Spring has sprung… in January! Snowdrops, bumble bees and butterflies are among 64 records of ‘early spring activity’ due to warmer weather
- A tortoiseshell butterfly was spotted flying in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales at Christmas
- While a red-tailed bumblebee was sighted on Boxing Day in Somerset
- Mild conditions this week have brought flowers into bloom ahead of schedule
- More than 64 reports of early spring activity were sent to the Woodland Trust
Spring has jumped the gun in many parts of the country, as flowers blossomed and bumblebees began buzzing months ahead of schedule.
More than 64 records of early spring activity have been received by the Woodland Trust – the earliest in November.
The Trust encourages members of the public to send sightings of early spring activity through its Nature’s Calendar scheme.
Mild conditions have seen flowers blooming this month, with insects temporarily disturbed from hibernation over winter.
File photo of a red admiral butterfly, the Woodland Trust recorded a sighting of the species last month in Cambridgeshire – five months ahead of schedule
A small tortoiseshell butterfly was spotted flying outdoors on Christmas Day in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, and a red-tailed bumblebee was seen on Boxing Day in Somerset.
Meanwhile, a red admiral was seen on December 17 in Cambridgeshire, five months ahead of schedule.
File photo of a bumblebee, one was spotted on Boxing Day in Somerset
The average date for snowdrops to appear is February 5, but there are 24 records of them flowering more than a month ahead of this – the earliest of which was in Southampton on November 30.
And though hazel trees usually flower in early March, there have been 23 hazel records already, with the first on December 1.
Even birds are ahead of the times – song thrushes have been heard in 11 places since December 5, despite the fact they are expected to start their chorus in March.
This month, snowdrops have already been seen in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland and Cornwall, while hazel flowered in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
Nature’s Calendar data shows buds are bursting into leaf earlier and leaves falling later, backing up Met Office research suggesting the plant-growing season has extended by a month.
Dr Kate Lewthwaite, of the Woodland Trust, said: ‘The more data we have, the better we will understand the effects of warm winters, cold snaps and heatwaves.’