Wildlife Photography During Lockdown!

April 18, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Well, what a few weeks it has been. At the start of this year I bet nobody would have been able to predict that we would be spending March and April in our homes and gardens (if we're lucky enough to have one), unable to travel or access the freedoms that we have all taken for granted for so many years. Schools closed. Work stopped. Shops closed. Not allowed to visit family and loved ones. I, like so many millions of people all over the world, found that things changed overnight. All the plans and expectations that I'd had were suddenly put on hold or even forgotten about completely.

I admit that it has taken me the first 3 weeks of lockdown to settle into a new routine. At first I was anxious and worried. How was I going to get the experience with wildlife surveys and volunteering that I needed? Suddenly all the BTO surveys, Badger surveys, volunteering opportunities were over before they had even started. And, as many of you will know, many of these surveys can only be done at certain times of the year meaning that it will be next year now before I can start with them. I appreciate that these may not seem like such a big deal in the grand scheme of things and there are certainly worse things happening to others. However, for me, at the age of 40, trying to start out in a brand new career, little to no savings and relying on the small amount of money I can make from photography sales and craft fairs , this has really knocked me for six.

However, like many of us, I have a choice. I can focus on what I've lost OR I can take the situation as it is and work with it. Therefore, I have taken this opportunity to get to know what is living in the garden - and I have been pleasantly surprised.

Trail cameras placed in the garden at night have shown that we have at least 3 visiting Hedgehogs, a Fox AND a Badger. Mammal traps have turned up Bank Voles, Wood Mice and even Rats! Our hedges are full of House Sparrows and the occasional Tree Sparrow even stops by. The feeders are visited daily by Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Coal, Blue and Great Tits. Wood Pigeons hoover up the spilled food along with the Jackdaws and the Carrion Crow with the broken wing is now a regular visitor. One morning I was ecstatic to see a Red Kite flying overhead and one evening I spent a wonderful half hour watching 5 Buzzards circling and calling over the village.

Our gardens can be real havens for wildlife - even if they are in the middle of a town or city - and this is a wonderful opportunity to find out what is there. BTO BirdTrack is a great resource for recording your sightings and several birds are nesting in the bushes around the garden and so I can still contribute in a small way to the BTO's Nest Recording Scheme. 

I'm now working on a way to photograph the fox and hedgehogs that visit. That in itself could be a very exciting project and one that I now have the time to spend working on and refining in order to get the best photos I can.

I'm also taking this opportunity to read and learn, having set myself the challenge of learning the scientific names for the birds in the garden. There are some amazing natural history books out there to both educate and inspire. I've particularly enjoyed 'The Last Wolf' and 'Badgers on the Highland Edge' by Jim Crumley and am currently reading 'The Hidden World of the Fox' by Adele Brand.

While it is easy to fall into a negative thought spiral during this time, the power of nature for our mental well-being cannot be overstated. Sitting in the garden listening to bird song, watching the birds feeding or building nests can all bring great joy to everyone. Take this time to reconnect with nature. Slow down. Stop. Listen. Rely on the power of nature in your gardens to lift you up.

Stay safe.

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