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

Moth and butterfly survival strategies Moth and butterfly survival...
by The Wildlife Trusts on 23 Sep, 2021
Out for Nature: Reflections on Pride with The Wildlife Trusts LGBTQ+ Employee Network Out for Nature: Reflections...
by Meg Watts on 14 Sep, 2021
Celebrating bees with our supporters, Lisa Angel Celebrating bees with our s...
by Susannah Armstrong & Lisa Angel on 09 Sep, 2021
Horsey Butterfly Walk by the Broadland Local Group Horsey Butterfly Walk by th...
by Jerry Simpson on 26 Aug, 2021
Recognising birds of prey Recognising birds of prey
by The Wildlife Trusts on 12 Aug, 2021
Cley Calling: Closer to Home Festival Review Cley Calling: Closer to Hom...
by Evie York on 29 Jul, 2021
Day Flying Moths Day Flying Moths
by Robert Morgan on 17 Jul, 2021
Bishop's Garden July Update: From Moths to Wild Flowers Bishop's Garden July Update...
by Barry Madden on 15 Jul, 2021
Swift Awareness Week Swift Awareness Week
by Sarah Gibson on 01 Jul, 2021
Exploring Living Landscapes: Finding Common Ground and connecting young people with nature Exploring Living Landscapes...
by Meg Watts on 24 Jun, 2021
A 30 Days Wild Minibeast Hunt A 30 Days Wild Minibeast Hunt
by The Wildlife Trusts on 17 Jun, 2021
Secrets of the Water Vole Secrets of the Water Vole
by Kelly Hollings on 10 Jun, 2021
Wild Gardening for Small Budgets & Spaces Wild Gardening for Small Bu...
by Meg Watts on 03 Jun, 2021
Bishop's Garden May Update: A World of Wild Flowers Bishop's Garden May Update:...
by Barry Madden on 27 May, 2021
Walking the Eastern Coast Walking the Eastern Coast
by Katy Ellis on 20 May, 2021
Good for us, Good for Nature Good for us, Good for Nature
by Robert Morgan on 13 May, 2021
Take a stroll with us for National Walking Month Take a stroll with us for N...
by Chloe Webb on 06 May, 2021
International Dawn Chorus Day 2021 International Dawn Chorus D...
by Robert Morgan on 29 Apr, 2021
The Humble House Sparrow The Humble House Sparrow
by Tom Hibbert on 15 Apr, 2021
Bishop's Garden March Update: A Haven for Birds Bishop's Garden March Updat...
by Barry Madden on 01 Apr, 2021
Meet our Diversity Intern Meet our Diversity Intern
by Meg Watts on 25 Mar, 2021
Growing Wild in the City Growing Wild in the City
by Sam Garland on 11 Mar, 2021
International Women's Day 2021: Women in conservation International Women's Day 2...
by Meg Watts on 08 Mar, 2021
World Book Day 2021 World Book Day 2021
by Chloe Webb on 04 Mar, 2021