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It's time for bird watchers to spring into action; nature watch.

Byline: STEPH HALL

SPRING is definitely on its way, with the first migrant spotted at the start of this March; a sand martin was seen by the naturalist and TV presenter Iolo Williams down in Cardiff Bay.

Summer migrants are birds that arrive in spring from the south to breed.

Many are insect eaters and spend summer here, then they and their new young return south in autumn.

They include species such as: swallows and martins, warblers, flycatchers, wheatears, yellow wagtails, ospreys, terns and manx shearwaters.

Many other seabirds, such as puffins and gannets, also arrive on our shores in spring after spending the winter at sea. Closer to home in our gardens, nest building begins in earnest.

Robins, sparrows, blackbirds and other garden birds fly back and forth with twigs and other plant debris.

You can help them out by tying up bunches of tiny twigs, dried moss, and other stringy vegetable matter near your feeders.

Tiny warblers such as chiffchaffs will soon return from Africa, having made the perilous journey across Europe. They are difficult to spot, although you might hear them singing in hedgerows and thickets.

Hedgehogs and frogs become active after hibernation.

If you want to attract frogs but don't have room for a pond, an alternative is to use an old plastic washing up bowl.

This can be sunk halfway into the ground in a quiet and shady spot. A large stone put inside it helps frogs climb in and out.

You can also attract amphibians into your garden by leaving some damp places, such as long grass and piles of stones for shelter. The milder weather now is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy green spaces on your door step.

RSPB Cymru reserves are an excellent way to do this, and our reserve staff and volunteers are a great starting point for those of us who are inexperienced at wildlife spotting, or for the more seasoned enthusiast.

To find your nearest reserve and what's on go to www.rspb.org.uk/reserves | Steph Hall, is a volunteer with RSPB Cymru
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 19, 2013
Words:348
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