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Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife notes December 2020

Snow Bunting Ainsdale Beach, Pete Kinsella

It was a wet one; measurable rain fell in Formby on 20 days during December. The 13th, 19th and 26th were especially damp, the latter coinciding with named storm ‘Bella’. It was also relatively mild, with frost largely restricted to a few mornings late in the month. There was no snow; indeed, it is now ten years since the last major snowfall here in December 2010. Unsurprisingly, the sand-dune water-table at my measuring point in the Devil’s Hole blowout rose by about 9cm (3.5 inches), in marked contrast to the previous month, when there was no change in the level.

New report reveals good news for rare breeding birds

Rare Breeding Birds Panel

New data shows that in 2018 ten species of rare birds bred in their highest ever recorded numbers across the UK. Thanks to extensive conservation work including reintroductions and habitat management, the fate of some of these birds continues to improve. However, some species haven’t fared as well, with some being impacted by cold winter weather and problems on migration.

New study identifies woodland management practices that are good for Britain’s bats

Barbastelle, by John Black

New research, just published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, has assessed bat populations across broadleaved woodlands managed in different ways. The work not only reveals the management practices that are good for bats, but also highlights those structural characteristics that are beneficial to individual bat species.

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