Living with the coronavirus pandemic has meant many people are having to stay closer to home, but one benefit is having more time to take notice of the natural world around us. From frogs in Cardiff to lichen in Brighton, UK readers have been sharing pictures and stories of their local flora and fauna.
‘I was awestruck with its beauty’
I am a keen wildlife photographer and have been exploring my local area around Yateley, Sandhurst and Blackwater during lockdown. I came across Swan Lake park and was amazed by the wildlife around the lake. When I took the above photo, on 13 February, it was the first time I had seen a Greylag goose and I was awestruck with its beauty. I saw it start flapping its wings and took some shots. It looked happy – as if it was dancing. Being able to discover wildlife near me has provided me with the mental relaxation needed during lockdown. Devan Sharma, 42, sales manager, Blackwater, Hampshire
‘We’ve had more frogs than ever’
I took this photo of a frog in our garden pond in Fairwater, Cardiff on 22 February. This year we seem to have had more frogs than ever. Seeing wildlife always gives me a lift and we are lucky to live on the edge of the city with easy access to walks from the house. Chris Harrington, 61, retired, Cardiff, Wales
‘Britain has a great variety of bryophytes and lichens’
During the recent autumn and winter lockdown I’ve very much enjoyed discovering local fungi, mosses and liverworts. Their huge diversity of colour, form and variety are fascinating and provide an insight into the incredible complexity of the natural world. I took the photo of maritime sunburst lichen (xanthoria parietina) on 19 February in Waterhall, Brighton.
Whenever I discover or become aware of something new to me in the natural world it’s always a great thrill, regardless of whether it is common or rare. Hitherto, I have not paid much attention to mosses, lichens and liverworts but, as a consequence of lockdown, I’m now discovering that moist Britain has a great variety of bryophytes and lichens. I also realise that if I take a closer look there is a whole new delightful world of discovery to explore on my doorstep. Keith Wilson, 67, retired biologist, Brighton, East Sussex
‘The squirrel ran up and down a tree about five times’
The photo above was taken on the 15 February in Stanley park, Liverpool. Throughout lockdown I have taken my camera with me on my daily walk and can definitely say that photography has played a huge role in keeping me active and emotionally well.
Despite living in Liverpool all my life, and passing Stanley park hundreds of times on the way to Anfield [Liverpool FC’s home ground], this was my first actual visit to the park itself. The squirrel ran up and down a tree about five times, each time taking a mouthful of grass with it – I presume to build its drey. I love the photo because it was the first real sign for me that spring was on its way, and that no matter how long and dark our winter has been, there are some things that are a constant and the animal world carries on regardless.
I actually got quite emotional because it reminded me that, hopefully, the end of restrictions and the chance for people to return to normality is on its way. Gillian Donagh, 61, social worker, Brighton-le-Sands, Merseyside
‘This creature was lurking amongst the plant pots on the patio’
While checking out the garden one evening on 20 February, my partner came across this creature lurking amongst the plant pots on the patio. She called me out with my camera to take a look. It looked like a newt presumably looking for a new home – a pond maybe. Being cold it was quite slow moving and not so difficult to photograph. I am not certain of the exact species but I think it is a smooth newt (lissotriton vulgaris). It was certainly very interesting and pleasing to see as I have not seen one in the garden before. Nick Thomas, 67, retired teacher, Milverton, Somerset
‘There are very few fences and little private land’
The New Forest national park is a wonderful place to walk and explore as there are very few fences and little private land. I took the photo of a pony on 27 February. Land within the New Forest national park is run and maintained by the verderers court. The verderers employ agisters to look after the New Forest and the commoners’ animals. New Forest commoners have the right to keep their animals on the land, and cows, donkeys and (of course) ponies roam free. Chris Owen-Hughes, 28, civil engineer, Southampton, Hampshire
‘There have been some early surprises’
The recent sunshine has brought out quite a few basking ladybirds and I’ve seen several solitary bees. There are also lots of flowers, with some early surprises such as fumitory and common vetch. I took the photo of a starry patch of greater stitchwort on 28 February on Salters Lane, Colyford. Fran Sinclair, East Devon
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.