Wharfedale naturalists hear how the tough winter weather has hit wildlife (From Wharfedale Observer)
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Wharfedale naturalists hear how the tough winter weather has hit wildlife
8:00am Saturday 23rd March 2013 in Local news
Last year’s miserable weather caused nesting birds to die from lack of food or hypothermia, according to a local naturalists’ group.
At the Wharfedale Naturalist Society meeting its recorders for butterflies, moths, dragonflies, birds and the weather gave their reports for 2012.
Society member Jenny Dixon said the mood at the meeting was “unusually sombre” because of the effect of last year’s cold and wet weather on the area’s wildlife.
She said: “There were only three frost-free months, rainfall was a huge 1,238 mm and often this weather was delivered in violent bursts, particularly punishing to wildlife.
“Migrant butterflies and birds were absent or late and the destruction of insects and their caterpillars led to starvation for many nesting birds, others dying from hypothermia or, in the case of ground and riverside nesters, being flooded out.
“Creatures that have only recently moved into our region, such as emperor dragonflies, are losing their hold.
“There were a few chinks of light. Our small tortoiseshell butterfly population bucked the national trend by doing well, relative newcomers the ringlets also survived well, and green hairstreaks and northern brown Argus – both Wharfedale specialities – are still holding on.
“And the huge increase in the snail and slug populations last year was great for song thrushes.”