Elephants, crickets and goslings – nature in the central region
The last few months have been a tricky time for everyone, with many of us unable to get out and visit much loved woodlands, nature reserves, coastlines and greenspaces. By our very nature we are outdoorsy folk who seek out these places for volunteering activity, education, exercise, relaxation and more. The UK going into lockdown a few months ago meant that in some cases our links with our favourite places had been temporarily severed and we were restricted to taking walks closer to home. This was the hardest time for me, being away from loved ones and not able to visit woodland meant I had to come up with alternative wildlife adventures in my local area.
I didn’t have to go very far to see some amazing wildlife and one of the standout encounters was seeing an elephant hawk moth caterpillar trooping across our lawn. It seemed to be heading for the shed, perhaps to pupate, it certainly looked to be on a mission. Here is a photo I took, with the caterpillar trying to scare me off by puffing out its neck to make it look like it has a huge head and large eyes. We have a fuchsia planted in our garden which is a favourite for these moths to lay their eggs on, and honeysuckle, one of their ‘go-to’ nectar sources. I am looking forward to spotting the adults when they emerge next May-July.
For me, finding new places of calm on my doorstep provided the most rewarding experiences, including finding a countryside walk down to the river Welland, spotting crickets in the grasses by the side of the track and following the river to the next village along. I am so lucky to live close to Burghley House, where I could explore the ancient trees in its parkland and sit under my favourite Cedar of Lebanon, and pop over to Rutland Water and spot some Egyptian Geese with their goslings.
Thankfully as lockdown measures are slowly eased, more areas are now accessible. However, this time has allowed me to hit the pause button and find out what I have closer to home. I am grateful to have these places to visit close by.
Amanda Brookes: Volunteer Development Officer (Central region)
All images: Amanda Brookes