Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Exalt at skylarks’ song

Skylark © Stefan Johansson

The song of the skylark is a quintessential part of the summer in our countryside.

The song of the skylark has inspired more poets than any other

“He rises and begins to round, he drops the silver chain of sound. ” So begins the famous poem “The Lark Ascending” by George Meredith. The skylark is Wordsworth’s ‘ethereal minstrel,’ Shelley’s ‘blithe spirit´ that ‘from heaven, or near it, pourest thy full heart in profuse strains of unpremeditated art’. John Clare proposes we ‘listen to its song, and smile and fancy ’. The song of the skylark has inspired more poets than any other.

A tiny speck high in the sky as it soars and falls singing beautiful, long and complicated songs above cowslip-studded grasslands, rolling downs, coastal saltmarshes and wide arable fields. Changes in farming have led to skylark populations crashing, which is why they are now a Red List species of conservation concern.

How to do it

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…If poetry is your thing (and hey, even if it’s not), try reading some of the poems that the song of the skylark has inspired.  “To the Skylark” by William Wordsworth, “To a Skylark” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ted Hughes’ “Skylarks” , John Clare’s “The Skylark” and George Meredith’s lyrical poem “The Lark Ascending” and then listen to Vaughan Williams’ orchestral piece of the same name, inspired by the poem.

Special spots

Listen to and see dozens of skylarks at Thurrock Thameside Nature Park , Essex. In spring, the sound of this magical bird is bewitching. Scour the sky in search of that elusive fluttering of wings as it rises and falls before parachuting back down to earth. The grasslands of this former landfill site are perfect for the skylark to feed, breed and thrive.

Derbyshire, The Avenue Washlands

Highlands, Rahoy Hills

Lincolnshire, Gibraltar Point

Nottinghamshire, Skylarks

Norfolk, Weeting Heath

Norfok, Roydon Common

Northamptonshire, Old Sulehay

Staffordshire, Bateswood

Surrey, Manor Farm

Yorkshire, Flamborough Cliffs

Skylark © Amy Lewis

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