Monday, 8 July 2013

Bad year, good year. Or, perhaps the opposite

The photos above show the margins of a subsidence pond in one of the pasture fields north of Cresswell village. On the left hand side the pond in July 2012, as the record breaking wet summer swelled the wetlands throughout the Bay. To the right the same pond in July 2013, as the first proper heatwave since 2006 takes hold. The weather during 2012 was a startling combination, opening up with a lingering winter drought that broke in April, to be followed by weeks of high rainfall punctuated by occasional exceptional downpours. Homes were flooded, roads closed or washed away and crops destroyed. Wildlife certainly suffered, most conspicuously the familiar butterflies of summer with the often overlooked cabbage whites suddenly becoming things of rare and flimsy beauty. This year seems better, although the high summer skippers and brown butterflies are taking their time to first appear on the wing. But which pond looks in the best health? In 2013 the same pond is but a puddle, the rushes and grasses stunted and grazed. Admittedly in 2012 no sheep or cattle were kept out in the fields, instead taken inside to weather the weather, so this year the verdant grasses, including the likes of the very palatable Flote grass, (Glyceria fluitans), have been nibbled to stumps. Again, 2012 looks in retrospect, like a boon year for many of the wetland plants.

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