Lockdown wildlife love in

Its surely a time of contradiction, much of life has changed and the consequences are both dramatic and mundane at the same time.
Orange tip butterfly - Duncan Hutt

Female orange tip butterfly. Image by Duncan Hutt.

There may be many challenges that we face but for many of us, stuck at home more than we ever imagined, wildlife is providing an element of constancy that we lack elsewhere. If there is any upside to our lockdown it is that it has happened in spring - a time of so many positive happenings in the wild.

Those with a garden, even a quite small garden, are at a huge advantage over those who don’t. To be able to step outside into the morning mist, the sunny afternoon or the starry night is such a positive thing. With or without a garden, hopefully opening a window or door might reveal birdsong or perhaps the sound of a passing bumble bee.

The Northumberland countryside may be just outside the door for some but for others a small urban space may be all that’s readily available. Exercise, as permitted under lockdown rules, can give most of us the chance to get to somewhere with at least some greenery.

It may be a local park, the banks of the Tyne, or just a small grassy corner where the leaves are just unfurling on some street side trees. It may be much more wild and remote. But wherever it is hopefully there will be some wildlife; it might be a soaring buzzard or singing skylark, it might be a hovering hoverfly or a passing peacock butterfly. Wherever we find ourselves restricted to, it is on us to find interest in what is in front of us, big and bold or small and retiring.

Perhaps one of the best things about spring 2020 is that we can hear our wildlife.

More and more birdsong has been drowned out by passing cars or aeroplanes overhead. As for the bumblebee or hum of a beetle’s wings as it flies past these are almost always lost in the chatter of our normal noisy existence. Sound is so important in the natural world but humans seem to do all they can to drown it out; 2020 is a little different

It is so easy to dwell in the negatives of a time like this, to seek problems even where there are none. There are undoubtedly some downsides for wildlife in this lockdown period but there are also many positives; If you are a hedgehog it’s going to be a bit easier to cross that busy road. If you are a skylark perhaps your song will carry that bit further without competing with the nearby duel carriageway.

Perhaps too we will have time to stop and take time to appreciate the song thrush singing from a nearby tree or watch the white butterfly with bright orange wingtips as it flies purposefully past. We might take time to find out that that butterfly is an orange tip and that name may stick in your mind for future years. But even if its name remains an unknown to you, the appreciation may help spark that bit of interest in our natural world that wasn’t there before.

It is surely now a time to cherish what nature can bring to our lives when the call of consumerism is temporarily pushed to one side. Perhaps you remain disinterested but the chance of a lungful of fresh air after a day indoors, and cleaner air than normal at that, will at least help reinvigorate you and help see you through another day of seclusion.