Many animals awaken from hibernation in March and so as we start April many of the animals are out and about. Newts, which have hibernated away from the ponds and ditches, will now be active. They will slowly make their way back to water, but its slow progress. On land newts look like lizards, but their movements are much slower than a lizard. Watch the clip below of a newt on land.

As you know, we have been observing palmate newts through pond cam for a few weeks now. They were probably hibernating in the woodland and were disturbed from hibernation earlier because of the flooding. This is exciting as we are also learning more about the animals on the nature reserve because of the webcams.

We have yet to see smooth newts which also return to the Leighside pond to lay their eggs.

Also coming out of hibernation in March is the Marsh frog a non-native frog that was introduced into parts of the UK in the 1930’s but its thought the marsh frogs at Lewes were introduced in 1973.

Queen bumble bees also come out of hibernation in March and can be seen busily visiting the spring flowers. The Queen is much bigger than the worker bees. This is a good time to spot queen bumble bees as the worker bees will not have hatched yet.

f3 Queen buff tailed bumble bee

The queens will then look for a suitable nest site and will lay eggs (she will have mated last year before going into hibernation). The eggs will hatch as worker bees to help with the job of collecting food and caring for the queen while she continues to lay eggs.

Look for signs that your school grounds are bursting into life. These may include early flowers, new buds on trees and bushes, animals that have awakened from hibernation including  frogs, bees and butterflies. Birds may be starting to set up breeding territories and singing. Leave comments on this post to tell us and the other schools about what you see in your own school grounds