It may still be mid-January but sightings of ladybirds and butterflies have prompted wildlife experts to confirm the first signs of spring.
The nature’s calendar project, run by the Woodland Trust to monitor the changing seasons, has seen reports of flowering snowdrops and elders bursting into leaf surge during the mild weather.
The Trust says the spring-like signs have become increasingly common over the last 10 years and may indicate the season is starting earlier than it has done in the past.
During the first half of January it received over 30 reports of snowdrops from Kent in the south east of England to Anglesey in north Wales.
Hazel has been observed flowering as far north as Lincolnshire with ladybirds seen in Devon and Darlington and butterflies spotted in Ely, Pembrokeshire and Crewe.
But experts warn that species which are fooled into early spring activity – such as frogs beginning to breed – could be at risk if the weather gets colder in February or March.
Dr Kate Lewthwaite, manager of the nature’s calendar project, said: “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.”
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