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Are you ready to spring into action?

WE'VE been battered by wild wintry storms over the last few months, and the freshness of spring seems a long way off when you're battening down the hatches.

But if you look closely you'll see woods are already humming with life and there are tiny clues that spring is just around the corner, says Danielle Wesley from the Woodland Trust - so why don't you wrap up warm and head out to see if you can find them? Here are a few clues: Trees springing into action Hazel and elder are two of the first trees to spring into action. Look out for yellow catkins on hazel trees and dark red elder buds bursting open to reveal the new leaves inside.

Early spring flowers Snowdrops and primroses are some of the first spring flowers to pop up, brightening up bare woods with splashes of white and pale yellow. They are followed by lesser celandines, which look like bright yellow stars dotted across the woodland floor.

If you look very carefully, you might also spot deep green bluebell shoots peeping above the earth to make the most of the early spring sunshine.

Can you hear the birds? Have you heard birds singing early in the morning? This is called the dawn chorus, and it means that spring isn't far away! As the nights get shorter and the days get longer, more and more of our feathery friends will join the choir.

They sing to announce that they've chosen a territory and are ready to start building nests.

Most birds start nesting from April, but some start from as early as the beginning of February!

Watch out for blackbirds, rooks and mistle thrushes getting a head start.

They collect twigs, grass, moss, mud and feathers to make cosy homes, and are all ready to lay their eggs from early March.

Find frogs and frogspawn Frogs start mating from January onwards, so look out for frogspawn in ponds, ditches and slow-moving streams.

The tiny black specks are the eggs, surrounded by balls of jelly that help to protect them from predators.

But there's so much more to discover!

Check out the first signs of spring spotter sheet at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk - and see how many spring signs you can track down and tick off, or let them know what you have found where you are.

FACTFILE | Spring is a symbol of rebirth. | When it is spring in the northern hemisphere it is autumn in the southern hemisphere. | Spring begins on March 21 or 22.

| The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox.

| Vernal is Latin for spring. | Equinox is Latin for equal days. | On the first day of spring, the sunrise and sunset are about 12 hours apart everywhere on the Earth, and the hours of daylight and night are almost equal. Daylight is a little longer.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 5, 2016
Words:476
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