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Climate change ‘is taking its toll on wildlife’

Breaking Earth News
Chaotic summer weather patterns have heightened concerns that climate change could have a serious impact on Scotland's wildlife, flora and fauna, it emerged yesterday. The unpredictable weather has started to take its toll on the delicate balance of the country's natural landscape. A number of species have appeared in Scotland for the first time, while the survival of some montane plants and birds are at greater risk given a general rise in temperature. Nuthatches, which have in the past been restricted to England, bred this summer in Melrose and another property in East Lothian. "We cannot be certain that this is due to climate change but warning bells are ringing very loudly." A reduction in snow cover has been noted at the most northerly NTS properties, indicating significant temperature change, and as footpaths become exposed for longer each year it puts them at risk of accelerated erosion. Similar worries have been expressed by the National Trust which serves England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Many species emerged or bred earlier because of warm weather in the first few months of the year, while the heavy rain and low temperatures in the summer caused problems for insects, birds and bats. A male goldeneye duck was displaying in Northern Ireland in January, months earlier than usual, while bats were on the wing in late March, long before the usual time. Ladybirds, bumblebees, peacock butterflies and frogspawn all had an early start in February, and the good weather in April saw adonis blue and marsh fritillary butterflies on the wing "radically" early. And in October, basking sharks were spotted for the first time off the Farne Islands - the plankton they feed on is not normally found in the North Sea at that time of year.

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