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Signs of Spring Survey: A day spent ‘in the field’ with The Bay

 This blog was first published on The Bay's website:


The Signs of Spring Survey is an invitation from the Fields Studies Council and Royal Society of Biology for members of the public to note and record ten specific signs of spring, from frogspawn to bluebells, across the UK. Signs of Spring – Field Studies Council (

A simple enough task?

I joined The Bay The Bay: A blueprint for recovery at their weekly meet in Heysham, Lancashire, to find out more on a cold spring day. Once we had all arrived and had a cuppa, we ventured to a nearby wood to see what we could find. 

Using binoculars, the first signs we recognised were catkins, at a distance on a tree. Exploring further, I soon began to realise just how much I didn’t know! I learned that tree identification signs, tree shape and buds for example, can vary depending on the time of year, health of the tree, age of the tree and so on. 

We regrouped and focussed on listening to birdsong together. The group, run by Alex, the Nature and Wellbeing Officer and supported by his volunteers, has a gentle and calm atmosphere. Slowing down it was not long before these qualities took reign to permeate the day.

Annual cycles are a reassuring response to the call from the very heart of the human condition for consistency and reliability. In a world of alarming change at increasing speed, how paradoxical that change should also be a reassuring constant, for example in observing new leaves replacing buds on the willow fence created by the group on the shared allotment. 

On reflection, the Signs of Spring Survey is a simple but clever project which can benefit all ages. It has the potential to connect people to their immediate natural environment, encourages the act of looking and listening, opening hearts and minds, and on days such as today, connects people to each other.

I now know my Ash from my Hazel, bringing a subtle sense of achievement. More widely, the survey provides data for research on climate change by highlighting changes in the timings of seasonal events, which can then provide insight into the implications for ecological interactions.  

Like the portal to a future where people and nature work in partnership, the Signs of Spring Survey invites you to take part to create that possibility. 



To find out more about joining The Bay’s different activities, contact Alex

To self-refer to sessions, please go to

The Signs of Spring Survey runs until June 2024.  To take part go to: Signs of Spring – Field Studies Council (

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