Spring has now officially 'sprung' although it seems as if it began over a month ago in complete contrast to last year when we were enduring the 'beast from the east'. 

The early greening of weeping willows; beautiful white and pink winter flowering cherry; magnolia; cherry plum and the first golden 'pussy willow' catkins (pictured) opened all courtesy of record breaking temperatures during February.

Brimstone; red admiral and peacock butterflies were on the wing and I even saw a small white butterfly, a species that normally does not emerge from its chrysalis until late March at the earliest. There were even reports of swallows having arrived a month ahead of schedule.

My local blackbird is now in full song come rain or shine, always perched on the same chimney pot and for me, one of the joys of life is to listen to bird song.

But, spring's awakening can sometimes pose problems for wildlife. For example, if birds nest earlier than usual, fledglings may not survive if few insects and caterpillars can yet be found. Butterflies and bees out of hibernation may find few nectar sources available if the seasons are out of sync and when re-entering hibernation when the weather deteriorates may be weakened having exhausted stored up energy.reserves. 

Then of course, March roared in briefly like a young lion with storm Freya bringing us back to the seasonal norm. Let us hope the month bows out like a lamb!