Global warm­ing caus­ing wildlife deficit

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FEATURES -

SIR, – A small fly is ap­par­ently driv­ing us nuts. So­cial me­dia is full of it. Much misiden­ti­fied as wasp, bee, clegg or other, it has fi­nally pen­e­trated and the shout now is “Don’t worry, they are com­pletely harmless”. I write of course about the hum­ble hov­er­fly.

Pop­u­la­tions in the wild are all sub­ject to rise and fall, and in an in­sect’s case of­ten de­pen­dent on a mild winter. We can hardly blame that this year. The root of the prob­lem may be much more wor­ry­ing. More even than Brexit or Indyref – and it doesn’t lie in the north-east.

Keen ob­servers may have no­ticed an­other phe­nom­e­non. The skies in July and Au­gust are nor­mally filled with fa­mil­iar wildlife. Look up this year and the skies are prac­ti­cally empty. I re­fer of course to swal­lows, mar­tins and swifts.

The deficit is cat­a­strophic. In my own case, in­stead of many nest­ing swal­lows rear­ing two or three nests a year, there is one soli­tary male which has built two par­tial nests out of in­stinct in the for­lorn hope of a mate which never ar­rived.

Now it is es­ti­mated that a flock that size can eas­ily con­sume 6,000 hov­er­flies in a day to fuel their high­en­ergy life­style. Swifts and mar­tins the same. Mul­ti­ply that up. We have the an­swer to the plague surely.

The prob­lem has to be food sup­ply, and as we can see, it cer­tainly isn’t at this end. In fact that is why they come this far north in the first place. So it has to be Africa. Dare I men­tion global warm­ing?

I do not sug­gest they have starved to death but food short­age means they do not have the re­serves of strength to make that fan­tas­tic jour­ney over the Sa­hara desert and high moun­tain ranges, prob­a­bly per­ish­ing on the way.

I can only speak for my lo­cal area and it is hardly a sci­en­tific study but my eyes do not lie. We should be wor­ried about this planet.

Ge­orge Mitchell, Change­hill, New­machar

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