Nature notes: Swings and roundabouts

Wimbledon Guardian: Nature notes: Swings and roundabouts Nature notes: Swings and roundabouts

Unlike our superb team GB, this summer will not win any gold medals and in fact, won't even qualify for a bronze despite two mini heatwaves.

But that is purely our point of view and the way in which it affects us.

Because, although some wildlife has suffered including bees, wasps, some butterfly species, ground-nesting birds and fruits such as blackberries are slow to ripen, many aspects of the natural world have seen a range of benefits from record rainfall.

Water bodies have been replenished and rivers run full.

The soil has had little time to dry out encouraging earthworms to surface allowing birds such as blackbirds to enjoy a bonanza.

For badgers and foxes, earthworms comprise a major part of their diet so they have been able to hoover them up on damp grass and garden lawns overnight.

Vegetation is exceedingly lush.

Grasses and wild flowers have flourished especially ragwort, a banned agricultural toxic weed but nevertheless a rich source of nectar for insects with its massed golden florets.

Butterflies whose caterpillars feed on grasses including meadow browns, skippers, marbled whites, ringlets (pictured) and most notably gatekeepers have fared well.

The gatekeeper only arrived around SW regions of London in 1990 so is a real success story.

Nevertheless, buddleia bushes that normally act as magnets for colourful butterflies have been bare, as peacocks, red admirals and especially small tortoiseshells have not enjoyed a good year.

So, a summer of gains and losses. However, whatever the weather in this Olympic year, we should always look on the brightside of life!

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