A ‘Lockdown’ Nature Walk

When we imagine that the grass is greener on the other side, we often find that the grass is actually greener on this side. Yesterday’s ‘one daily exercise’ was to walk around the lake where we live.

I love the little woodland we’ve got on site. It comprises of mainly willow but also has silver birch, alder, ash and a few other species. Though being a young woodland, there is a certain brazen personality about it.

Beautiful wild cherry blossoming in Spring

As we walk out of the young wood and onto the lake, we notice how Spring unveils itself with splashes of colour and unique botanical forms interrupting a previously monotonous winter grey. Flowers bring about pollinators and as we start focusing we notice the decibel levels increase: the fervent buzzing of queen bumblebees zooming around in circles looking for suitable nesting sites, not wanting to stop at all. Already we have seen lots of White-tailed, Buff-tailed and Red-tailed bumblebees, the matriarchs investigating their surroundings for dry, dark and relatively undisturbed cavities where they can nurture their eggs. With wildflowers like the Lesser Celandine sprouting up all around, it is too tempting for a bee not to stop for some early pollen and nectar, to replenish the energy spent searching around for a home.

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

The lake is such a special place, visited by kingfishers, herons, canadian geese and chiffchaffs, just to name a few. The landowner has made sure that his habitat management is as minimal but conducive to wildlife as possible, encouraging lots of wildflowers and water-loving tree species to grow, only carrying out woodland thinning sustainably and creating interesting brash habitat for small mammals to take shelter. As the water table here is quite high, the plant and tree species that thrive here are the ones resilient to potential flooding, and it is them we have thank for keeping the land from over-saturation during the rainy months.

The lake, a spot for contemplation and wonder

As we navigate around the lake, we spot a kestrel doing its rounds, sweeping past with its reddish brown back reflecting the afternoon sun as it hover-hunts for small prey like voles, woodmice and small birds, before settling confidently on a branch in the distance. Very often we would also get a barn owl gliding past the front of our home, barely 50-metres away as we step out to greet it in daylight!

In the current pandemic lockdown, we are extremely appreciative of Nature being right on our doorstep; the little luxuries of observing our (very) local wildlife less than a hundred metres away from our home. This is what really keeps us going, and I implore every person who has an opportunity to explore the ‘greener grass on their side’ to embrace all the little things and the natural world surrounding them. Nature will thrive – even in difficult times – and it’s up to us to take joy in her beauty.

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