Global warming causing wildlife deficit
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