Downs Way. Stretching over 100 miles, this scenic National Trail is home to an abundance of wildlife. Or if in Scotland, you can see them in the countryside near East Lothian and down into the Borders.
Where: Woodlands and gardens
When: During the day
One of Britain’s busiest pollinators, bumblebees start to appear in the brighter months of spring - with some species of them arriving in our flowerbeds and woodlands as early as February.
There are 24 species of bumblebee in the UK, each with unique characteristics and appearances - but all with an important job to do. Bumblebees are responsible for pollinating more than 80% of wildflowers in Europe, as well as helping to pollinate fruits and vegetables that eventually end up in our supermarkets and on our plates.
Despite their importance, many bumblebee species are at risk of becoming extinct as a result of the increased use of pesticides in commercial farming. We can all do our bit by planting more bee-friendly flowers in our gardens - or signing petitions for the banning of harmful pesticides.
Best location to spot one: While most bumblebee species can be found UK-wide, the incredibly rare Great Yellow bumblebee lives in some of the remotest parts of the Outer Hebrides.
Where: Coniferous woodlands
When: Dusk and dawn
Named after their preferred habitat, pine martens are a rare sight and are mostly found in northern and central Scotland - although you may be lucky enough to spot one in Wales or Northern Ireland. These cute critters are part of the Mustelidae family, which means they’re related to stoats, weasels, and badgers.
Pine martens are quite a hardy species and can easily survive in the winter seasons without hibernating - thanks to their plush coats that help to keep them nice and toasty.
As their name suggests, your best bet when it comes to spotting a pine marten out in the wild is to head to a coniferous woodland. They’re most active in the summer months, during the quieter hours of dusk and dawn.
Best location to spot one: One of the best places to spot a pine marten is the Galloway Forest Park, in Dumfries and Galloway. There are some seriously gorgeous walking trails through the park, with three visitor centres along the way.
PROTECT AND RESPECT ANIMALS IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT
If you do stumble across a nest or underground hideaway, it’s important not to disturb the animals though as this can actually have an impact on their overall health.
One animal you can expect to see a lot of are foxes - however, you might notice that their diets have changed. While during summer days, they tend to eat fruit, insects and grass, when this is hard to find in the winter, they’ll feast on birds and small mammals to survive.
During the autumn months, it can be helpful to leave scraps of fruit and vegetables outside for animals who are struggling to find food.
If you can, try to participate in some local wildlife or beach cleans. Things like discarded plastic caps and cans can be a real danger to curious animals, such as birds, deer, and hedgehogs. By helping to clear up litter you’ll not only create a better environment for everyone to enjoy, but also helping to keep Britain’ wildlife safe!
Wildlife groups you can join today
If you’d like to get involved with the conversation of Britain’s wildlife, there are lots of wildlife groups that you can join. Here are some of the most popular:
The Wildlife Trust has over 850,000 members and more than 35,000 volunteers, helping to keep their local areas as natural and as wild as they should be. The charity consists of 46 Wildlife Trusts that span across the UK, from Cornwall to Cumbria. You can apply for a membership and look for local volunteering opportunities on their website here.
Established in 1889, the The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is dedicated to the protection of Britain’s birds. The charity is best known for its nature reserves in some of the UK’s most scenic destinations. By becoming a member, you’ll receive unlimited entry to more than 170 reserves across the country, while your contributions will help towards their preservation. You can find out more about joining on their website here.
The Conversation Volunteers
The Conservation Volunteers is a UK-wide charity focusing on creating more green spaces. From tree planting in wild woodlands to creating ponds in community gardens, their hard work is not only beneficial for the local residents who get to enjoy the newly-transformed spaces, but also for Britain’s wildlife. You can find out how to get involved with their regional community groups on their website here.
Heading out in search of Britain’s wildlife?
Whether you’re just popping out for an afternoon stroll or planning on spending the whole day in your local woodland or country park, we’ve put together a list of the most essential items to take with you:
A wildlife field guide or a dedicated app
Spare socks - in case you land in an unexpected puddle!
Torch or flashlight
Power bank to keep your phone charged
Wildlife charities & organisations
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
The Wildlife Trusts
This blog was written by the people over at hot-tub hideaways who have a passion for holidays that include hot tubs, whether its Lodges, Cottages or Log Cabins. So go and check them out for your next luxury staycation.
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