With unusually mild temperatures during the last couple of weeks plenty of first signs of spring have sprung at Gatestreet Barn. Perhaps most eye-catching is the emergence of flowers. One doesn’t have to wander far to see a gleaming white carpet of Snowdrops – always one of the first flower. Primroses too are now in evidence, and even the daffodils have started to emerge. It won’t be long until myriad colours and smells will be in full bloom.


With flowers come insects and a very early Red Admiral butterfly was on the wing last weekend, enjoying the blue sky and warm temperatures. Traditionally both this species and Brimstone – s striking, almost fluorescent yellow butterfly – are the first to appear in sync with the maiden mild days of the year. Even a few bumblebees have been seen pottering about in recent days.

Also up in the air on such days are a selection of birds, eager to pair up and find a mate. Perhaps most notable are Buzzards – on a fine day this species can be seen thermalling high into the sky, before stooping down rapidly in a display flight. Stock Doves and Woodpigeons too perform aerial acrobatics, though less impressive, as they rise and fall above copses and woods to try and catch the eye of a prospective partner.

Red Admiral

Some species have even begun building nests – Robins and Wrens can be seen carrying small pieces of material. Grey Herons are in face already on the nest; this species is one of the earliest breeders. Across Gatestreet there is much activity and suggestion that spring is nearly ready to go. Hopefully another cold snap, like the Beast From the East last year, won’t occur and disrupt the activity.