Wildlife setback following wet August

This year’s warm spring created the perfect conditions for British plants, insects and birds to thrive, but a wet August meant the summer's predicted wildlife boom fell short of the mark, say experts

1st September 2017
Large white butterfly

August’s heavy rainfall saw Britain’s birds, insects and plants struggle to achieve the predicted boom, according to experts at the National Trust.

The warm spring was perfect for flowers, trees and shrubs – like daffodils, elder and dog rose – and ensured good nesting conditions for many birds. The balmy temperatures also boosted roe deer populations and saw a number of insect species appear sooner than normal.

 “After a highly promising spring and early summer, the good weather was disrupted and the rains came down. This was especially damaging for warmth-loving insects, including many butterflies and bees,” said National Trust nature and wildlife expert Matthew Oates.

It was the wettest August on record, disrupting breeding habits, threatening insects with viruses, pathogens and mould, and causing an undesirable surge in grass growth.

"It means we haven’t had a genuinely good summer since 2006 - the wait goes on."

However, it's not all bad – the mid-summer heat wave and damp August is likely to be good for autumn fungi and spider populations. While many autumn fruits, seeds, nuts and berries should also do well. 

“Our rangers are working closely with our tenant farmers to provide the right habitats for wildlife at our places, but as we all know, you can’t rely on the weather. The north has had a particularly rough time while the South East has had quite a good summer,” added Oates.

Find out more about the National Trust.

 

Main image: ©Getty

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