TRURO Cornwall TR3 6LQ
Wildlife in spring is exciting to see as the world comes alive; flowers are in full bloom, and the baby animals and birds can be seen in fields and trees. Cornwall is especially lovely in April, so when staying at our hot tub cottages, Cornwall, we fully recommend heading off on an outdoor adventure to see what wildlife you can spot.
Following on from our previous blog post about the Wildlife Trust’s My Wild Life campaign, there is no better time to be in nature. We have put together some wildlife to look out for this April when out and about, a lot of which you can see near our luxury cottages.
Common lizards are the smallest lizard found in Britain, and it is at this time of year when they emerge from hibernation and start feeding on insects, spiders, snails and worms. They live in a variety of habitats, and in Cornwall, you can find them in woodlands, coastal heathland and sand dunes. South facing hedges are also favourites of the common lizard, and you can look out for them basking in the sun. However, they will often dash out of sight at the first sign of disturbance, but if you are patient, they will run back to the same spot before long.
In Britain, the first time you hear a cuckoo’s call signifies the first sign of spring. The cuckoo is a migratory bird, and it is in April when they return from sub-Saharan Africa. They have one of the most familiar of all bird calls, but the cuckoo is becoming scarce in the UK, but in Cornwall, you can still hear a few in woodland areas. Cuckoos are ‘brood parasites’ which means cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and once the cuckoo chick hatches, it ejects the other eggs, meaning it is the only one being fed by its foster parents.
In addition to the cuckoo, other migratory birds return to our shores in April. Swallows and house martins are among the first to return, usually to the same area, and begin building their nests. Swifts may not appear until early May, but you are sure to see some chiffchaffs which arrive in March. You will be able to hear their repetitive ‘chiffchaff’ – hence the name – song from the tops of trees.
After seeing the carpets of snowdrops and hedgerows of daffodils earlier in the year, April is the time for bluebells. This coming month, several Cornish woodlands will be covered in flowering bluebells, and the Pendarves Wood Nature Reserve near Camborne has a particularly impressive display. The native bluebell is being overrun with the Spanish bluebell, and many of the bluebells we now see in the wild are the Spanish one or a hybrid of the two.
Another sign of spring to look for in April is the spawning of frogs and toads. In ponds and watery ditches look out for masses of jelly-like spawn. Toads often travel long distances to find a suitable pond to breed in, and they travel at night when it is cooler and damper. By late April, the spawn has become tadpoles, and the adults leave.
Peacock, orange tip and speckled wood butterflies, start to appear in April, and in the south, the yellow brimstone butterflies have already been about for a few weeks. On very warm days in the coming month, you might also see damselflies around open water.
Badgers are a lot more active in April. Their sets are spring cleaned, and adults go foraging for food from dusk until later in the night. While the young are born earlier in the year, they remain in the breeding chamber for eight weeks, and they start to appear above ground in April. However, as badgers are nocturnal, sightings are rare. If you do want to try and catch a glimpse, an evening walk in the woodland countryside is your best chance.
When outdoors among nature, on the lookout for a variety of Cornish wildlife, be sure to take some pictures to share later social media, using the hashtag #MyWildLife
Image by Andrew Thomas