Where to spot Spring at its best
Head to the English coast to enjoy spring is in its element: seabirds diving, swooping, and nesting; coastal flowers bursting with colour; and brilliantly coloured dragonflies and daintily painted butterflies fluttering like wind-blown confetti.
The coast of the North York Moors National Park is one of the best places to witness this spectacle. Explore the cliffs above the delightful harbour port of Staithes and you will see mosses, lichens and grasses combined into extraordinary shades of green – too many to count – morphing into a luminescent mass of bubbling vegetation.
Among them you can pick out the yellow and red of bird’s foot trefoil and the dense bobbing pink heads of thrift. Peer down into the waters and you may strike lucky: there have been increasing numbers of whales (minke, fin, sei, pilot and humpbacks) sighted off-shore as they follow the shoals of herring and mackerel migrating southwards. Important seabird nesting colonies can be found nearby, such as such as the one at Cowbar Nab at Staithes.
Some 70km further south, around Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve, Yorkshire, you will find one of England's premier seabird watching spots. The RSPB runs a reserve here with safe viewing platforms, where you can see up to 200,000 birds at the height of the breeding season, including stiff-winged fulmars and kittiwakes, who are easily identified by their wing tips, which look as though they have been dipped in ink.
These cliffs are also a great place to see spring and autumn migrations of birds such as wheatear (look out for the male with its ‘robber mask’ of a band across its eye).
The Broads National Park in Norfolk, too, is a magical place in spring, where the waters come alive with ducks and frogs (and hungry herons looking for a tasty snack). The broads are shallow lakes which arose from peat diggings in medieval times and were flooded during the 14th Century as sea levels rose. Together with the rivers, marshes and fens, they blend with wildlife and distinctive buildings to make a landscape of rare beauty.