April’s warmer weather usually brings out our beautiful reptiles to bask in the sunshine, however an unusually warm start to the year means that we have actually had reptile sightings since December! Even with the early records, April is still a great month to spot all 6 of our native reptiles, including the rare sand lizards and smooth snakes. Heath land reserves like Upton Heath are great places to spot reptiles basking in the morning and evening, either side of the hottest parts of the day.
Owls about this then?
Of course we have to mention our celebrity barn and tawny owls nesting at Lorton Meadows reserve for April! Our barn owls Bob and Brenda are currently waiting on 6 eggs to hatch, which should be any time in the next couple of weeks! Our lovely tawny owls Twitt and Twoo have 3 eggs that should hatch any day now. Or why not watch the clip below of last year’s owlets getting to grip with dinner?
More birdy good news!
Swallows are arriving! Have you spotted them yet? We had our first sighting come in around March, in the West Bexington and Brownsea Island areas. When you see swallows, it is difficult not to think of the summer ahead. Also accompanying the arrival of these iconic summer loving birds are chiffchaffs and cuckoos. The call of a chiffchaff is a definite reminder that spring is really here, and of course the sound of a cuckhoo is always a delight, but seemingly rarer to experience. Watch the video below for what to listen out for.
Butterflies, flowers and woodlands, oh my!
Butterflies are back! Orange tip and brimstone butterflies have been seen all over Kingcombe Meadows, a sure sign of spring. Woodlands coming back to life, with new leaves and masses of birdsong plus woodland flowers like carpets of bluebells. Check our list below for what flowers to see where in April.
Moschatel Kingcombe Meadows reserve
Cuckoo flower Kingcombe Meadows reserve
Early spider orchids Purbeck coast, Townsend Reserve, Swanage
Green winged orchids Corfe Mullen Meadows reserve
Early purple orchids Kingcombe Meadows reserve
Yellow rattle - grassland, including Kingcombe Meadows reserve
Lousewort heathland reserves and also at Kingcombe Meadows reserve
Garlic mustard Kingcombe Meadows reserve
Common dog violet Kingcombe Meadows reserve
Lesser celandine woodland, lanes and roadsides, including Kingcombe Meadows reserve
Yellow archangel grassland, including Kingcombe Meadows reserve.
Bluebells Ashley Wood reserve
With thanks to all the staff & volunteers
who have contributed to this month's article