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Summer/Autumn 2007

After a record warm and dry April this year we suffered what must be one of the wettest summers on record. This undoubtably had a very significan effect on our local wildlife but it wil be difficult to assess the longer term changes until next year. From my own personal experiences I know insects were far harder to spot and most emerged weeks later than they normally would, but the relative warmth of late August and September has prolonged the flight period of many late-season species. One such striking example was with the Hornet Robber Flies (Asilus crabroniformis) in Tony Rayner’s meadow. He records the flight periods and population sizes each year and this year they emerged approcimately 3 weeks late than any other year, but individuals were still being seen on the 12th October, which is extremely late. This suggests that their emergence was delayed but the lack of really bad/cold weather in autumn has at least mitigated the damage by letting individuals live for a long time.