Spring at Murlough

A sea of bluebells at Murlough National Nature Reserve

As the calendar attributes the start of spring with the equinox of March 21, wild Murlough reveals a transition of seasons as if embattled between the reluctant release of winter, giving way to lengthening days, a promise of release from the cold, hibernation to growth, a rebirth.

Early harbingers of change hunkered low to ground are tiny blooms that dare to mark this time. Mouse ear chickweeds, whitlow grass that resembles a mini cabbage, early forget-me-knots, shepherds cress, and the first pansies - look among disturbing sands for these wee gems.
 
More bold, brassy and obvious the golden flowers of gorse make their claim. As if seasons were merging and confused the inner bay still holds winters visitors from faraway lands. Brent geese, godwits, dunlins, wigeon and teal waiting for the signal to go.
 

Nature's orchestra

Yet spring choristers' begin to practice and seek territory - mistle and song thrush, blackbird, robin, tits, chaffinch - their chorus growing louder with nature's call.
 
And how this season will unfold and give a riot to a flowery palate of blue - the bluebells steal the show and transform grasslands and woodland floor.
 
Spring migrants journeyed long to share this place, look for swallows sweeping in low skies, warblers from vantage of bush and tree singing to impress mate and adversary, catch the first cuckoo calling and weep for joy.