Getting close to nature in Cumbria – the Cicerone team find new sights and sounds

Wildlife and nature is noisy, busy and growing at a fast pace during these spring months, and in marked contrast to the slower, quieter pace of human life during the lockdown and pandemic. It has given us all time to look and listen with a new focus, and a very welcome relief from the worries and fears of coronavirus. Our gardens and country lanes and footpaths are teeming with life, even city streets are noisy with birdsong, and the air is clear. Enjoy and treasure this quiet time!

Comments and observations...

Caroline – Our garden shrub has been covered in bumble bees feeding on the blossom since the weather warmed up. There are at least 10 at a time and their buzzing makes a lovely background racket as I potter about weeding.

Clare – I know that things aren’t as they should be, but there is a certain beauty in the stillness of everything. The birds sound beautiful and it’s really nice to not have cars polluting everywhere. It seems that people who have never previously met are taking time to say hello from a safe distance realising we all have something in common. As much as I didn’t want any of this isolation, it has made us all sit back and realise that there are plenty of good things that we can be thankful for.

Andrea – An upside of this situation is I’m at home to see my garden waking up to Spring. It’s teeming with some very noisy birdlife: since the beginning of the lockdown we’ve had wrens, bullfinches, goldfinches, coal tits, long-tailed tits, a blackcap and a pair of peregrine falcons overhead.

Sian – Spring can never come soon enough for me – winter drags, and I’m always looking out for the first opportunity to get out in the garden. This year, I’m being spoilt. It’s sunny, I have to be at home, and I have all the time in the world to sit and watch the birds coming in and out of the garden. I’m fairly sure I live in disputed blackbird territory. They chase each other backwards and forwards, so angry that they don’t notice me at all, squaring up to each other along the top of the fence.

There’s a male wren building two or three nests in various parts of the garden, trying to persuade a mate to come and live in one of them, sneaking in and out of the hedge hunting for bits of twig and moss.

Unfortunately the pigeons also seem to like my garden, more specifically my sweet pea seedlings. Perhaps being in the garden more often will mean a few more plants make it through un-eaten this year, but I’m not holding out much hope!

Natalie – The weather has been glorious and it's lovely to see all the signs of spring: butterflies, bumble bees, cute lambs and woodland carpets of anemones, celandines and bluebells. I vary my routes and occasionally, as a special treat, I take the lane past one of the local farms to admire their cuddly alpacas.

Lesley – Speaking of alpacas, we too have a few local cuddly residents, photographed on a bike ride just a couple of kilometres from home. In the garden we too have all the wonderful birdlife activity, including a couple of blackbirds who make a regular trip to pick out moss from the front lawn first thing each morning – there's plenty for them to go at! Elsewhere in the garden shrubs are in flower, there is blossom on the apple trees, and the veg patch is ready.

Hannah – Betsy is loving lockdown. Our daily exercise has been in our local area but luckily we live near many parks and a canal and river. She's done lots of swimming and running and playing and then has the delight of cuddles with both her mummies when she gets home. One very happy pooch!

About rabbits...

We have two VERY large rabbits busy looking for a suitable home in which to bring up their imminent large family. Various sites have been partially excavated, and filled in by me, and excavated again, and again. We now have a fence around the veg patch, but the rest of the garden is in peril!

Andrea meanwhile has a much less aggressive rabbit in her garden – she smugly says 'I can vouch for my rabbit - he definitely does no digging!'

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