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Bad year for the wasps, good year for picnickers.

EXTREME weather spelled a "rollercoaster" 2014 for the UK's wildlife, according to the National Trust's annual round-up of the year in nature.

From the stormy winter at the beginning of the year to a "superb" June, a very wet August and one of the driest Septembers on record, it was a topsy-turvy year in the countryside and on the coasts, with both winners and losers among plants and animals.

Increasingly extreme weather brought by a changing climate combined with a loss of habitat means the UK's plants and animals are facing a challenging future - and the past year could be a sign of things to come, the National Trust said.

The Trust labelled 2014 the "year of the biting fly", with horseflies and mosquitoes benefiting from the warm and often wet summer, while slugs, swallows and house martins, and frogs and toads all did well.

A raft of migrant species also thrived, such as bee-eaters, exotic birds from southern Europe which nested successfully on the Isle of Wight.

But veteran trees were damaged by the storms that raged across the UK at the start of the year, while purple emperor and purple hairstreak butterflies did badly.

In good news for picnickers, though, common wasps also had a poor year across much of southern England.

Little terns along the Norfolk coast at Blakeney were forced to nest in low-lying areas after tidal surges changed the profile of the beach and were then hit by high tides in mid-June which flooded their nests and led to a very poor breeding season.

Other seabirds managed to recover from the winter storms to have successful breeding seasons.


A National Trust picture of a median wasp |

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 27, 2014
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