Take Part in Our Survey Today - Put Norfolk's Wildlife on the Map
During March, April and May we are asking people to help us record three animals and plants associated with spring. Train your eye to spot the brimstone butterfly; look out for wood anemones and the welcome spring visitor, the swallow. Your wildlife sightings can help us identify areas which are especially important for wildlife in your local area. To find out more about why we are gathering sightings see below. Every wildlife records counts, take part today!
An attractive early spring flower found mainly in ancient woodlands, as well as a few other favou...
It is often a male brimstone fluttering past on a sunny day in late March which signals the real ...
This migratory bird has a glossy blue/black plumage and a deeply forked tail, and is a common ...
The study of the timing of natural events is called phenology. The first long term study in the UK of nature’s calendar was carried out by Robert Marsham, born at Stratton Strawless in Norfolk in January 1708. Robert Marsham for many years recorded 27 ‘Indications of Spring’. These included the timings of trees leafing, bird migration, butterfly appearance and amphibian breeding activity.
Wildlife can be a sensitive indicator of changing climate. Monitoring the changes to ‘Nature’s calendar’ is now recognised as an important way of recording how climate change is affecting the natural world.
Wood anemone, swallow and brimstone butterflies are just three of the twenty-seven species known as indicators of spring. So, help track Norfolk’s wildlife calendar by submitting your sightings this spring of these three species.
• The name butterfly is thought to originate from the brimstone, as it is the colour of ‘butter’ and of course flies.
• Brimstone is an old name for sulphur, the colour which perfectly matches the male’s wings.
• The brimstone overwinters as an adult and is therefore one of the first butterflies to emerge in spring.
• The caterpillar of this butterfly feed on alder buckthorn and buckthorn.
• The strong veining of this butterfly’s wings gives it perfect camouflage when it roosts amongst plant foliage.
• Swallows will sometimes occupy the same nesting sites for several years. At one site in Norfolk the accumulated material reached a height of over 30cm.
• Only the female swallow will line the nest.
• It has been estimated that up to 1,200 trips will need to be made by a pair of swallows to build their nest.
• Swallows drink on the wing, swooping low over the water as they fly by.
• Before we understood the concept of bird migration it was thought that swallows spent the winter buried under mud.
• On warm spring days large clumps of wood anemones can give off a strong, musky perfume.
• Wood anemones are also known as windflowers, so called because according to the Greek writer Pliny the flowers will not open until the wind blows.
• Smell foxes is another name given to the wood anemone due to the musky scent of the flower.
• In Britain the seeds of wood anemones are mostly infertile and so it spreads slowly through the growth of its roots.