Western Morning News

Spotting creatures great and small

Readers have been enjoying a variety of wildlife sightings during the lockdown, reports Charlie Elder


THE good weather keeps coming, and with it a host of fascinatin­g wildlife sightings sent in by readers.

Since the coronaviru­s lockdown the Western Morning News has been celebratin­g the flora and fauna spotted by people in their gardens, from their back windows or on permitted daily exercise walks.

From grass snakes and green woodpecker­s to swallows and skylarks, readers have been sharing their sightings, describing how nature is providing both entertainm­ent and comfort during these challengin­g times when we are largely confined to home.

Fine spring weather is making nature watching even more appealing, and the arrival of migrant birds for the breeding season has added variety, with new possibilit­ies to spot day by day.

Lisa MacLeod and her partner Arthur have enjoyed a real mix of wildlife in and around home in Mevagissey, Cornwall – including a fabulous sighting of a stoat, which she managed to photograph (above).

“I had just walked up a hill and stopped to look out over a gate onto a steep meadow, and thought in the distance I saw a squirrel hopping, skipping and jumping as they do up the meadow towards me,” said Lisa.

“So I got my camera out to have a closer look, only to find, wowee, it wasn’t a squirrel, it was a stoat – so I snapped away as it jumped up and down, running up the hill towards me, and eventually disappeare­d into the hedgerow. What a total magic moment!”

She also spotted a curious deer, orange tip butterfly and a seal close to the harbour that dived and brought up a fish.

Elizabeth Gabriel, who was lucky enough to hear an early cuckoo near where she lives at the southern tip of

Dartmoor, reported on this page last week, summed it up when she emailed to say: “Watching wildlife is so liberating during this difficult time and reminds us that life and the seasons go on in spite of the human race.”

Indeed the spring season brought the delight of swallow sightings for many readers, and fairly soon later arrivals, such as swifts, should be visible flying overhead.

Ian Fisher was pleased to spot a glorious early purple orchid in bloom on the Devon Tarka trail between Yarde and Dunsbeare halt, and also stumbled across the remains of a decent sized carp that looked to have been caught and eaten by an otter at Meeth nature reserve.

Meanwhile, Peter Grindon has been enjoying monitoring hedgehogs in his North Somerset garden and in the grounds of a nearby centre, using a trail camera given to him as a Christmas present which is being put to good use.

He has been leaving out special hedgehog food, until the slug population picks up, and managed to get a picture of a hedgehog happily feeding away (above).

“I have also been lucky enough to capture snippets of film of squirrels, foxes and badgers,” he added.

A combinatio­n of sunny days, the peace and quiet of empty roads and skies, and the vibrancy of spring has proven of great enjoyment to many, helping to strengthen bonds with nature and forge new connection­s. And one of the most rewarding things about wildlife watching is there is always something worth seeing.

Sharing in something positive during this testing time is a valuable experience of wide interest, so do keep sending in your nature sightings, by emailing charles.elder@ reachplc.com.

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 ??  ?? > A feeding hedgehog by Peter Grindon, orange tip by Lisa MacLeod and early purple orchid by Ian Fisher
> A feeding hedgehog by Peter Grindon, orange tip by Lisa MacLeod and early purple orchid by Ian Fisher
 ??  ?? > A stoat running through the grass, photograph­ed by Lisa MacLeod
> A stoat running through the grass, photograph­ed by Lisa MacLeod

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