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Buff-tailed bumblebee on knapweed at St Maurice’s Pond

By Teri Grieve, Cumbernauld Living Landscape Trainee

Spring is coming! The bitterness of winter appears to have been interrupted, with fresh days that are getting warmer. And we’re not the only ones to notice the longer days.

Male birds are gearing up for the breeding season, so have started showing off how loud and long their songs are at dawn and dusk, declaring their territory and hopefully wooing the females! What better time to sing a long song to show how fit you are? Shouting gets you noticed, so singing in reduced light will give these songbirds some protection from predators.

Tree buds are also beginning to grow. Buds that have formed before winter and sealed off, becoming dormant, are now sprouting. Look closely at the trees around you and you’ll see new leaves blooming.

Wildflowers are growing in numbers too. With temperatures creeping up you may already be seeing some flowers, such as snowdrop, coltsfoot, wild primrose, and wood sorrel. Lesser celandine, a yellow star-shaped flower with 8-12 petals and glossy heart-shaped leaves, is one of the first to blossom. It was once thought that you could predict the weather as their flowers would close before rainfall. Although perhaps considered a nuisance to gardeners because the root tubers will split easily and readily recolonise, as one of the first flowers they are a great food source for insects that are coming out of hibernation.

One of these insects is the queen bumblebee. Buff-tailed bumblebees can sometimes be seen from February and have two yellow/orange stripes with a whitish tail. Easily mistaken for white-tailed bumblebees, you can distinguish them by a thin yellowy margin at the top of their tails. They’re now venturing out in search of resources.

With winter so hard and spring so close now’s the time to be kind to wildlife and let your garden grow!

Our free Cumbernauld Living Landscape Stay Home Stay Wild Activity Packs have loads of information about how to get the best out of our spring wildlife, and our local green spaces. Packed with games, nature notes, self-guided walks and arty activities, you can download yours from our website at https://cumbernauldlivinglandscape.org.uk/activities/


Teri Grieve