Things to be aware of in March:
The first birdsong Birds like blackbirds, robins and thrushes start to sing more regularly now, particularly in the morning. It is a good time to learn to recognise a few songs before all the migrant warblers arrive. Check out: www.rspb.org.uk for video clips of birdsong.
The First Flowers of Spring The first spring flowers are now in bloom: yellow daffodils, celandines and primroses. Pussy willow on the sallow tree is attracting hungry bumblebees that have woken from hibernation. Blackthorn fills the hedges with snowy white blossom.
Frogs and Toads If you have a small pond nearby you might see frogs and toads getting it together and producing spawn. Frogs like the shallows to lay clumps of eggs while toads go for deeper water to produce long necklaces of eggs among waterweeds.
Squirrels If you sit in the park you may see squirrels chasing each other up and down trees. This behaviour happens when one squirrel fancies another; they use their tails a lot to signal to each other and to waft scent towards the one they fancy.
At times nature can be very unpredictable and surprising – when we are caught out by a shower or when a volcano becomes active all of a sudden. I also like the aspect of nature that brings absolute certainty. For example the inevitability that spring will come……. eventually. There are not many things in life with that level of confidence. It is an encouragement to be patient because in Britain, where I live, the weather famously changes very frequently. At the moment it is cold and windy so my body says its winter. The light is strong though and without leaves on the trees it is even more penetrating than in summer. The March winds feel like a battle between winter and summer, and in the back of my mind I know summer will win.
The feeling of confidence felt from nature, that things will improve, translates into the rest of my life. My body begins to relax more in the warmth of the sun.
Here is a poem by Tom Kelly quoted with his permission. It captures something of the feelings I have about the shift in light as spring increases.
It’s happening, the odd crocus
edges out between rocks and trees,
blue tongues licking crisp sunshine
at the feet of near-stripped trees;
telling us it’s becoming warmer and lighter,
forcing us to believe that there’s life after hard-bitten hail,
snow and frost that sprayed our breath in those black mornings.