UK
09/01/2012 09:38 GMT

UK Weather: Early Spring Blooms As Mild Temperatures Trick Nature (PICTURES)

One swallow does not make a spring, but the Woodland Trust has received a number of reports of blooming flowers and bursting buds as nature judders to life unusually early in 2012.

Britain's mild winter weather has seen snowdrops, daffodils and hazel catkins flower around Britain, and the conservation charity trust is investigating whether frogs have also been fooled into spawning early.

Although storms and gale force winds battered Britain last week, the Met Office told the Huffington Post UK that nature is responding to the mild average temperatures experienced throughout December, as well as fewer frosty nights than expected for this time of year.

This could be one reason why roses and oak shoots have been spotted around the country.

The mean daytime temperature in December across the UK was 4.8C which was 0.6C above normal, and the average night-time time temperature was 2.1C, which was half a degree above normal.

However it was the marked lack of night-time frost, unusual for the advent month, that may have prompted nature’s springtime fervor.

The National Trust has said that fields are considerably greener compared to last year. The grass has retained its verdant colour as the fragile blades have not been destroyed by frost.

National Trust conservation adviser Matthew Oates told the Press Association: ''After two cold winters, we've reverted back to the modern trend of mild, wet winters.

''If you look closely in woods, valleys, stream-sides and south facing slopes in particular, there are features of late January and early February everywhere.''

The mild weather is predicted to hold until the weekend, with predominately clement temperatures of 11-12C to keep Brits warm until Saturday and Sunday, when the temperature is expected to drop into normal lows expected for this time of year.

Over the next 30 days the weather is expected to repeat this pattern, remaining unsettled as Britain moves into February.

Flora and fauna data will be analysed by The Woodland Trust to assess whether the arrival of spring is following trends experienced in recent years, appearing earlier and earlier. They are urging people to report sightings through the conservation charities website.

Dr Kate Lewthwaite from the Woodland Trust said: "Our native plants and trees are great indicators of wider changes in the natural world. By recording budburst and flowers blooming the public can help us determine whether these changes are having a major effect on how Mother Nature functions.

"Despite what people may think, in recent years it has become more commonplace to see daffodils and snowdrops in late December and early January as the climate warms."

Other early spring blooms to look out for are hyacinths, the Dutch crocus, Coltsfoot and the lesser celandine. Take a look at some 'early bloomers' below.

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