We asked our ecologist, Emma Scotney, what her favourite sign of spring is. For Emma, it's the beautiful bird song. Read on to find out the best location to hear the song thrush sing and spot other spring sightings.

"If I had to choose my favourite sign of spring it would have to be the return of the bird songs. After hearing the soft squeaks of the goldcrests and the huge honks of the geese over winter it is a challenge to get back into hearing the slightly more complex songs of the song birds which call our lake home, and those in our gardens too. In the last few years, I have gotten to grips with identifying birds by their sounds; their short calls, explosive alarms and their soft songs. Each spring I take time to remind myself of who’s who and where and when I am likely to hear them. 

I have already heard the repetitive and structured song of the song thrush and the excited song of the dunnock. Not only did they sing beautiful songs they were perched right where I expected them. The song thrush; creamy and golden colour with spotted chest and belly was singing high from an oak tree. The plainer grey-brown feathers of the dunnock were diving in and out of a patch of brambles. Next, I expect to hear the blackbirds and great tits practicing their fancy vocals and the echoes of our great spotted woodpeckers drumming into trees. I look forward to it!

A reliable spot I have found to hear a song thrush is at Siblyback Lake. You can challenge yourself by finding one of your own or you can follow my easy instructions whilst taking in some other spring sightings.

1. Park up in the main car park – here you will see house sparrows flying manically from the bushes and looking into their nest boxes which are on our office and workshop buildings.

2. Walk north from the main car park and Olive & Co café towards our pond. Check out our pond for frog spawn, toad spawn or tadpoles. You may also see signs of amphibians around our pond in puddles and other wet streams. Do let me know if you find any on [email protected]!

3. Walk a short distance more to the bird hide, nestled in the woodland, where you may hear goldcrests high up in the conifer trees and the moorhens and mallards at the edges of the lake. Can you see those wooden boxes attached high up on the trees around the bird hide? Those are bat boxes.

4. Carry on walking through the woodland until you get to a bridge. Stop here – this is where I hear the song thrush. It is usually singing high up in the trees. Below the bridge, some tiny fish.

If you fancy walking all the way around the lake on our loop walk, keep your eyes peeled for the unmistakable yellow flowers of gorse or the more cryptic yellow flowers of lesser celandine which creep low on the floor with heart-shaped leaves. Or the white flowers of the spikey blackthorn tree. Enjoy! 

Winter is a great time of year for bird watching, especially for ducks and geese, but I always look forward to seeing our summer migrants return. Last week I saw my first house martin at Siblyback Lake and it won’t be long before the swifts scream through our skies once again."