Spring wildlife on the Isle of Wight
Now the chill of winter has passed, the first green shoots are pushing their way up from the soil, and little buds are bursting into bloom. In the lanes and meadows that we care for, butterflies are starting to emerge from their winter pupation, whist in the skies above, birds fly back and forth gathering nesting materials. Just like the wildlife, why not head outside and explore the countryside this spring, as the first signs of warmer weather appear? And when you do, you're helping us look after nature for many seasons to come.
Colourful early bloomers
If you head up onto the downs, you may see some of the first flowers to blossom. See if you can spot the bright yellow of primroses and cowslips on Culver and Compton Downs and the Needles Headland, as well as the unique colour of bluebells on both St Catherine’s Down and Luccombe Down.
Deep in the woods you can see bluebells too. If you visit Borthwood Copse or Mottistone Estate in late April and early May you’ll be greeted by carpets of blue. Whilst you’re in the woods, see if you can spot violets, lesser celandines and wood anemones, which grow in the clearings. And look out for early purple and green winged orchids on the downs and in the wildflower meadows around Newtown too.
The birds and butterflies
Being such a southerly location means that the Isle of Wight is one of the first places in the UK that migrating birds arrive. Whilst some, such as wheatear and redstart, will fly further north, others will remain here until autumn. The return of blackcaps signals the start of warmer weather, and watch the swallows whirl and swoop overhead as they arrive for the summer.
On a stroll at Newtown, you may be lucky enough to hear the call of cuckoos from the meadows and the song of nightingales. As the sun rises, the air fills with the sound of birds, both native and migratory.
Whilst you’re at Newtown see if you can spy the newly emerged orange tip butterflies dancing in the lanes. Or in Walter’s Copse look out for the colourful flash of brimstone, peacock and comma which are some of the first butterflies to appear in late spring.
The Island is home to our flock of around 140 Herbridean sheep. They can be found grazing across our places from high up on the downs at Culver to down on the common at St Helens. We're not lambing this year, but in the fields around Mottistone and Dunsbury, you'll be able to see some of our tenant's baby lambs, and on Ventnor Down you may even be lucky enough to spot goat kids too.
Whether you head to sheltered glades or sunny downland, spring life can be found emerging across the Island. From newly hatched baby birds, to butterflies spreading their wings for the first time, wherever you go exploring you’ll find lots to listen and look for.