The most noticeable thing this week, if you’re lucky enough to live near some, is that the the bluebells are out! We’ve got them at the Millennium Country Park (near the sewage works), over at Rectory Wood, near Marston Thrift, and probably many other places. Make sure you don’t pick them when you’re alone, however, as folklore says you will end up being controlled by a pixie until you’re rescued. Sounds totally legit!

Bluebells in the wood

If you walk in Buttons Ramsey (near Wootton/Kempston) make sure you keep an eye out for the primroses planted by our volunteers last autumn, as they’ve come out very nicely.


Credit to Carol Wallman

You’ll start seeing even more cowslips - there are hundreds over in Marston Meadow, in the Millennium Country Park and they’re nearly out in Buttons Ramsey as well.



The willow warblers have arrived from Africa so you’ll be hearing them all over the place. They look very similar to the chaff chaff, but they prefer scrubby habitat to big trees (you’ll see them in places like the callow mounds at the Millennium Country Park) and obviously have a very different song.

We should be hearing the boom of the bittern around now - we’ve got a video of one from a few years ago that shows just how impossible they are to see amongst the reeds, but if you hear the boom you’ll know it straight away - it’s pretty unmistakable! Check out the video from the RSPB below to hear it:

We heard our first nightingales this week in the Millennium Country Park and we’ve heard at least 3 singing at the time of writing - they’ve just got here, like the willow warblers, from sub saharan Africa, and will start breeding soon.

We’ve looked at the beautiful colouring of the starling before but check out this adorable video of one bathing. They’re here all year round and are currently breeding - sometimes we get a few extras in the winter.

Animals and insects

Common lizards are around now but aren’t very easy to spot - if you look at log piles you might spot one basking, when it’s sunny.

We’ve seen more orange tip butterflies this week - this photo is an old one, but it helps you know what to look out for when they’re flitting past:

Orange tip butterfly - credit Don Morris

Credit Don Morris

You’re still likely to see chinese water deer on some of our sites - especially the Millennium Country Park. Interestingly, they’re considered a vulnerable species in their native China/North Korea as we now nearly have half of the world’s population in the UK. You can just about see the chinese water deer we've spotted recently in the Millennium Country Park below.

Photos of a bat in a hand and a chinese water deer from afar

Love them or hate them, there’s a lot of bats out right now, feeding on insects now in the warmer weather. It’s damn near impossible to get a decent photo of them so the one above is from a few years ago, when we had the bat people in doing a survey. Definitely more cute than terrifying.

Sign up and keep socially distancing

Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to hear more from us in the coming weeks about the natural happenings in the Forest and click below to let us know if you’ve seen anything on your daily walk - whether it’s on our sites or not - we’d love to hear from you! Obvious reminder - make sure you're staying 2m away from other people if you see anyone out on your daily walk!

Click here to show us what you've seen

All videos credit to Bob Hook