Thanks to Chris Collett from the RSPB for sending this press release on the drought in the North West (and the superb Ring Ouzel portrait)...
North West drought hitting wildlife in Lancashire, says RSPB
Wildlife is suffering in one of the toughest dry spells in North West England for more than 80 years, say conservationists.
RSPB wetland reserves near the Ribble are suffering from parched conditions and there are warnings that the wildlife they support could suffer unless substantial rain comes soon. As well as thousands of wading birds, ducks and geese, these sites are home to a wide range of fish and insects.
Also in Lancashire the United Utilities Stocks reservoir in Bowland is very low and the surrounding bog land has dried up, offering little in the way of food for young birds such as ring ouzels and grouse.
However, a recently completed project by United Utilities, supported by the RSPB, offers hope for a future more resistant to drought. For the past five years the Sustainable Catchment Management Project (SCaMP) has seen the water company, its Bowland estate tenants and conservationists work together to restore wetlands and re-wet peat bogs, plant new woodlands and restrict grazing in sensitive areas.
"Wildlife relies on water just as we do, from brown trout and dragonflies to wetland birds such as snipe and lapwing," said RSPB Bowland Project officer Pete Wilson. "Droughts like this one can have a real impact.
"But over the next few decades we should reap the benefits of the SCaMP project, making our precious uplands more resistant to the impacts of drought. The measures we have taken to keep the fells wet and prevent peat erosion should result in a gradual improvement in the habitat, which will benefit birds and other wildlife.
"This work should also protect the quality and quantity of water available for millions of people in the North West as there will be less peat being lost to discolour the water and fill reservoirs with sediment."
So dry down around Cabin Hill at present that I had both Dark Green Fritillary AND Emperor Dragonfly way out over the beach and looking confused today.
Rain due the day after tomorrow.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...