Nature Notes: Wetness wipeout
Compared with previous years, the number and variety of birds visiting my garden is extremely disappointing.
My feeders remain untouched for long periods with just one pair each of blue and great tits, the occasional coal tit, plus two feisty robins and a dunnock. Below the feeders patrol a pair of woodpigeons, two stockdoves, a male blackbird and maybe a wren.
Nuthatches (pictured) ever present for many years have vanished along with long-tailed tits, goldcrests, starlings, great spotted woodpecker, thrushes and finches.
The reason for this situation can probably be traced to the endless wet weather that commenced last April which led to a disastrous breeding season for many species.
One encouraging aspect as far as my garden is concerned is that having installed new feeders with the central nut-carrying core made of clear plastic instead of wire mesh, parakeets and squirrels cannot cope with the small access holes within which the nuts are housed, so they stay away thankfully.
Many butterflies, moths, bees, wasps and other insects also suffered badly because rain and lack of sun restricted flying, feeding, finding mates and egg laying. The wet winter does not help either for hibernating insects including our most colourful butterflies as it can prove fatal due to dampness and resulting mildew making hibernation sites untenable.
Good old fashioned dry, cold frosty conditions are far more beneficial to a wide range of creatures.