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A warm welcome? The wildlife visitors warning of climate disaster

Britain’s milder weather is attracting exotic guests. While we may celebrate their arrival now it should also alert us to what’s ahead

Mediterranean egrets balancing on the backs of cows, multicoloured moths the dimensions of the a human hand, and impossibly exotic bee-eaters hawking for insects under English skies. All are here as a direct consequence of the climate crisis, which has allowed continental European species to extend their ranges northwards, and then stimulate the leaping across the Channel to gain a foothold in southern Britain.

Whenever I take a walk along the disused railway line across the Avalon marshes, near my Somerset home, I can’t help noticing these new arrivals. Tall and elegant, great lily-white egrets firstly arrived here from France only a couple of years ago; now I encounter them every time I visit. Down the road, at the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s reserve at Catcott Lows, flocks of livestock egrets- the same species we see in wildlife movies from Africa- gather to feed, roosted appropriately on the backs of livestock. Elsewhere on the marshes, secretive darknes herons and little bitterns have also engendered in recent years.

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Read more: theguardian.com

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