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Winter – they think it’s all over!

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First snowdrops, Knipton, Leicestershire

The mild winter weather has brought a surge in records of birds nesting, shrubs coming into bud and snowdrops flowering together with sightings of ladybirds and butterflies.

These promises of an early spring have been provided by volunteers reporting on key seasonal indicators to the Nature’s Calendar run by The Woodland Trust – the native woods and trees charity.

These reports, of snowdrops as far afield as Kent and Anglesey, with hazel flowering in Devon, Lincolnshire and Cheshire and elder budburst in Hampshire, Essex and Somerset, conform to a long-term trend of spring gradually arriving earlier in the UK. Over the last 25 years flowers have bloomed up to 12 days sooner than previously.

“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,” said Dr Kate Lewthwaite, the Nature’s Calendar Project Manager.

With data stretching back to the seventeenth century, Nature’s Calendar (formerly known as the UK Phenology Network) has become a leading survey on how climate change is affecting the UK’s plants and wildlife. New volunteers are always welcome – visit www.naturescalendar.org.uk for details.

The Woodland Trust has also launched a campaign to increase the protection of England’s ancient woodlands- see http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/campaigning/campaigns/protect-ancient-woodland/

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