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|Wildlife Summary 2012|
As we all know now 2012 was the wettest year since records began and I'm sure everyone remembers the awful wet spring and summer. Butterflies, Damselflies, Dragonflies and most other insects were very late emerging if they emerged at all and this has had a knock-on effect right up the food chain It had a marked effect on the breeding success of most if not all our birds. It has been noticeable that with the poor survival rates of nestlings due to a lack of insects for food, fewer birds are about. Wrens, most of the tit family (except Coal Tits for some reason) and Grey Wagtails seem to be some of the worst affected in my patch.
Waterfowl have been less affected, the ducks and geese seem to be as numerous as ever but poor breeding success in their northern breeding grounds has reduced the numbers of juvenile Whooper Swans and some wintering geese being seen on the Solway Coast, though strangely, the number of adult Whoopers seems to be a lot greater than normal. (Possibly due to the wet weather preventing the harvesting of grain crops, leading to a lot of food for the swans and geese left lying in the fields).
After a poor year last year when there were very few Waxwings about the, last few months of this year have seen a widespread influx of the birds across the county. However, because of the wet spring there are fewer berries for them to feed on, with the result that they are having to move about a lot and so are more difficult to find.
Trees have been very much in the news during 2012 for all the wrong reasons. Tree disease seems to be much more prevalent nowadays, Chestnut Canker, Larch die-back, Sudden Oak die back and lately the major problems with Ash all seem to be linked, but to what? We can only hope that 2013 is kinder to our flora and fauna than 2012 has been.
David Thomason 27th Jan 2013