Another month has passed and it’s my time to look at what happened in my nature journal in that time.

Spring is finally here and everything is coming to life in an amazing speed. There is so much fresh green growing everywhere suddenly, after the long winter months. Spring flowers appear in soft colors and the forest slowly turns green as the delicate tree leaves come out. The days are getting warmer – almost too warm for April (I’m a bit concerned that this will be a lasting trend after last year’s heat and drought in summer). Suddenly you can watch all kinds of animals, not only the birds who are busy building nests, but beetles, bees, butterflies and small mammals.

April marked the start of a new sketchbook for me, so I got to start fresh on my favorite kind of page – the weather and sky thumbnail paintings that I include on every first page (see more examples from my last sketchbook here).

A few color tests with a small landscape – I like to record these small palettes sometimes instead of making a full sketch. And collared turtle doves: these are a bit less known and smaller than our usual wood pigeons, they have a beautiful cream color.

Cloud sketches in preparation for my class on how to paint clouds – I like studying clouds almost as much as I like watching birds, it’s very soothing and a subject that always changes so it never becomes boring. This page is one rare case where I taped paper over the original page, because I ruined what was under it with spilled ink.

A page of goldfinches – I suddenly saw a group of goldfinches in the garden the other day, they only stayed for a few minutes and then they were gone. They have such beautiful markings.

Long-tailed tits are also common here, but usually more in the winter months. They are very small and always look a bit tousled and fluffed up. These birds also seem very nervous – they never keep still.

A quick trip to a local nature preserve – lots of orange-tip butterflies and lots of lush, fresh greens.

On another hike we observed a kestrel for quite a while who was doing flight acrobatics – they can be identified by their habit to stay in spot while in the air while flapping their wings. A beautiful, small bird of prey. There was a lot of noise in the leaves around us, so he probably was hunting mice.

A group of tree sparrows – they are a bit smaller than our house sparrows and not as loud.

Another trip to two local castle ruins (one prehistoric and one medieval) was a wonderful hike through deciduous forest which is turning greener every day, simply a feast for the senses with the smell of woodruff (Galium odoratum) and the warm air. Lots of plants and animals, Solomon’s seal, local orchids, butterflies (I only caught a quick glance of some of them), a wren (!) and groups of bank voles who pop their heads out of their wide tunnel systems. Such a beautiful day. There was so much to draw that I ran out of time to include everything, so I made another color chart.

A few experiments with landscapes and maps.

And another day in the forest, we actually spotted a raven!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my nature journaling in Spring. What is happening in your sketchbook at the moment? Let me know!