Signs of spring at Thorpe Marshes

Blog post by Chris Durdin on 27 Feb, 2020
Looking for signs of spring is instinctive as the days lengthen. Perhaps it’s looking for reasons to be cheerful, especially on a bright day when you suspect variable weather will soon return.

A mistle thrush singing, a woodpecker drumming or a black-headed gull with a hood the colour of dark chocolate remind us that the increasing day length is prompting birds to pair up or gain breeding plumage.

In general, gardens are likely to have more flowers than the countryside as we plant with early blooms in mind, as if we are trying to bring forward the feel-good season of spring. Early season bumblebees appreciate them.

At Thorpe Marshes, flowers out now are a curious mish-mash. It’s been a mild winter despite storms Ciara and Dennis: this pattern of a lack of hard frosts coupled with storms is one we may have to get used to as the climate changes. Some flowers, such as dead-nettles, have simply kept flowering.
Coltsfoot at NWT Thorpe Marshes, by Chris Durdin

Coltsfoot at NWT Thorpe Marshes, by Chris Durdin



Two blooms caught my eye on my usual circuit around Thorpe Marshes. A spiny bush, planted by the viewing area of St Andrew Broad, has attractive white flowers. Very early white flowers on shrubs or small trees in hedges are often wrongly identified as blackthorn, which is unlikely to be in bloom before April. Actually, this is cherry plum. Though a native of south-east Europe, it is widely naturalised and planted in Norfolk.

A patch of bare ground by the River Yare has another reliable early flower, coltsfoot. The leaves, said to resemble the shape of a colt’s foot, emerge later. What we see now are the first, yellow, daisy-like blooms, on the top of odd-looking stalks with scales that grow straight from the ground.
 
Chris Durdin leads monthly wildlife walks at NWT Thorpe Marshes. Details of monthly walks and recent sightings at the nature reserve can be found here. Chris has written a wildlife report for Thorpe Marshes, which can be found on his blog here.

Header image: Cherry plum blossom, by Chris Durdin
Share this

Latest Blog Posts

Incredible insects Incredible insects
by Tom Hibbert on 08 Apr, 2020
Working from home Working from home
by Helen Baczkowska on 23 Mar, 2020
Crafty Creations Crafty Creations
by Maya Riches (guest author) on 05 Mar, 2020
Notes from the Wild Notes from the Wild
by Nick Morritt on 14 Feb, 2020
Volunteering at the Raptor Roost Volunteering at the Raptor ...
by Maya Riches on 11 Feb, 2020
Identifying dabbling ducks Identifying dabbling ducks
by The Wildlife Trusts on 29 Jan, 2020
Three swans a-swimming … on the path! Three swans a-swimming … on...
by Chris Durdin on 17 Dec, 2019
Rewilding Norfolk: Wild thinking and wild ideas (Part 3) Rewilding Norfolk: Wild thi...
by David North on 07 Dec, 2019
Rewilding Norfolk: Wild thinking and wild ideas (Part 2) Rewilding Norfolk: Wild thi...
by David North on 30 Nov, 2019
A wet day in November A wet day in November
by Chris Durdin on 29 Nov, 2019
Rewilding Norfolk: Wild thinking and wild ideas Rewilding Norfolk: Wild thi...
by David North on 23 Nov, 2019
A season of engagement at NWT A season of engagement at NWT
by Georgie Lake on 12 Nov, 2019
25 years of support 25 years of support
by Ellen Kinsley  on 09 Nov, 2019
What tangled webs we weave What tangled webs we weave
by Robert Morgan on 31 Oct, 2019
October at NWT Thorpe Marshes October at NWT Thorpe Marshes
by Chris Durdin on 29 Oct, 2019
Being an intern at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Being an intern at Norfolk ...
by Emily Mildren on 08 Oct, 2019
A changing climate of opinion A changing climate of opinion
by David North on 10 Sep, 2019
Notes from Thorpe Marshes Notes from Thorpe Marshes
by Chris Durdin on 24 Aug, 2019
Cranes on the up Cranes on the up
by Chris Durdin on 16 Aug, 2019
Letting your lawn bloom for wildlife Letting your lawn bloom for...
by Helen Baczkowska on 09 Jul, 2019
Litter picking Litter picking
by Maya Riches (guest author, age 10) on 18 Jun, 2019
What lies beneath the placid lake What lies beneath the placi...
by Mark Webster on 11 Jun, 2019
A stark and urgent call to action A stark and urgent call to ...
by David North on 13 May, 2019
Spring gardening: Helping hedgehogs Spring gardening: Helping h...
by Helen Baczkowska on 07 May, 2019