There is nothing quite like the promise of spring after a long, cold winter. Spring is so affirmative, reminding us that even on the darkest days, new life is waiting to be born. We can use it for a metaphor for our own lives, taking strength during our ‘dark days’ from the old adage “This too shall pass”.
On the Wildlife Watch website you can find loads of spotting sheets that you can print out or use to create your own illustrated ones.
There’s also a downloadable game of Wildcards – you can print out the wildcards and then play together as family. Each card has a British animal on it and scores for their different qualities, such as ‘killer instinct’ or ‘agility’, and rules of the game are on the website. It’s a fun way to learn about the many different animals that call the UK home.
This brilliant website has loads more fun activities for kids. For February nature spotting, check out these downloadable spotting sheets:
- Crows and other black birds - in late winter you might notice large flocks of dark birds feeding on empty fields, swirling about through the air or generally making a racket in trees. Can you tell which species they are?
- Seabird spotter - see how many different kinds of seabirds you can spot on your next trip to the coast. You might not see them all at once depending on where you visit, but there are lots of gulls, terns and other diving birds to look out for.
- Cold blood detective - from late February onwards some much missed friends return to our gardens and wild places. Look out for sleepy reptiles and amphibians as they emerge from hibernation.
- Garden bird detective - tick off the visitors to your bird table with this spotting sheet of familiar friends. Perhaps you’ve seen every single one in your garden!
- Winter wader detective - the UK’s wetlands, coastlines and estuaries can be full of wading birds during the winter. With their long legs and beaks they can be tricky to tell apart!
- Spring tree ID - tell those tricky trees apart by learning the signs to look out for. Even without their leaves, trees begin to give us clues to their identity with buds, flowers and left-over seeds.
- Spring flowers spotting sheet - count down the days to warmer weather by ticking off these spring flowers. Some are early, some are late, and some are only found in woodland.
Books worth reading:
Urban Wildlife: Usborne Spotters Guide
Insect Detective: Nature Storybooks by Charlotte and Stephen Voake
A Little Guide to Trees: (Eden Project Books) by Charlotte Voake
RSPB: My First Book of Garden Birds by Mike Unwin