Lockdown Nature Walks

We’ve been in lockdown in the UK for nearly a week.  I was glad when it was announced as it was the first decisive step our government has taken during the coronavirus crisis.  We’re  supposed to stay in our homes except for essential outings (work, food or medical) and one “exercise” walk each day.  Hopefully the lockdown will reduce the spread of the coronavirus by limiting social interaction but it does require people to follow the new rules.

It has been a beautiful week for weather,  mild and spring-like with bright sunshine and blue skies, the sort of weather where the air is filled with birdsong and you can almost hear the buds swelling.  When I have been out on my exercise walks, I have been taking photographs when I see something that catches my eye.  I thought I would post these here, partly for interest as spring arrives in the west country and partly to show how much wildlife there is about us.

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This Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) was nectaring on celandine on a grassy bank not far from our house. This individual is mostly paprika coloured with dark spots and paler edges and has recently come out of hibernation. With its scalloped wings and mottled brown underside it resembles a dead leaf providing camouflage during hibernation.

 

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The Leechwell Garden, the town centre community garden, is a short walk from our house. I found this plum tree in the Garden, covered in pure white flowers each with a mass of yellow-tipped stamens. The hoverfly is hopefully providing pollination.

 

On Wednesday, when I visited the Leechwell Garden, I was surprised to see many small bees flying close to the surface of a grassy bank bathed in warm sunshine. The picture shows one of the bees, a female yellow-legged mining bee (Andrena flavipes), and I think you can see why she gets her name. They dig holes in the underlying soil for their nests.

 

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Behind the Leechwell Garden is the Nursery Car Park, very quiet this week. Along one edge of the Nursery Car Park there is a grassy bank with many celandine and dandelion currently in flower. This small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae) was nectaring on celandine. The wings are mainly bright orange with black and yellow spots but along the back edges are patterns of small blue shields. When I was growing up I used to see clouds of these butterflies but that doesnt happen any longer.

 

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This Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) was feeding from a dandelion in the Nursery Car Park. Tree Bumblebees have the annoying habit of taking over nest boxes intended for small birds

 

The picture at the head of this post is of some Anemone blanda growing among leaf litter in the Leechwell Garden. These blue flowers are native to southeastern Europe but seem to do well here.

 

10 thoughts on “Lockdown Nature Walks”

  1. Lovely photographs. I am glad you are still able to take your walks and enjoy the spring. The control of the outbreak is a total numbers game that we must slow down so that the hospitals and medical staff are not overwhelmed. In France the early trials of chloroquinine a malaria drug and anti-viral are taking place with volunteers in Marseilles. There is hope that an anti-viral taken early in the infection could reduce serious symptoms. These tests will take time and the only way to reduce the infection rate is social isolation. Amelia

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    1. Thanks Amelia. I agree completely about the need slow the spread down. Here some people dont seem to be taking it seriously and I anticipate more stringent controls being brought in. It would have been desirable to do testing as the infection spread but somehow our leaders chose not to.

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  2. Hi Philip, It’s good to see you have discovered so much wildlife on your walks. it has been amazing weather this week after months of rain, and has helped peoples moods as they adapt to their new lifestyles. I just hope that people will appreciate nature more and that we need to change our lifestyles to reduce the impact of climate change. Sarah.x

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    1. Thanks Sarah, it has been a gift this week to have such pleasant weather when we are facing such a drastic convulsion in our lives.
      I agree completely with you about change, if we dont take this chance to change our attitude to the environmment then we are terminally stupid. Unfortunately I fear some of our leaders are!

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  3. Philip just want to thank you from Down Under… at this weird scarey time that we are all sharing.. for the beauty you post…Attaching an underwater photo I took yesterday in Melbourne, Australia… as autumn comes and while I can still escape for a solo dive. Seagrass with alga Colpomenia carching the light… Thank you again. Sandy Webb Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________

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