Some of London’s wildlife is coming out of hibernation two months early following some unseasonably mild weather. Wildlife Officers at WW TLondon Wetland Centre have noticed several species they would not usually see until the spring becoming active already.
Nathusius’ Pipistrelle bats have been spotted flying at night over the New Year period, they normally hibernate until late February.
Reptiles and amphibians like the common lizard, marsh frog and slow worm have also made an unseasonably early appearance. Usually at this time of year they are burrowed deep underground awaiting the warm spring air before they wake up. But the mild days and frost free nights have seen them come to the surface a full two months early.
Over the last fortnight average daytime temperature highs in St James Park have been 11.1 degrees, that’s 3 degrees warmer than the 30 year average (8.1 degrees). But the most noticeable difference in temperatures has ctually been overnight. We’d normally expect mean temperatures of 2.9 degrees and regular frosts. Instead recent night time lows have averaged 7.3 degrees –a full 4.3 degrees milder.
Butterflies and bees have also become active earlier, leading to concern for their safety. Many of the pollen laden plants they rely on have yet to flower.
Writing to the Daily Mail Gloria Havenhand begged readers not to “cut dandelions this spring. Dandelions offer the most nectar and pollen at a critical time for bees’ survival”.
The weather is set to turn increasingly cold over the weekend with daytime highs dipping down to 3 degrees on Sunday. Many of the animals are able to go back into hibernation they will have used up valuable energy in waking in the first place.