Spring’s late arrival ‘could hit hibernating wildlife’

The late arrival of spring could hit wild creatures which hibernate such as bats and hedgehogs, conservationists have warned.

The cold weather has led to a significant drop in sightings of early spring wildlife compared with last year, according to reports received from the public by the Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar recording scheme.

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Sightings of the common seven-spot ladybird and the peacock butterfly have been notably sparse in the North of England and in Scotland compared with 2012, and records of tree budburst are lagging behind other years, the Woodland Trust said. There are also few records of blackbirds building nests in the Midlands and the North according to the scheme which allows the public to submit sightings of nature to help monitor the changing seasons.

The Woodland Trust raised concerns that the late arrival of spring would hit species which hibernate because they would not emerge in the cold conditions, and may not have sufficient fat reserves to survive until warmer weather.