ALSO LOOK OUT FOR…

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild March -

BOMB SITES

A small species of the Bom­bus genus, early bum­ble­bees have dis­tinc­tive ginger tails and one or two yel­low bands around their shag­gy­haired bod­ies. Those seen in gar­dens this month are queens for­ag­ing or prospect­ing for suit­able nest­sites – com­post heaps and old birds’ nests may be used.

OLD YELLER

The brim­stone is the long­est lived of our na­tive but­ter­flies and can sur­vive for up to 11 months. Adults on the wing in March emerged last Au­gust then hi­ber­nated through the win­ter. Bright, sul­phuryel­low males (fe­males are paler) are of­ten seen flit­ting along road­side verges from now un­til June.

SIG­NA­TURE SONG

They might be beaten back to Bri­tain by sand martins or wheatears, but chif­fchaffs are the first of our spring ar­rivals to sing. Their epony­mous, two-tone chime is the most re­li­able way to dis­tin­guish these olive-green war­blers from su­per­fi­cially sim­i­lar wil­low war­blers.

LIQ­UID GOLD

Wher­ever there is run­ning wa­ter, there’s a good chance of find­ing op­po­site-leaved golden sax­ifrage. Look for the tiny (3–5mm) yel­low-green flow­ers and paired, rounded leaves that form creep­ing mats on damp river­banks and shel­tered stream­sides. This mois­turelov­ing plant is wide­spread in Bri­tain, but most com­mon in the west.

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