Mixed year for East Lancashire wildlife

Blackburn Citizen: The small tortoiseshell butterfly thrived The small tortoiseshell butterfly thrived

WILDLIFE in East Lancashire has both struggled and thrived this year thanks to our changeable weather, according to nature experts.

The National Trust has revealed that the seven-spot ladybird has had its ‘fortunes turned around’ after six consecutive poor summers thanks to this year’s two-month heatwave.

The trust also said that butterflies, moths, bees, crickets and grasshoppers across East Lancashire had enjoyed a prosperous 12 months.

Tree bumblebees, which only started to colonise in the UK in 2001, expanded across the North West, over the year.

And British Black Bees enjoyed a good summer, but have struggled since the start of the autumn with the cold and wet weather.

But hedgehogs across the county have failed to recover from previous bad years.

The Lancashire branch of the Butterfly Conservation said that ‘ringlet’ and ‘small tortoiseshell’ butterflies had a good year, while ‘small white’ butterflies had a ‘phenomenal’ year thanks to the warm weather during July and August.

However, the organisation said that the Duke of Burgundy butterfly had a bad year after only being sighted once in the area in 2013.

Laura Sivell, the county butterfly recorder for the Butterfly Conservation, said: “It has been a very bad year for this type of butterfly and I would not be surprised if it disappeared from Lancashire all together next year.

“It has been a bumper year for other types such as the small white but I think that if we had had another summer like the cold and wet on in 2012 then we could have been looking at losing a lot of species in 2014.”

David Bush, of the Blackburn and East Lancs Beekeepers Association, said: “It has been a mixed year for bees in Lancashire with most doing quite well during the summer but a lot struggling from then on.

“The cold and wet weather has hit them hard and a lot are still suffering the knock-on effect from the bad summer last year.”

Janis Dean from Lancashire Hedgehog Care, said: “Weather problems this year have also affected them and the impact of people destroying a lot of their natural habitat such as hedgerows. They have been forced to enter gardens a lot more and that has exposed them to more dangers.”

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