Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

 

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

 

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

 

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Enjoy the great rush north

Redstart © Jon Hawkins Surrey Hills Photography

As the winter ends, spring migration sees a surge of birds looking to make the most of the summer.

Be prepared for an early start, as sometimes the first few hours of the day are the busiest  

For wildlife fans, migration time is THE time.  The great annual tide of wildlife washes across the country, a mass movement of life in general and birds in particular.  As the long cold winter comes to an end and the warmth of spring soaks into the countryside, everyone is in a hurry to head north and make the most of the opportunities the summer has to offer.

Birds which have spent the winter with us, the massed ranks of waders and wildfowl on our reservoirs and estuaries, have the Arctic in their sights, as do many birds which have wintered further south, all now passing through in their brightest breeding colours.  Meanwhile our own countryside will rapidly fill up with returning warblers and wheatears, swallows and martins, redstarts and flycatchers, cuckoos and swifts and yellow wagtails and turtle doves… the list is endless.

And everyone has just one thing on their mind: the need to breed.  The air is full of song, courtship displays, bright colours and the promise of new life. What better time is there?

How to do it

For the real ‘rush’, head to one of the major migration hotspots around our coasts.  Be prepared for an early start, as sometimes the first few hours of the day are the busiest.  And bring your sandwiches: you won’t want to miss a moment of the action by having to go looking for lunch.

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…The migrants are coming, whether you make it to the coast or not.  In March listen for the first chiffchaff plink-plonking his jaunty song; watch for the first swallow and house martin of the summer over head during April; and the first days of May should see the return of that great aerial won

Special spots

Jutting out into the North Sea at the mouth of the Humber estuary, like a drip of wax hanging off the end of Yorkshire, Spurn Head is amongst the very best migration hot spots.

Devon, Dawlish Inner Warren 

Dorset, Brownsea Island 

Essex, The Naze and Gunners Park 

Isles of Scilly 

Lincolnshire, Gibraltar Point 

Norfolk, Cley Marshes 

Northumberland, East Chevington 

Sussex, Rye Harbour

Yorkshire, Flamborough Cliffs 

Yellow wagtail © Jim Higham