Spring is in full swing...
Spring is arguably the best season to pay a visit to Bedgebury Pinetum & Forest! Our cherry tree (Prunus serrulata) avenue burst into life in late April, providing glorious scent and the perfect photo opportunity. Some early flowering species of rhododendron have been in full bloom around Marshals Lake for some time, and are a great food source for awakening queen bumblebees, and now the blossom is out on several other trees in the Pinetum.
The attractive lime green new leaves of our deciduous trees and new shoots from the willow are another sign that spring has finally arrived, as well as the abundance of butterflies and other insects which thrive during our warmer weather.
Now's the time to spot grass snakes and common lizards basking in the sunshine. Several have been seen in the Pinetum making the most of our warmer days, including a grass snake which made one visitor jump when it slithered away across her path into some long undergrowth, and another that was seen merrily swimming across Marshals Lake! And, although we haven't seen any frog spawn in our visitor centre lake so far, we had a deluge of common toads in early spring making their annual migration to the water's edge to start the next generation.
In early May, we spotted house martins swooping down over the visitor centre lake and now swallows have joined them too. During spells of good weather, listen out for house martin 'chatter' as they perform their aerial acrobatics high in the sky while catching insects. Both species of bird are passerines (songbirds) and migrate from Africa to spend their holidays in Blighty - and aren't we lucky to have them choose Bedgebury as their base? These beautiful birds can sometimes be seen landing next to lakes, rivers and even puddles to collect mud in their beaks which they use to make the amazing mud cup nests that they often build in the eaves of buildings. And talking of African visitors: the call of a cuckoo was heard at the far end of the Pinetum close to Park Lane on 8th May; so keep a listening ear out for their distinctive call!