The British summer time is something of a mystery, I am sure that most people will be able to remember sunny days during the summer but of late it has been a little wet. That in its self is a bit of understatement as the period between April – June has been the wettest since records began. Not only is this weather dampening our summer aspirations but it is also proving to be causing extremely damaging conditions for the UK’s wildlife.
The unusually wet weather has affected a large cross section of Britain’s wildlife. Some of the worst affected are puffins, terns, bats, butterflies, bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and moths. Puffins have had a catastrophic breeding season with colonies on the Farne Islands being almost wiped out. The National Trust manages the islands and has reported that 90% of the burrows that puffins use to nest have been lost on Brownsman Island and puffins have been found drowned in around half the burrows in other islands.
After a relatively dry start to the year even the amphibians such as frogs, toads and newts are beginning to struggle with the water, not so much the amount but the warmth of it. The rain water has filled ponds and become too cold for them to survive in.
Even for some plant life the weather has been too wet with many of the more delicate summer plants being watered down by the regular down pours.
It isn’t all bad news, animals such as slugs and snails have been reveling in the wet weather. And for many gardeners it has been a busy summer with lawns needing to be cut back quicker and wild plant life such as brambles and bracken requiring to be cut back to ensure that country paths remain clear.
However, looking to the future, next year many insects could be facing a tough time unless the sun returns soon. With some populations already dwindling the wet weather may lead to some species struggling to survive. The better weather would help these insects to repopulate and help to stabilise their population.
Hopefully the sun is just around the corner, I keep trying to convince myself, and the damage that has been done to our wildlife can be repaired to ensure that future generations can enjoy fun family days out in the countryside. So please, rain, rain, go away and come again another day.