lifestyle

'Outdoors is the best place to be': readers' photos of their local wildlife


Living with the coronavirus pandemic has meant many people are having to stay closer to home, but one benefit is having more time to take notice of the natural world around us. From barn owls in Norfolk to snowdrops in Glasgow, UK readers have been sharing pictures and stories of their local flora and fauna.

‘Just as we had given up, we saw the kingfisher right in front of us’

I began bird watching with my friend during the pandemic and would often see buzzards, kestrels, and herons amongst other bird species in the local nature reserve at Sale water park in Greater Manchester. The photo of the kingfisher above was taken two weeks ago, almost by accident. My friend and I usually go bird hunting together, and just as we had given up, we saw the kingfisher right in front of us, so we were quite lucky. It’s such a beautiful bird. Of all the rubbish things that have come from Covid, it’s forced us to get out and explore these nature reserves, which is good. Hugo Allen, 27, field biologist, Didsbury, Manchester

‘It’s nice to feel that nature is still ticking along’

Foxes in Ben’s back garden in Fleetwood, Lancashire from 7 February.
Foxes in Ben’s back garden in Fleetwood, Lancashire from 7 February. Photograph: Ben Tse-Laurence

I saw the foxes in our back garden on 7 February. They’re beautiful creatures and didn’t seem to mind me coming to say hello. I moved back home last September and after spending the last three years in the sunny Surrey hills, being by the sea again is refreshing. I used to run around the beaches with friends, whereas now it’s a bit more involved since I’m just walking around myself with a camera. It’s nice to rediscover the places I remember as a child. During the pandemic I’ve decided to focus more on the wildlife around me. It’s nice to feel that nature is still ticking along even though we’ve all slowed down. Ben Tse-Laurence, 26, PGCE student, Fleetwood, Lancashire

‘The sheer power of these birds is awesome’

A swan stretching its wings by the Thames at Benson, Oxfordshire.
A swan stretching its wings by the Thames at Benson, Oxfordshire on 5 February. Photograph: Wendy Tobitt

The golden hour photo came by accident on 5 February while I was watching swans by the River Thames at Benson. I just wanted to sit and watch them and have a mindful moment, but thought it would make a great photo so took my camera out. The sheer power of these birds is awesome. I waited and waited, and one bird flexed its wings and stretched. I just kept taking photos on my smartphone. Nature is important to me. I live alone and haven’t been part of a bubble during the pandemic so I’ve looked to nature as a companion. It’s always surprising. In order to see things like moss or frosted leaves, you have to slow down, pay attention and really look. Wendy Tobitt, 68, Wallingford, Oxfordshire

‘Snowdrops make me think of my grandmother’

Snowdrops in Castlemilk park, Glasgow, taken on 17 February 2021.
Snowdrops in Castlemilk park, Glasgow, taken on 17 February 2021. Photograph: Emma Taylor

Castlemilk park in Glasgow is a special wee place in an unlikely urban setting. It’s my local park which I go to often, but I’ve explored it further during lockdown with my two boys, four and 18 months old. I took the photo of snowdrops on 17 February. They are renowned in these woods – every year there is a snowdrop walk around the park for members of the community but this year it was held digitally. Snowdrops make me think of my mother and grandmother. My grandmother died when I was a 10 and her favourite flowers were snowdrops.

As a family we’ve taken part in the John Muir environmental award scheme which encourages people to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places. We received our explorer award for our explorations and activities during the last lockdown. I hope I can pass down my love of nature with my little ones and highlight how important our city parks are for biodiversity conservation and everyone’s health and wellbeing. Emma Taylor, 30, stay at home mum, Glasgow

‘The recent cold weather has forced hungry barn owls to hunt during the day’

A barn owl in Reepham, Norfolk on 11 February 2021.
A barn owl in Reepham, Norfolk on 11 February 2021. Photograph: Alan Dixon

As a keen wildlife photographer being ‘forced’ to walk around my local patch has enabled me to get a much deeper knowledge of what is around, and when and where it can be seen. I photographed a barn owl, possibly the same one, last May/June, in the same field so I was on the lookout for it this winter.

The field I took the photo in on 11 February is only a mile from my home in Reepham, Norfolk, but I have visited more frequently during all three lockdowns. The recent cold weather has forced hungry barn owls to hunt during the day. I have been photographing them to take advantage of the lovely light reflected up from the snow. I feel privileged, and to be able to see barn owls so close to home is a real joy.

I have certainly seen more wildlife locally during the lockdowns as I have been out walking more. As a long time observer of wildlife I h ave always been of the opinion that being outdoors is generally the best place to be. Alan Dixon, Reepham in Norfolk

If you would like to send in photos of the wildlife in your local area, you can do so by clicking here.



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