May 30

Spring is sprung, the grass is green and here in the UK that can only mean one thing – the arrival of BBC’s Springwatch! Beginning on 30 May, Springwatch shows us the best of British nature and lets us take a sneak peek into the private life of UK species. To celebrate this year’s series, we’ve picked our top 10 Springwatch species.

Messy birds

Photo of a male greenfinch

Male greenfinch

A well-known garden bird, greenfinches often feature on Springwatch. Last year a particularly messy pair weren’t doing a good job of cleaning up after their chicks. Will they be any tidier this year?

Beautiful butterfly

Photo of a marsh fritillary

Marsh fritillary

Marsh fritillaries fly over their grassland habitat between April and July, looking for suitable plants on which to lay their eggs. Watch out for the marsh fritillary on Springwatch and in grassland near you!

Fleet foxes

Photo of a red fox

Red fox close up

 Charismatic and highly adaptable, red foxes are well-loved on Springwatch. Their cheeky behaviour and cute cubs make them very popular. Will they be caught on camera this year?

Will grey heron chicks steal the show?

Photo of a grey heron catching fish

Grey heron catching fish

Graceful grey herons excel at catching fish, waiting patiently by the side of the water until a fish comes in range. In a Springwatch first, this year the team will be broadcasting live from a heronry in the RSPB Ynys-hir nature reserve. Will we be lucky and see grey heron chicks fledge?

That’s a lotta otter!

Photo of a common otter adult and cubs

Common otter adult and cubs

Playful and at home in the water, otters are always fun to watch on Springwatch. Most commonly seen at dawn and dusk, otters are making a comeback in the UK and it’s great to see them returning to our rivers.

Hidden hunter

Photo of a grass snake

Grass snake

Although the grass snake is the UK’s largest terrestrial reptile, it is very hard to spot, being well camouflaged and secretive. The best chance of seeing a grass snake is during the mating season between March and June, in grassland, marsh or heathland. Keep looking!

Flying pros!

Photo of barn swallow chicks calling for food

Barn swallow chicks calling for food

In March, barn swallows arrive in the UK after their winter migration, signalling the arrival of spring. Noted for their supreme agility in flight, barn swallows can spend most of the daylight hours on the wing. Often, barn swallows only return to their nest to feed their very hungry chicks. Watch out for their swooping flight across meadows and fields.

Birds back from the brink

Photo of a male great bustard displaying

Male great bustard displaying

One of my highlights from the 2009 and 2010 Springwatch series was the reintroduction of great bustards. These impressive birds were hunted to extinction in the UK, but have now been reintroduced by the Great Bustard Group and are breeding successfully. The Springwatch team managed to capture the male’s elaborate courtship dance on camera. It’s an interesting way to impress the ladies!

Stripy and shy

Photo of badger cubs in sett

Badger cubs in sett

Instantly recognisable with their black and white stripes, badgers are always a favourite on Springwatch. Night-vision cameras let us keep up with all the action! Will we see cubs this year?

Caught on nest-cam

Photo of a red kite

Red kite

Described as ‘the most beautiful bird of prey in Britain’, the red kite is definitely worth watching. This year, Springwatch have installed nest cameras, so we can get a glimpse into the family life of this secretive bird.

Have I missed out any of your favourite Springwatch species? Let us know!

Ruth Hendry, ARKive Media Researcher