The Today programme on Radio 4 tells me that two thirds of species are in decline, and that the Small Tortoiseshell and Natterjack Toad are under threat of extinction!! The former I can believe, but having spent a decade trying to stop the Natterjack toad from going extinct, this came as something of a shock! I had stopped fretting about the lovely Small Tort as it is one of the few butterflies I have seen this year, one does wonder who writes these press releases. My local Natter population has had a boom time of late with nearly three times more present than when I started in the late 1980s, and as long as natural dune formation continues on the Merseyside dunes I dont see much reason to panic for the continued survival of the Running Toad, though local difficulties exist (little change there for a species completely dependent on early seral habitats!) But of course grazing should sort all that out, shouldn’t it??

  I hardly saw Small Tortoiseshell for 4 years in this area, but helped 4 which were flapping themselves to death against the stained glass in Ovington church this March, the first overwinterers I’d seen in yonks, so not extinct just yet.

perhaps the ultimate laugh was the startling revelation that wildlife trusts have helped compile the report. The burning question is ( given the level of info held by local records centres) how the hell would they know what is rare??

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