Wildlife has come alive this year … the previous seven years have been dismal for plants and wildlife … so while we ponder in amazement at the fact our seawater temperatures were as high as those in Califiornia … 68.7 degF (20.4C) off Devon.
|Godrevy Lighthouse in St Ives Bay - could have|
done with that temperature when I was growing up!
We had that mild but drenching winter, the wettest in 250 years, which has helped our wildlife, but threatened our coasts and vulnerable landscapes, which are recovering …
|All sorts - phytopia (phytoplankton)|
Microscopic plants, the phytoplankton and the large plants like kelp enjoy the warmer sea temperatures – as too jelly fish … and a magical display was put on by dolphins in St Ives Bay … near Virginia Woolf’s lighthouse at Godrevy on the northern edge of the Bay. We used to swim there as kids … and we never saw dolphins!
The warm seas have brought leatherback turtles into our waters to feast off the jelly fish … and humpback whales have been sighted in the Irish Sea cruising north towards Scotland – the whales and basking sharks follow their food, plankton and small fish which migrate as waters warm.
|Dolphin sighting off beach at Gwithian, St Ives Bay|
It’s been bliss for butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies … I’ve seen them down here this year …
... bumblebees, moths and hoverflies are also doing well … while wasps are a necessary evil as they devour aphids and caterpillars (but they are not doing so well, after the cold springs of 2012 and 2013 – probably resulting in the death of queens): but I might have spoken too early!
Biting insects are around … mosquitoes seem to be more prevalent … I’ve seen clouds of midges, clegs (horsefly) and other species of flies are certainly abounding now … but these bode well for the migrating insectivorous birds …
|A tick - notice it's got 8 legs|
I can attest to the biting insects – some
young friends went off to the New Forest for a wedding – it was an outdoor wedding, laid back and relaxed … but outdoors and camping!
Fifteen of the party had to go to hospital with tick bites – that need to be treated with a great deal of respect and removed properly … lime disease can be a consequence.
Creepy crawlies, slithery slugs, alarming ants are all marching and eating their way to fatness – before a seagull, pigeon or jackdaw round here (and if we’re lucky a green woodpecker) pecks them up … or swoop upwards as the flying ants swarm …
It’s great having a good summer at last, but we need a very cold winter too (though last year suited me fine – warm!), because it kills off the species we don’t need and which aren’t used to the cold, before they interbreed with our native species.
|Bursting Brambles from the hedgerows|
Grapes, cherries and strawberries are abundant and profuse at farm shops or vineyards … the hedgerows are falling over themselves with insect life, plant and grass flowerings, brambles full of blackberries … apples, plums, pears are all overflowing with fruits …
|Grasses: Browntop Bent, Red Fescue,|
Crested Dogstail, Meadow Fescue, Smooth
Stalk Meadow Grass, Yorkshire Fog - while
the tall rye grass will grow too
c/o Lovely Greens.com
The changeable weather, is not unusual, the jet stream will draw insects and birds from the south, the strong thunderstorms will hoover all in their paths and noisily dump strange insects into our midsts … the increased competition for food forces the insects to disperse in search of new supplies …
|Hedgehog enjoying the bounty of insect life|
The meadows are in full flower and abuzz with insects, fruit is abundant and ripening, and birds are feasting on the bounty … while the fields look to give farmers a good harvest.
|Swallowtail (Papilio Machaon)|
- trailing edges of the hind
wings resemble swallow tails
So from the south coast of England … on a Bank Holiday weekend … before Autumn arrives completely … I shall leave you with the scattering of photos and annotations through the post … encourage birds, bees and butterflies et al to flourish …
… and a note – please do not kill flora or fauna with nerve-agent pesticides known as neonicotinoids …
Happy weekend to one and all: nature needs us to protect it …
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