Springtime checklist: seven sights to enjoy this season

Go springtime sightseeing and tick off these seven seasonal wonders.

Cherry blossom tree spring background with copy space

1. Get buzzing with the buzzards
When male buzzards begin showing off their skydiving skills you know that they’re thinking of settling down with a mate, so warmer weather must be on its way. 

Common buzzard, Buteo buteo, single bird in flight, Warwickshire, June 2014

A vantage point near a wooded hill is the perfect place to watch their rollercoaster-like aerobatic displays which see them corkscrewing down from a great height, then soaring back into the skies.  

Enjoy spectacular views of buzzards, goshawks and peregrine falcons from Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of Dean. 

2. Behold the brimstone butterflies

Common brimstone


That fluttering flash of buttery yellow in the spring sunshine is probably a male brimstone and may also be the inspiration for our word ‘butterfly’. The female’s wings are whitish green and, like the male’s, have an orange spot on each side as well as leaf-like veining, which blends in beautifully when they alight on bramble and ivy.

Enjoy the brimstone butterflies on this enchanting walk in Brigsteer Woods, Cumbria.

3. Dance with daffodils

daffodils in early spring


Bursting with the promise of sunny days just around the corner, these joyful yellow flowers blossom from late February to early April. 

Did you know that galantine, a compound extracted from daffodils, is used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s as it slows the progress of the disease? 

Discover a secret daffodil valley in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors. 


4. Delight in the dawn chorus 

Robin red breast, photographed in Hertfordshire, England

Singing us into spring, the birds really get going with their morning melodies by early March as they seek to attract mates and defend their territories. The early-worm-catchers are the skylarks, song thrushes, robins and blackbirds whereas smaller birds such as wrens and warblers seem to stay in bed until it’s a bit warmer. 

Listen to the dawn chorus recorded by editor Fergus Collins on his podcast from the Blorenge Mountain in Monmouthshire.


5. Cherish the cherry blossom

Cherry blossom tree spring background with copy space

A fleeting but fabulous burst of cherry blossom is one of the most breathtaking signs of spring – except when it appears in December when it’s a sign that temperatures are topsy turvy.

Japan is the best place to enjoy the pink and white eruption of the lovely prunus, but you don’t have to venture far to see a dramatic display.
Enjoy the ancient cherry, apple, quince and damson orchards on the Brockhampton Estate in Herefordshire. 


6. Say hello to the swallow

Swallow, Hirundo rustica, single bird in flight against blue sky,    Portugal, March 2010

Arriving from its winter holiday in Africa, this glossy fork-tailed bird should be with us sometime in April, hunting for the year’s first insect life. 
Look out for the flash of red on its throat, its white underparts and the long tail streamers that distinguish it from its close cousins the swift, house martin and sand martin.

Find out why swallows, martins and swifts congregate on the Humber Estuary in Lincolnshire. 


7. Bee friendly to bumblebees 

Close-Up Of Bumblebee On Yellow Flower Blooming Outdoors

The warmth of the sun will soon be awakening our queen bumblebees, who will need plenty of nectar in March and April to recharge their batteries as they go hunting new places to start a colony. When she has found a suitable nest, the queen makes a mound of pollen and secreted wax into which she lays her first brood of eggs.

Read our top facts about bumblebees


All photos © Getty Images