Nature in my garden during lockdown

The Corona virus lock-down has caused unprecedented change to our normal lives and left many many plans in ruin. We live in an amazing country and the vast majority of people have been supporting the restrictions that have been put in place on our daily lives to reduce the spread of this highly contagious horrible virus and support our national treasure the NHS. I am thankful we live in the country that has a National Health Service and I do hope that this focuses the mind of all future political decisions on what is important and should be invested in most. A big thanks from me to all the NHS and other key-workers for keeping the country going and doing their upmost to save lives.

Talking of plans a lot of mine my birding plans have been impacted this year significantly. On the scale of things they are inconsequential but their demise has changed my outlook on things and I think I probably speak for most birders and wildlife lovers who enjoy their freedom to travel to visit nature reserves,we are all going to appreciate things a great deal more when this crisis is over.

I had plans to do my first volunteer breeding bird survey for the British Trust for Ornithology locally in Pontypool after undertaking a training course . I managed to do a reconnaissance trip just before the lock down to plan my transects but BTO has taken the sensible decision to cancel all these surveys until things get much better. I can't help but feel disappointing but its for the best.

I've not been to Goldcliff Lagoons since the twenty second of March. Not a day goes by without me day dreaming about what I am missing. I hope "Flossy" the Glossy Ibis is doing ok. Perhaps when I eventually return to the reserve Flossy may have been joined by a mate. Now that would be a fabulous thing to return to see.

This weekend I had planned to do a guided walk on behalf of Gwent Ornithological Society around Goldcliff. The weather would have been amazing and I imagine their would have been lots of breeding birds to observe. Oh well there will be plenty more times at the reserve to look forward to in the future and we will think back on this crisis and savour every moment from now on.

With these plans in disarray and the lock down my bird watching has been limited to my garden and my local patch in Pontypool. I am fortunate that whilst I have only got a little urban garden I live next to a fantastic piece of ancient woodland called Coed-Y-Canndo so I get quite a variety of birds in my garden throughout the year. I have a small garden feeding station to attract my feathered friends in and the odd Squirrel. 

The garden is like a godsend and keeps me sane when I cant get out. It offers me an opportunity for some mindfulness when things get stressed.

So since the twenty fifth of March 2020 I have had a steady number of regular visitors to my garden that include Goldfinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-Tailed Tits, Coal Tits, House Sparrows, Siskins, Bull Finches, Robins, Dunnocks, Woodpigeons, Magpies and Starlings. I get regular flyovers of Carrion Crows, Buzzards, Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Herring Gulls and Jackdaws.

My highlight in the garden has been a pair of Bullfinches that turn up and a pair of Woodpigeons that are nesting in my neighbours leylandi hedge.

Male BullFinch

Long Tailed Tit

Blue Tit



The birds have got so used to me sat in the garden I can often take photographs from my deck chair.

Since last year I have been getting a pair of Grey Squirrels raiding my garden feeders. Whilst some people hate them I cant help but marvel at how they are one of natures blatant opportunists.

Grey Squirrel

There is another mammal that visits regularly and that's "Pip" - the gardens equivalent of a Black Panther, my neighbours cat. We have a kind of love hate relationship. She's a beautiful cat and exquisitely designed to hunt birds and is good at it I can tell you. I could not help but take some photos of her when she sat watching me in the garden with those gemstone jade eyes. I am sure she was giving me the cat version of the middle finger with one of her claws.

Pip the cat

Well that's it from me for now. I hope you enjoy the read , the pictures and readers I hope you are staying safe and staying local when birding.


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