Monthly Round Up: March

Karen Forster News

Image Credit: David Sanderson

After a cold end to February, the winter loosens its icy grip, the mad march hares clench their fists and leap into the air.

Spring has sprung and those sleepy days are over.  Everyone has something to do – be it boxing, singing, flowering, mating, hatching, nest building, spawning, or simply waking up!

As the first days of sunshine appear, it’s time for our friends who have slept through winter to rise and shine.  A little sunshine goes a long way – the hedgehogs get up, the birds sing, the bumblebees buzz, and, as the flowers start to bloom and leaves unfold, there will be a spring in everyone’s step.  Not just the new born baby lambs!

When the clocks go forward, put your alarm clock back and jump out of bed before sunrise, to hear the dawn chorus reach its peak.  This will be at full volume later in the month, when our early summer visitors join the locals.  Listen out for the warbling ‘chiff chaff’ call – they may have arrived from Africa, along with the cool and breezy wheatears too.  Sea bird colonies are reassembling and if you see a flying V, it’s probably the geese preparing to fly north.

In the garden, the crocuses, daffodils and chionodoxas bulbs arrive but it’s our woodlands that really start to come to life.  Look out for early spring display which includes sweet violet, wood anemone, garlic mustard and blackthorn – covering the bushes with white clouds of blossom.  If you wander lonely as a cloud, look out for the smaller and paler wild daffodil, hopefully you’ll be as lucky as William Wordsworth and see them fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

The bubbling in our ponds is a sign of new life too.  It’s the time of year they become full of sticky jelly-like frog spawn.

As the days get longer and the nights lighter, with a great programme of events this month, there’s no excuse for you not to have something to do this month too.

On Thursday the 2nd the DWT Botany Group burst into life with the first of their four sessions for beginners on Identifying Flowering Plants at Rainton Meadows.  With so many wild plants flowering this month, the course has arrived at the perfect time to help your knowledge bloom.

For those who want to learn more about our land, on Friday 3rd in the Chopwell Wood Classroom you can discover at Geology: Coal and Iron the fascinating geology in the Land of Oak & Iron area.  The training day is part of the Geology & Wildlife Surveyors Project.

On Saturday 4th, join DWT’s Revealing Reptiles Project Officer at Muggleswick and develop your Reptiles Identification and Survey Skills.  It’s not just the hedgehogs who emerge from hibernation this month – watch out for the adders too!

Also on the 4th, our Low Barns Watch Group will be learning about the bees and discovering whether any queen bumblebees (the only surviving bees through winter) are buzzing around the reserve.  We aren’t the only ones attracted to the flowers.

On Tuesday 7th, our weekly Wild Yoga classes are back at Rainton Meadows to spring clean the mind and body.  Delivered by the accredited Dru Yoga Teacher, Roy Moor.

The Lanchester Wildlife Group on Tuesday 14th March will meet at Lanchester Community Centre, where they will be joined with Kath Marshal-Ivens from the Land of Oak & Iron (Heritage Lottery Funded Project within the Derwent Valley).

On Thursday 16th March it’s DWT Botany Group’s second fortnightly session on Identifying Flowering Plants and on Saturday 18th March it’s Wildlife Watch at Rainton Meadows, our environmental action club for children and families.

As we reach the end of the month, on Sunday March 26th we have a special event to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Instead of a bunch, why not treat your mam to a full nature reserve of flowers? Join us for our Mother’s Day Guided Walk and Afternoon tea at Rainton Meadows and spend a relaxing, hopefully sunny, afternoon enjoying the start of the new brighter season.

Karen Forster

Karen volunteers with Durham Wildlife Trust, collating monthly roundups and highlighting opportunities to get out and to enjoy our region's wildlife. Karen enjoys long fast walks along country lanes, coastal paths or hiding away from it all in a bird hide. Animal lover, guinea pig owner and bass guitar player for two indie bands, Karen lives in Gateshead and works as a business development lead for an architectural practice.