'Spring is new summer'


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Two signs of summer have begun already, say researchers looking into reports from the public.

Hawthorn is now blossoming and the return of migrating swifts - events which normally occur in May - have prompted the Woodland Trust to declare "spring is the new summer".

The trust, analysing reports from members of the public taking part in the BBC Springwatch survey, said it showed how climate change was affecting wildlife and seasons.

The return of the swift from warmer countries, .

Swifts, already been seen across the south east of the UK in the last few days, are usually expected in mid May and could mean summer has come early

Dr Kate Lewthwaite of the Woodland Trust said: "Thanks to the exceptionally mild start to the year we are experiencing, this summer signal is arriving three weeks earlier than the 11 May average."

Dr Lewthwaite added the timing of the seasons was changing, with the mild winter and warm spring contributing to warmer than average temperatures.

"It is an example of how climate change is affecting our wildlife and seasons."

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