Spring starts springing

Thursday 24th Mar 2011 by theWeatherclub

Spring, it would seem, has sprung. At least according the The Woodland Trust. The organisation runs Nature's Calendar, a project that allows the public to report signs of how temperature is affecting nature across the country. According to sightings so far, Spring has arrived much earlier than last year. Hawthorns are leafing, blackthorns flowering and there have been hundreds of sightings of frogspawn. These sightings are important as the calendar helps many professional nature watchers gain an accurate picture of the effects of changing temperature on the natural environment.

According to the calender, by this time last year 71 records of hawthorns leafing had been received, but this year sightings have already exceeded 180. There have been 92 recordings of blackthorn so far by members of the public, compared with 52 flowering at this time last year. And in a definitive sign that spring has arrived, there have been 564 sightings of frogspawn.

Tim Sparks, of the University of Cambridge and founder of Nature's Calendar, told reporters that the latest evidence from public sightings showed spring was fully under way.  “It's rushing forward now, everything is desperate to become active, plants, birds and insects are all making rapid progress,” he said. “We need people to get out, look for and record other species that are now starting to appear across the country. The UK leads the world in this kind of study and this 'citizen science' is essential as it gives experts a real insight into how plants and wildlife are responding to the changing climate.”

Signs of spring which should soon be appearing include red-tailed bumblebees, tortoiseshell butterflies and tadpoles which usually appear in early April, bluebells which appear around mid-April and the bud burst of oak and ash trees, which usually happen in mid to late April. If you wish to get involved, the website to visit is www.naturescalendar.org.uk