After a long winter, spring has finally arrived in Helsinki. We had over 120 days of snow (and there are still patches in shady spots), so it made for good skiing and a rather beautiful season.

Spring flowers in the central railway square - in the background is the ice skating rink, just before it was packed away for the year.

Spring flowers in the central railway square – in the background is the ice skating rink, just before it was packed away for the year.

Indeed, last month was one of the coldest Marches on record (the fourth coldest in the last half century), but it was also very sunny, making for more lovely days. Nonetheless, when thermal spring (i.e. daily average temperature exceeding 0 °C) arrived on the 2nd of April – three weeks later than in 2012 – I think the whole city was ready and waiting for warmer weather!

An early butterfly - maybe the reason I could approach it so closely was that it was still a bit cold?

An early butterfly – maybe the reason I could approach it so closely was that it was still a bit cold?

We had about 10 days of rain at the start of April which melted away most of the snow and ice in the city – and seemed to trigger the emergence of many flowers (although it will still be a while before the birches have leaves). The warmer and wetter weather also heralded the arrival of the first big wave of migratory birds. It is so nice to now hear all sorts of bird calls around – although I’m now having to re-learn all the different species again after their long silence. The first insects are out too, and I really appreciated seeing a butterfly at the Kaisaniemi botanical gardens this last weekend. And not to be outdone by mere invertebrates or birds… I also spotted a stoat carrying off a spring-feast (a large mouse) in the botanical gardens!

Spring is in the air!

Spring is in the air!