Our own Spring Watch - Your photos of birds, blossoms and wild beauty in gardens and neighbourhoods
- Credit: Sophie Barnett
Spring has sprung, and the beauty of nature in our home areas is more important than ever this year during the restrictions of lockdown. Readers and staff have shared their photos and thoughts.
The arrival of spring is usually the signal to get out of your house and explore the countryside.
This year, it’s all so different, as, due to the coronavirus crisis, we are all being advised to stay at home as much as possible.
But, even so, we can all take inspiration from the BBC’s Springwatch. As the show says on its Facebook page: ”Nature is still open!”
The show, which has several times been based at locations in Norfolk and Suffolk, has always encouraged us all to discover nature on our own doorsteps. And spring 2020 is a time to do just that, more than ever.
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Of course, all those with gardens are especially lucky, since they can become real havens of wildlife.
This year’s Big Garden Birdwatch, organised by the RSPB, emphasised the range of garden birds which may visit, including long-tailed tits, wrens, and coal tits, which have all ben helped the milder winter.
MORE - Sparrows on top in race for space on garden feedersSarah Thomas, from Sudbury, has recently spotted a couple of ducks in her garden, as well as a more unusual visitor. She said: “We had a couple of feathered friends pop by on Sunday! And on Saturday night we saw a hedgehog in the garden , something I’ve haven’t seen in over 10 years!”
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Garden trees and flowers also bring endless pleasure, and watching blossom and daffodils appear has been a welcome distraction for many.
Ann Harvey and her husband in Catfield are enjoying their garden flowers during the lockdown. She said: “Our garden is a life saver.”
And Sarah Barber in Ipswich enjoys admiring all blossom on the plum tree in her back garden, as well as watching her wildlife pond.
Of course, we are still being encouraged to take daily exercise by going for walks, runs or cycle rides in our local areas, and many people have spotted a range of wildlife along the way.
In the Ipswich area, Philip Warren got a surprise when he noticed a male hooded merganser duck on the River Gipping near his home. He said: “The duck, native to South America, was spotted in Christchurch Park earlier this year, and we didn’t see him at the time, so it was nice to see him so close to home.”
Julie Bremner, from Norwich, said: “I don’t have a garden so I walked to a small woodland area near Anglian Water in Dereham Road and took some photos. I did take my rainbow umbrella, which brightened things up!”
Cheyanne Lowther enjoys taking her dog for a daily walk in the local area.
She writes: “My dog is called Elsie and she’s a Pomachon (half a Pomeranian and Bichon Frise), she’s four years old and is such a character. She absolutely loves going for walks, especially to the beach. But also up some of the lovely lanes we have around Hoveton. She’s always sniffing the flowers.”
MORE - 8 ways to cope with coronavirus anxiety Spring is also providing inspiration for learning at home.
Media teacher at One Sixth Form College in Ipswich Alastair Bartlett said, “We’re doing a daily photography challenge to keep students engaged creatively, as well as academically.
“It’s really important to give students focus, not only for their learning, but also their wellbeing. We’ve had lots of great responses and are going to continue the challenge as a weekly project after Easter.”
Our local wildlife trusts have also been encouraging everyone to enjoy wildlife close to home. Norfolk Wildlife Trust posted on Facebook: “Many of us are relying on our gardens for fresh air, wildlife and mental wellbeing at the moment. In addition, collectively our gardens can provide important places, homes and food sources for butterflies and moths.”
The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS have together set up a Wild About Gardens website with wildlife gardening ideas which are especially geared to helping butterflies, but also hedgehogs, birds and more.