Thank you for all your comments on our blogs, but please remember that your sightings only count if they are logged on the Nature’s Calendar website.

Here at the Woodland Trust we have been recording signs of spring (and autumn!) for 15 years. This is a mere blink of the eye compared to the records which date back nearly three centuries to when Robert Marsham began recording spring species and events back in 1736 on his family estate near Norwich.

In partnership with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Cambridge we have been able to analyse over two and a half million pieces of data, historic and modern, recorded by the public across the length and breadth of the UK. This information has provided a real insight into how plants and animals are responding to climate change. We have already discovered how both spring and autumn are arriving earlier than before; up to two weeks in the case of certain species, and that the seasons in themselves are also much less distinct. In some years ‘winter’ seems to hardly make an appearance at all.

We know that some species are dependant on one another and so the relationship between when they appear is important. If leafing and caterpillar hatching are happening earlier, for instance, birds will need to be able to respond to this so they don’t miss the peak availability of spring food for their nestlings.

What we have yet to really understand is how and why these events occur geographically across the country and what influences may play a part on their arrival. So theoretically we know that spring should begin in the South West and work its way up the country to Scotland. What is less clear is how quickly certain species will make an appearance across the country from south to north.

With the help of Springwatch viewers we hope to piece together the speed at which five seasonal events are first seen across the country from south to north; seven-spot ladybird, oak leafing, hawthorn flowering, orange-tip butterfly and the swallow returning from Africa.

By analysing the records we hope to find out if there is a uniform direction that spring progresses in, whether particular species react differently and even if it speeds up or slows down as it arrives.

Better understanding of seasonal timings means we may be able to help species that appear less able to react to climate change. For example analysis of our records shows that frogs are so locally adapted they may struggle to keep up with even modest change.

We all know that our precious wildlife habitats are under threat and it’s important we do what we can to protect and link up existing habitats, create new habitats and manage the natural environment for the benefit for as diverse an array of wildlife as possible.

By Dr Kate Lewthwaite, Woodland Trust Citizen Science Manager

Tips on how to identify the Big Spring Watch species:

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  • Comment number 3086. Posted by paulgra

    on 15 Jun 2015 20:27

    i would like to report we had female kestral land in a tree in our garden at 9.30 this morning, never seen one so far from fields suspect food is in short supply

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  • Comment number 3085. Posted by carol

    on 12 Jun 2015 09:19

    Hi Springwatch Team, I was fortunate to have a 'Painted Lady' land close by me in my garden this morning at 09.00 approx, in area SY112XF.
    Not sure if this species is on the list of Butterflies included in the 'How fast Spring Moves' survey as I am new to this.
    Apologies if I have put this in the wrong 'contact box'.
    regards
    carol booth

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  • Comment number 3084. Posted by Linda Hutchins

    on 8 Jun 2015 18:06

    Why don't the swifts eat the parasites that feed on them, or any birds for that matter. It seems very practical!

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  • Comment number 3083. Posted by Nick Hedges

    on 7 Jun 2015 21:04

    seen the a pair of Stagg beetles come out in our garden in Epsom Surrey for the first time this evening about 9pm.

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  • Comment number 3082. Posted by maddy

    on 7 Jun 2015 16:32

    Has anyone noticed the lack of ladybirds this year? Last year they came out early then the weather turned cold I wonder if they have got killed off !!

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  • Comment number 3081. Posted by Mick James

    on 7 Jun 2015 09:05

    I don't know if this is the right forum, but I have a question. We have a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker which has been resident on our patio for the last 4 days which obviously cannot fly more than a couple of feet. It calls out every 2-3 seconds during the day. We have noticed its mother feeding it in the early morning. The juvenile climbs the pedestal of our bird bath and the mother feeds it in that position. (Obviously mimicking feeding on a tree?). My question is 'How long will this situation continue? Is the juvenile at risk from the crows (not to mention the owl) that also reside in the tress around our garden'? I have put water on the ground near the bird bath which it has been using.

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  • Comment number 3080. Posted by fishvinck

    on 7 Jun 2015 00:24

    Anyone know if you get hummingbirds in Belgium? Yeah... I know it's Springwatch UK but I'm an ex-pat in Belgium.... and it's a hummingbird!!! We saw one today in the garden after the big storm yesterday...

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  • Comment number 3079. Posted by denncase1

    on 6 Jun 2015 09:50

    spotted one more water vole on the river anker in plain sight at 4pm on the 5th of june Nuneaton, warks.

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  • Comment number 3078. Posted by Sue lane

    on 5 Jun 2015 19:05

    Just seen a catch up of the show talking about ticks . try tea tree oil . just one drop on the tick . it will shrivel and drop off no fuss quick and no problem with not getting all of it . totaly safe for the dog and for us humans too x

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  • Comment number 3077. Posted by denncase1

    on 4 Jun 2015 21:02

    From the 28th may to the 4th june spotted 4 different water voles on the river Anchor on the Weddington meadows streach

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