Monday, 29 April 2013

Spring …. at last

After an apparently endless winter, spring is finally upon us and the natural world is frantically trying to catch up after a delayed start to the year. The first spring flowers are blooming in the Durham woodlands (Wood Anenome in particular is in full flower right now), and in the last two weeks many migratory birds have flooded back into the country from their warmer wintering grounds.

Osprey migrating across the Mediterranean (Photo: Steve Willis)

Now is the time for unusual sightings of migratory birds around the university, and a prime time to ditch the car and walk in to work to experience spring in full flow. On my walk to work on Friday I saw an Osprey circle over the River Wear at Maiden Castle, before drifting off over Gilesgate and heading north. This morning, in the same area, I spotted a migratory Wheatear, a much smaller migrant that travels from its wintering grounds in Africa back to the uplands of the UK to breed. Add to this the woodlands that are full of newly-arrived warblers that spent the winter in the Mediterranean, and the Swallows and House Martins buzzing overhead, having just got back from Africa, and you really do get a sense that spring is here at last.

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