A welcome appearance heralds spring’s arrival

A true herald of spring.
A true herald of spring.

The signs of spring are so numerous at the moment that it’s hard to know where to start.

Firstly, as promised a few weeks ago, I am pleased to report that my garden pond, installed two years ago, has now got its first frog spawn, complete with solitary frog, which spends hours just sitting beside it, croaking for all it is worth.

It is so satisfying that this has come about naturally, with no help from me.

I have resisted the temptation to put in fancy fish and non-native plants and so far it has paid dividends, with my first newt moving in last year.

You can’t hurry Nature. Things will happen in their own good time.

As well as the many singing chiffchaffs, first reported last week, they have been joined by sand martins which I have seen flying up and down the Tweed in several locations.

Some species are well into nest building already and I have a blackbird feeding young in a nest in my ivy-covered garden archway.

So far my nest boxes have had a lot of attention from both great and blue tits and for the first time I have seen house sparrows popping in and out, but so far I haven’t seen any nesting material being taken in.

March was a slow month on the moth trapping front with several blank nights but April got off to a better start with two quite different species turning up.

One was the second most common species recorded in the Borders called the Hebrew Character, so-called because the wing marking resembles one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The other was a beautiful moth, which is much rarer, called the Herald. It overwinters as an adult and as a result, can be one of the last species to be seen in one year and one of the first in the next.

It is also sometimes found hibernating inside barns and outbuildings, where its shape and colouring helps to conceal its presence amongst dead leaves.

There is some dispute about where the name comes from.

The purists think that it comes from the moth’s shape and colouration resembling a ceremonial heraldic robe of old.

I much prefer the notion that is one of the heralds of spring.

It was certainly a welcome visitor to my moth trap last Friday.