‘The ducklings might not survive’: readers’ concerns over early spring

I saw this young palmate newt emerging on the evening of 1 一月. Newts should be overwintering in leaf and log piles, compost heaps and other suitable refugia from November until late February or early March, when they start moving toward breeding pools. It is troubling to spot this individual within the overwintering period. The unseasonably warm weather fooled a great deal of species into early emergence: it places them in great peril if they expend energy in an attempt to feed out of season, burn fat reserves and expose themselves to short daylight hours and cold nights that could result in their deaths. Jonathan Davies, 32, certified passive house designer, St Fagans, 卡迪夫

One of several daisies in my garden, photographed on New Year’s Day. I’ve never seen this before. The part of the garden where the daisy is growing doesn’t get much light as it’s shaded by a tall hedge to the south and west. Usually the grass is all that’s on show until much later (行进). I’m curious about the early appearance of this species – we’ve seen butterflies very early in previous years, but never daisies. I don’t know what to think about this occurrence in relation to the health of the environment. We have had an exceptionally mild winter, the soil is not especially cold or hard, but the absence of activity in other species seems strange. 匿名的, Redlynch, Wiltshire

This photo was taken in my garden on 29 十二月. Usually in winter the bees form a cluster around the queen while flexing their flight muscles, without beating their wings, to generate adequate heat. With minimal movement their stores of honey and nectar are usually sufficient till the weather warms up in spring. It’s mid-winter in Ireland and yet the bees are surprisingly busy and returning to the hives with pollen and nectar. It’s more like what one would expect in mid-spring at the earliest.

This level of activity unfortunately leads the bees to use up their winter stores too quickly, and if late spring brings cold and frosty weather right into May (as happened here last year), then starvation becomes a serious threat to the bees. 当然, as beekeepers we can intervene by providing food for our bees to help them along. Unfortunately this can’t be done for bees of all kinds in the wild who are struggling to survive as the climate changes. All of this is concerning as pollinators of all kinds are in decline and this has huge negative implications for food production worldwide. Niall Keogh, retired teacher, Killarney, 爱尔兰

This picture of a daffodil shoot was taken at a sheltered spot under a bay window in our front garden in Sutton Coldfield, 伯明翰. I’d just been on my traditional New Year’s Day walk with friends in Sutton Park and I spotted these exceptional shoots of spring on our return. I was very surprised to see the shoots. I’ve never seen them this early; they usually appear in March. As an active member of our local Eco Sutton group, my surprise was undercut with a deep concern at what is happening to the environment in front of our eyes. Antony Whitehead, retired architect, Sutton Coldfield

In the Duke’s Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, we saw this bee, 上 3 一月, tucking into a winter flowering shrub. Snowdrops and narcissi were coming out last week, the magnolias are in bud, but a bee? Elsewhere in Kew we could see buds and catkins, much earlier than in previous years. Most walks in January see us muffled up against a biting chill, but today was very pleasant with a little sunshine. 去年, I recall seeing goslings in February on a snowy morning. 所以, 是的, seeing a bee at this time is not normal, but it is part of a pattern. While any sign that the winter is coming to a close is welcome, the implication that this is evidence of climate change – a process which appears to be accelerating – is worrying. Tony Hutchinson, 67, working in social housing and regeneration, 布伦特福德, 伦敦

I planted some bulbs and seeds in pots on our terrace in November, and to my surprise they had already started sprouting by New Year’s Day. I suppose I was expecting them much later, perhaps in a few weeks at the earliest. The funny thing is I have no idea what I planted, so we’ll be looking out for a surprise display of flowers in a couple of months. I’m a bit worried they might not do so well if there’s a frost later in the month or in February. Vita Moltedo, 48, Islington, 伦敦

在 28 十二月, I saw ducklings at Bingham’s Pond in the west end of Glasgow. 去年, the ducklings hatched in April. I was surprised to see so many in winter and worried that they might not survive due to lack of food and low temperatures. I wonder if it was the very mild weather that prompted the early laying and hatching. If the milder winter becomes more common, or the temperature drops later into winter, will it have an impact on duck and wild fowl numbers? Hopefully she’ll have another clutch in the spring anyway. Mhairi Maclennan, 格拉斯哥

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