If you see any wildlife this spring in your local area please submit your records via the Wildlife Recording pages on the website.
Seasons: Spring in Greater Manchester
After the long dark winter months, spring is undoubtedly the season that wildlife enthusiasts most look forward to. Nature comes alive again after lying dormant for many months. Wherever you go at this time of year there is always something new and exciting to see.
Frogs, toads and newts leave the places where they have been hibernating and head for the nearest ponds to mate and lay their eggs. Large numbers of frogs can sometimes be seen packed tightly together in a single pond. Frog spawn is laid in clumps and can be easily distinguished from toad spawn which is found in long strings. Newts lay their eggs individually, wrapping them in the leaves of underwater plants.
The most widespread and frequently seen bat is the Common Pipistrelle. However, other species such as Brown Long-eared, Daubenton's and Soprano Pipistrelle are also regularly recorded.
Our resident species such as Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush start singing to advertise their territories, before pairing up and nest building. Many species are nesting earlier than they did twenty years ago, as a response to climate change. In April the first spring migrants start returning from their winter quarters in Africa. Swallows, House Martins and Swifts are perhaps the most noticeable, as they feed and nest in urban areas, as well as in the countryside. Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Whitethroats are among the commonest of the warblers and can be heard singing from areas of scrub and woodland.
Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock are often the first species of butterfly to be seen on the wing in sheltered, sunny locations.
Many species of mammal are found in Greater Manchester including Badger, Brown and Mountain Hare, Fox, Hedgehog and Grey Squirrel. In recent years there have been reports of Otter and Polecat (caught on a Highways Agency CCTV camera!) spreading back into the county.
Blackthorn is one of the first shrubs to come into flower and stands out from the surrounding trees. The white blossom appears before the leaves, making it easily distinguishable from Hawthorn which flowers in May after its leaves have opened.
One of the first flowers to appear is Coltsfoot. Its yellow petals brighten up patches of bare ground. In the woods or alongside streams keep an eye out for Lesser Celandine, a delicate yellow flower which is one of the earliest to bloom. Bluebells are recognised by everyone and as well as creating dense carpets on the woodland floor, give off an intoxicating scent.
So why not make the most of spring this year and see what you can find in your local area.