‘An orchestra of animals waking us up from winter’: readers’ photos of their local wildlife


Living with the coronavirus pandemic has meant many can’t travel far, with one benefit being more time to take notice of the natural world closer to home. From seals to bees, UK and European readers have been sharing pictures and stories of their local animals, flora and fauna.

“It was a beautiful spring day”

The photo of a nuthatch above was taken on 8 March in the New Forest, near my home. It’s such a quiet and peaceful woodland area, where I often like to watch and listen to the calming sound of the woodland birds. Lockdown has given me a greater appreciation of the area, and increased my enjoyment of photographing wildlife. When I took this picture, it was a beautiful spring day: the weather was cold, but bright and sunny. Among the woodland birds were great spotted woodpeckers, robins, marsh tits, chaffinches, robins, jackdaws, blue tits and great tits. I think nuthatches have loads of character. Ann Aveyard, wedding photographer, New Forest

“Squirrels are a particular favourite”

A red squirrel in Warsaw, Poland, on 1 March.

This picture of a red squirrel above was taken on 1 March in my garden. Thanks to lockdown I’ve spent more time here than ever before. I live in Warsaw, which is a city of roughly two million people and having spent a year here without travelling made me appreciate the “everyday” wildlife that went unnoticed before. Squirrels are a particular favourite; as a child I wanted one as a pet and was distraught when I found out people don’t keep them as pets. Marta Jurczak, 25, NGO project coordinator, Warsaw, Poland

“An orchestra of animals waking us up from winter”

A bee sitting on an apricot blossom on 3 March.

This photo of a violet carpenter bee on some apricot blossom was taken on 3 March, in Castel Ritaldi, in the Umbria region of Italy. I used to live in Rome as I was attending lessons at the university, but it didn’t make much sense to pay rent while locked down at home. My partner and I moved to his parents’ house. Cherry trees bloomed nearby and pollinators soon arrived. From one day to the next, the four trees just outside my window were crowned with bees, butterflies, wasps and bumblebees. More birds have arrived at the garden, too. It’s an orchestra of animals waking us up from winter. Valeria Mendez, 27, conservation biology student, Umbria, Italy

“I’ve seen hundreds of species without leaving home”

An early thorn moth in a Weymouth garden on 1 March.

This photo of an early thorn moth was taken on 1 March in my garden, where I’ve been running moth traps for 25 years and have recorded at least 800 species. All moths are released unharmed. The traps have been wonderful throughout the pandemic; I’ve seen hundreds of species without leaving home. So far this year, I’ve recorded 21 but it is early in the year yet for moths. Checking the traps and photographing them has been a lovely distraction. I was delighted to see the early thorn, which is one of the first species to appear in the spring. I’ve also used this time in the garden to broaden my insect knowledge and have logged lots of interesting shield bug species, including one that was only about the 10th ever recorded in the UK. Paul Harris, 60, retired biomedical scientist, Weymouth

“We haven’t seen a redwing here before”

A redwing in St Albans on 6 March.

This photo of a redwing was taken on 6 March in my back garden in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. We’ve never one here before. Since opportunities for wildlife photography been limited during Covid, I’ve become more interested in the nature close to home. I was particularly excited about this sighting; at first we could only see the bird from behind and assumed it was a robin, but as it turned around we could see it had beautiful white speckled markings on its front and a black stripe across its face. The redwing stayed on our tree long enough for me to grab my camera and sneak outside to capture a few photos, before it flew away. Megan Donnett, 23, St Albans

“A group of 30 seals”

Seals at Whitley Bay on 7 March.

Lockdown has afforded me the chance to rediscover the amazing wildlife of the North East coast. It’s not uncommon to see seals basking on the rocks watched over by St Mary’s lighthouse in Whitley Bay. But on this day there was a particularly large group. The picture was taken on a mild Sunday afternoon on 7 March while strolling along the promenade with my partner. We walked past a busier part of the beach to the rocky outcrop. There, basking in the mid-afternoon sun, was a group of perhaps 30 seals. I clicked away with my new camera, inspired to try my hand at wildlife photography. They snoozed and stretched occasionally, huffing and puffing. Then, as if called by an inaudible siren, they became restless, they made their way to the water and swam gracefully away. Hannah McDonald, 42, osteopath, North Tyneside

“The first bees of the season”

A honey bee sits on a hellebore flower on 8 March.

This is one of the first bees of the season and was lethargic enough for me to photograph it on my phone on 8 March as it sat on a hellebore flower. Due to an injury, I am unable to do my daily run in the countryside, or even walk far. But I do have plenty of time to shuffle around the garden in pursuit of insects. I consider myself very lucky to have a garden. I sent a photo to one of my friends in Perth, Scotland, who doesn’t have one, and he asked me to keep them coming. I now bombard him daily, as a bit of a challenge. I see the return of the bees as a sign of better and sunnier days ahead. Sam James, 53, retired civil servant, Pontypool

“The wildlife seems a little more tolerant of us”

A curlew at RSPB Medmerry, West Sussex, on 5 March.

I saw this curlew in the tidal marshes on 5 March at RSPB Medmerry Nature Reserve in West Sussex. I was aware of the locations before lockdown, but with no travel possible I have been visiting them much more often. Generally I have noticed that the wildlife seems a little more tolerant of us, despite more folk enjoying walks in the countryside over the last few months. I don’t think there is more wildlife about overall, but with quieter roads and no aviation noise you become more aware of what’s out there. Bob Brewer, 73, retired engineer, Chichester

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


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