Posted 26th Apr 2013
From 27th to 28th April is The Wildlife Trusts' Our Woodland Wildlife Weekend, the first in a series of weekends happening throughout the year dedicated to celebrating our wildlife. With various events going on all over the country, why not don your outdoor gear and get out and explore a woodland? To get involved visit The Wildlife Trusts website at www.wildlifetrusts.org/weekends
Here's a handy guide to the many different species to look out for while you're out and about:
- Blue tit (pictured left)
- Long-tailed tit
- Great spotted woodpecker
- Marsh tit
- Great tit
- Stock dove
- Coal tit
Ã¢â��Â� In order to hear and see as many birds as possible, aim to wake up before dawn (4am) which will mean you don't miss the often incredible dawn chorus.
Ã¢â��Â� Birds high among the trees are easier to spot in early spring, when the branches are not yet thick with leaves.
Ã¢â��Â� If the trees have begun to bloom, the best way to locate resident birds is to keep your ears open as they will be calling to each other constantly.
Ã¢â��Â� As well as moving quietly through the woodland, once you've found a good spot, you should try to sit still for as long as possible, waiting for the birds to come to you.
Ã¢â��Â� Binoculars are a necessity if you want to differentiate between the large varieties of species present in dense woodland.
- Speckled wood
- Pearl-bordered fritillary (pictured left)
- Duke of Burgundy
Ã¢â��Â� The unusual weather conditions this year have particularly affected the numbers of butterflies present in woodlands this spring, so you may be lucky to see any.
Ã¢â��Â� The speckled wood and brimstone are two of the most common butterflies found throughout Britain and Europe, so should be out and about by April.
Ã¢â��Â� As butterflies feed on nectar from flowering plants, ground-level is usually the best place to start - especially areas that are teeming with wildflowers.
Ã¢â��Â� Getting close to butterflies is difficult, but if you approach slowly and quietly you should be able to identify the species before it flies away.
Ã¢â��Â� Binoculars are beneficial and a camera is essential if you want to capture the moment when a butterfly lands near you.
- Bluebells (pictured left)
- Wood anemone
- Ramsons (wild garlic)
- Wild daffodil
- Lesser celandine
- Wood sorrel
Ã¢â��Â� It is no secret that the harsh weather this winter has had a significant effect on the timings of wildflowers blooming all over the country.
Ã¢â��Â� Despite this, there are still a number of woodlands in the UK where a wide variety of wildflowers have given some much needed colour to the forest floor.
Ã¢â��Â� If you do come across a patch of wildflowers, remember it is important not to pick them, disturb them, or damage them, as this could lead to a decline in their numbers in following years.
Ã¢â��Â� Broadleaved woodlands that contain mature trees and distinct layers of shrub are the best place to look for ground flora.
- Red squirrel
- Grey squirrel
- Red deer (pictured left)
- Roe deer
- Pine marten
- Hazel dormouse
- Red fox
Ã¢â��Â� The most active times for many woodland mammals are at either dawn or dusk, so you will very rarely stumble across anything moving about during the day.
Ã¢â��Â� This is in part because of their tendency to avoid humans so even if you do get close, they are likely to scamper away as quickly as possible.
Ã¢â��Â� This makes it imperative to move quietly and slowly through the forest if you are keen to see any mammals, using binoculars and cameras to enhance your sight.
Click here to find out more on woodland wildlife species and their habitats!
Images courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts: Zsuzsanna Bird, Amy Lewis, Tom Marshall & Adam Cormack