Green Fingers I Wish

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Spring Has Come Too Early

The early winter sun hangs low and pale gold behind the hazlewood trees, which are themselves frost-etched into a sky of pale, cloudless blue.

Across the country, 50,000 researchers, part of the Trust's "Nature's Calendar" project, have reported sightings of natural events that should be happening far later in the year.

Red admiral butterflies are on the wing, along with bumblebees and wasps. And birds are beginning to nest.

The problem is, researchers say, that if some species start to emerge from winter dormancy earlier than others, the complex web of natural dependency will start to break down.

Birds will be raising chicks before there are enough insects to feed them, and flowers will be in bloom before the right sort of bug is around to help with pollination.

As spring springs around us in parts of the Nuttery, leaves crack with frost beneath our feet. And this is another problem - all this early-emerging nature is very vulnerable to cold snaps.

Researchers admit there's not a lot that can be done - no amount of government money can change how species react to the weather.

But they are asking for as many volunteers as possible for their Nature's calendar project, so scientists can analyse with greater accuracy just how quickly how British wildlife is changing.


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