In these unprecedented and difficult times, many of us have found solace in the natural world and a renewed interested in, and appreciation of, nature. We recently asked people to share with us some of their memorable stories and images of nature during the lockdown. For World Environment Day our Biodiversity Adviser Iain Macdonald has picked some of his favourite submissions to brighten your day. A big thank you to all who took the time to participate!
During the lockdown, there has been a real feeling that, for some of us at least, animals and birds have been testing the social distancing rules and approaching that little bit closer. Some also appear to be out and about that little bit earlier in the day. All this allows for some great memories and images.
Photographer Karen Miller shared with us some lovely blogs about life under lockdown in the Scottish Highlands with all of her fantastic images taken within 10 minutes of her back door. We loved her tales of getting to know her furry (and feathery) neighbours that little bit better including her local squirrel family – watch this great video footage as they grapple with a new squirrel feeder!
Brian Sloan, from near Buchlyvie in Central Scotland, managed to gain the trust of something really special and shy – a family of brown hares. Brian’s new friends are definitely stretching those social distancing rules, and the result is some amazing images. He said: “Over the last few weeks I have been building up a lot of trust with our resident hares. One in particular with a torn ear is now completely happy in my presence but I’m still shooting with a 400mm lens to give him/her plenty space. The hare has now bringing leverets closer as well, as if I have to look after them for the day.”
On the subject of shy have you noticed how many roe deer are about? Alexander Scott, a freelance photographer from Lennoxtown north of Glasgow, captured these great pictures of roe deer in fields and woodland around his local area.
Further north Nick McCaffrey, of Aith in Shetland, has even filmed his wildlife lockdown blog. Nick flies drones for a living so it is perhaps not surprising that his aerial footage is amazing. It is well worth watching and listening to Nick’s videos for some inspiration set in a wonderful landscape. We completely agree with his view that “getting out and enjoying the sights and sounds” is what it’s really all about. Scotland’s natural health service is right on the doorstep!
Of course it’s not only animals that people have been noticing during lockdown. Dr Val Bissland from Bearsden found an amazing display of bluebells on the Mains Estate, East Dunbartonshire. Val said: “I have lived within walking distance for 32 years and probably would not have discovered this beautiful hidden gem without the lockdown.”
Finally we were moved by Jacqueline Bain’s very personal story of how the unusual arrival of geese in her local park has brought a new lease of life to the local community, and to her personally, following an operation that restricted her mobility.
Jacqueline said: “I still sit in the garden, reflecting on how the geese have changed things. They’ve caused quite a stir and not a day goes by but I’m involved in a group chat; people, having to distance from each other, but brought closer, all fascinated by the geese. I now talk regularly to neighbours I’d never spoken to before. People of all ages join together in the blessings that nature has bestowed on us during an extremely difficult time. I’ve benefited in so many ways. I can geese-watch any time I like but I’ve also come out of isolation, and am part of my local community in a way I’ve never been before.”
A wonderful reflection on the true power of connecting with nature!