Bird cherry blossom has just started to appear in the Wildlife Garden
I popped in earlier in the week to get a breath of fresh air and chat to Caroline, the garden's manager, who took me round to point out the signs of new life.
There are pretty primroses, cowslips and wood anenomes peeping out here and there and the first few bluebells. The blackthorn, Wild cherry and Bird cherry trees are all beginning to blossom.
'Frogs arrived in the pond around the middle of March,' recalls Caroline, continuing 'and we saw the first frog spawn around the 22nd. The toad spawn came a few days later. Toads usually follow frogs.' We lean over the large freshwater pond to observe the mush of spawn clinging to the watery bank and spot a solitary moorhen on one of the islands.
It's a busy time for nesting birds, but this spring the moorhen has made her nest outside in the open in front of the nesting box provided. Caroline fears for the vulnerability of the nesting family, but won't interfere.
I learn that the first holly blue butterfly was seen in the last couple of weeks and the trees resound with the chatter of green finches and magpies.
Caroline and her team have been busy getting ready for the public opening of the garden and planning this year's seasonal garden activities and monthly family weekend events. The first weekend event, Spring Wildlife, is on 8 May, so check the website for more information and updates nearer the time.
The Wildlife Garden is not only a place for our visitors to enjoy in the spring, summer and autumn. It's also an urban habitat where we record, identify and conserve species. During the winter months, the Wildlife Garden team have been busy coppicing, pollarding, hedge-laying, weeding and planting to extend woodland areas.You'll see signs of their labours when you visit.
Enjoy some recent early spring photos of the Wildlife Garden. See some of the species you might spot if you visit soon. Select images to enlarge them
Nesting moorhen... tread quietly round the pond
Common toad tadpoles will emerge in the ponds soon
Marsh marigolds by the pondBlackthorn blossom
The first of the bluebells, these ones look like native bluebells to me...
The last daffodil blooms