West End Wildlife
Glasgow is a lucky city in that it still has abundant wildlife living within the urban area. The West End of Glasgow, as one of the more affluent districts, filled with ponds, meadows and woodlands - both natural features and man-made, attracts a range of creatures who also find a living here. This is just some of them.
Herons, assorted ducks, cormorants, looking for fish, and eels frequent the ponds and canal network.
A range of upland butterflies and moths can be found in the surrounding hills in the summer and foxes live side by side with humans in back gardens and lanes.
In early spring, even when ice still coats the higher ponds, frogs and toads start croaking and producing spawn to turn into tadpoles.
It may look cute or even seem a good idea to release non native animals into the wild but in the case of the Red Eared Terrapin from the American deep south released a couple of years ago into Kelvingrove Pond it is a disaster for the other inhabitants as they eat baby ducklings by drowning them first. Frogs, tadpoles and anything else small enough to grab and take chunks out of are also at risk.
Certain ponds in London's warmer climes are infested with these creatures but thankfully they fall ill and die outdoors further north. One advantage of freezing winters is that they eradicate any wildlife and bugs that do not belong in the area. The South of England also has a growing number of mildly poisonous spiders (False Widow Spider) that have crept north due to milder climatic conditions.
As the recent floods across the country have vividly demonstrated heavy snowfall in winter is preferable to excessive rain. Snow also boosts highland income with the ski resorts and other communities benefiting. Climate change is a problem that can be rectified given enough international will, money and commitment yet countries still appear reluctant to take radical steps to repair the problem if it doesn't affect them.
Instead, we focus on and are too often distracted by other, usually man made problems, occurring around the world.
Apart from the problem of flooded homes 70 percent of the UK's most endangered wildlife has been in continuing decline since the 1970s. The weather is bad enough for humans living indoors but imagine trying to survive outside in these conditions, especially if you are a mole or live in or near a river or flooded field.
If we want to have any wildlife left apart from rats, pigeons and bed bugs the time to act is now.
It has been a bad year so far for people affected but most forms of wildlife are getting hammered as well... and we can fix the climate given enough incentive to do so.
Bob Law, January, 2016