The cold winter, reasonably decent summer and good old-fashioned spring and autumn benefited many kinds of fauna that had suffered through previous mild wet winters and soggy summers.
The National Trust, which produces an annual Christmas round-up of how the weather has affected wildlife, expressed relief.
Matthew Oates, the charity’s nature conservation adviser, said: “For the first time in a generation we have experienced a traditional year of weather and our wildlife has mostly responded favourably. A cold winter enabled wildlife to hibernate properly while a warm spring and early summer created ideal conditions for insects and led to bumper autumn berry crops in our orchards, woods and hedgerows.”
Two years ago the trust was warning that “unseasonal” weather could start to spell disaster for many species of insects, birds and mammals. It was especially concerned about miserable summers that were making life difficult for creatures from craneflies (or daddy-longlegs) to species of butterflies, members of the tit family and bats.
This year, Oates said there had probably been more winners than losers. He picked out native endangered and beloved species such as the heath fritillary butterfly on Exmoor, the netted carpet moth in Cumbria and puffins on the Farne islands as having done well.