December 19 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 16, 2014
The mild weather has led to an early surge in the signs of spring, with snowdrops and hazel flowering and elders starting to burst into leaf, wildlife experts have said.
There have even been sightings of ladybirds and butterflies, according to reports from the public submitted to the Woodland Trust’s nature’s calendar project, which monitors the changing seasons.
Such signs of spring in January have become more common over the last decade and may point to spring arriving earlier than in the past, the Trust said.
Dr Kate Lewthwaite, Woodland Trust nature’s calendar project manager, said: “People may be surprised to see such spring-like activity in January but Woodland Trust data confirms that it has become more and more common over the last decade or so.
“What this highlights is the importance of having diverse, inter-connected habitats which allow species to react to any changes in climate and adjust accordingly.
“With habitats coming under ever greater threat and fragmentation, the pressure on our native flora and fauna will only increase.”
The Woodland Trust is urging the Government to increase protection for ancient woodland in England to help the many species which rely on it for survival.
Matthew Oates from the National Trust, said “proper” winter weather with cold temperatures was needed soon, or wildlife would be fooled into thinking it was spring and could then be caught out later in the season by a cold snap.
“There is real danger that the year will launch into another very early spring; and an early spring usually ends in tears,” he said.
• Have you spotted any early signs of Spring? Let us know by posting a comment below or submitting a picture