What does the warm weather mean for our green spaces?
Whilst we may have all enjoyed some unexpected shorts and t-shirt weather, what does this mean for the wildlife that may not be ready for it?
Last week temperatures rose across the UK, breaking records and making this the warmest February for some time – a stark contrast to this time last year when we were enduring the Beast from the East! The early spring sunshine has been appreciated by most of us but higher temperatures can have an effect on the land, and the flora and fauna it supports.
On our green spaces we’ve seen blackthorn blossoming and daffodils blooming, honey bees buzzing and butterflies flittering around the office garden, and during half term’s Wildlife Wednesday at Mowbray Fields one lucky visitor found a common lizard. Community Reserves Warden Lucy was even prevented from spring cleaning one of the bird boxes at Thrupp Lake last weekend as it was already being used by nesting birds.
All of these are more common occurrences later in Spring, so is it a problem for them to be happening now?
From an agricultural point of view this warm weather is really good for the soil. The autumn crop on the farm is now established enough that more cold weather wouldn’t have a negative impact. It is, however, putting pressure on our Land Management team, to finish up their coppicing and other winter woodland work! If you are interested in getting involved with our Land Management team then we have regular volunteering opportunities available.
However, if there is another very cold snap the freezing weather would kill off buds that have already started to develop, leading to a lack of blossom and fruit or seeds later in the year. A downturn in temperatures could also lead to fewer caterpillars and other invertebrates to feed early hatching chicks. On the Earth Trust Farm we work hard to support various species of bird including our farmland birds, which have been declining elsewhere in the UK in recent years. Along with a number of other measures to support our bird populations, we distribute 33kg of seed three times a week to supplement the birds’ natural food sources. We’ll be continuing to do so right up until April – whatever the weather brings! If you would like to support our work on the Earth Trust Farm, you can do so by making an online donation, every penny of which will be very gratefully received and make a fantastic difference.