From: BBC
Published December 27, 2008 09:05 AM

Erratic weather 'harms wildlife'

UK wildlife is struggling to cope as erratic and unseasonal weather has taken its toll for a second consecutive year, the National Trust says.

It says birds, mammals and particularly insects have all suffered from a cold, late spring, a wet summer with little sunshine and a long, dry autumn.

The trust says species under threat include puffins, marsh fritillary butterflies and lesser horseshoe bats.

They warned another wet summer in 2009 could be a disaster for insects.


Studies of the past year by the trust's conservation experts show the impact of the weather and how some wildlife has become out-of-step with the usual seasonal patterns:

• Snowdrops and red admiral butterflies were first spotted in January, earlier than normal.

• Bees were hit hard in April by frost and snow

• Rain in late May caused many birds' nests to fail, including those of the blue and great tits, because of the lack of insect food

• It was a poor summer for migrant insects - butterflies, moths, hoverflies, ladybirds and dragonflies - because of the wet and cold June

• In July, puffin numbers on the Farne Islands were down 35% on what they had been five years earlier

• The common autumn cranefly, usually in pest proportions in September, was all but absent

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