As the spring equinox draws inexorably closer, March is transition time for wildlife. There are still reminders of winter, but also strong signs of spring. Summer migrant birds have already arrived on the southern shores of Britain, whilst in Cumbria, a very few spring flowers have dared to open their petals in sheltered sun-traps on south-facing banks.
Crocuses give a splash of colour to the hedgerow
A delicate primrose dares to show, defying night-time frosts
Summer migrant birds have not yet reached Cumbria, but some of our winter-visitors are hanging on, preparing to depart soon, to head north to their tundra breeding grounds. I visited Martin Mere wetland wildfowl refuge to see some of the last wild geese and swans from the observation hides before they leave.
On the surrounding pastures, hundreds of Pink-footed Geese
look restless as think about getting on their way
A colourful male Brambling fattens up at a bird feeder
before departing for Lapland
On the mere, groups of wild Whooper Swans face into the wind,
perhaps waiting for one or two more food handouts before migrating to Iceland
Some pairs of Whooper Swans are already "getting in the mood",
engaged in their synchronised courtship display
"Farewell, I'm leaving soon; see you next winter!"