Wildlife Over Lockdown
2020 has been a year unlike any other. Months of lockdown has caused many of us to reconnect with nature. In this film, we will explore the wild world from a new perspective. How has nature thrived in our absence, and what new wildlife behavior have we seen? Across the changing seasons, we explore wildlife over lockdown.
Spring, in a Surrey woodland, and the first thing we noticed as lockdown sets in, we can hear the birds. Undisturbed by road traffic and the clamor of voices their chorus is louder than ever. Black caps, and chiff chaffs, both calling to attract mates and in the undergrowth, a wren, wait for wait, his voice is 10 times louder than a Cockerel
and for the first time we can hear him clearly.
These woods are now alive with birds song, but in spring it is nest building that is vitally important and high up in the canopy, one species is taking advantage of the peace and quiet, green woodpeckers, busy excavating and renovating their nest. But they are not alone up here.
Great spotted woodpeckers are also looking for nests and there are new arrivals from a far away land, rose-ringed parakeets. It is rare to see so many species on a single tree, but with society ground to a halt, animals are showcasing new behaviours. But all of this activity attracts unwanted attention.
A little owl, one of the Woodlands fiercest predators. These secretive birds are normally seldom seen, but the quiet woods have made them bold. It is a privilege to see so many predators this openly and perhaps a reduction in woodland management has drawn them into the open. These red foxes are normally skittish and shy, but now they need not fear watchful eyes. They can hunt in daylight, but it is during night time in woods free of light and noise pollution that the wild world comes alive.
Night vision cameras offer a unique glimpse into this world. Roe deer stags are sharpening their antlers to impress the resident females. And underground, shy faces appear. Badgers emerge from their winter sleep into a strange quieter world. Across the country in the Forest of Dean, some view wild boar as a threat to dogs and walkers. Now they have the whole forest to themselves.
Every aspect of human society has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the natural world, it may be Britain's rivers that have seen the greatest changes and a host of rare animals are revealing themselves. Dippers use their strong toes and short, powerful wings to search for insect larvae underwater. They are the world's only aquatic songbird, but their size means they must stick to the shallows. Cormorants don't have this trouble. They can find plenty of food in deeper water. Although sometimes it can be quite a mouthfull!
In the peaceful rivers of South Wales, even the most elusive residents can appear, otters. These highly social animals are rarely ever seen in normal times. And we can now even see beavers. 2020 has been a landmark year for these industrious engineers with several reintroduction underway and these beavers in Devon have just received legal protection.
Spring is giving way to summer and the pandemic shows little sign of slowing, but the wild world is full of new life. Now seen like never before roe deer can graze in the open without risk of car collisions or bikes. And four boar piglets and fox cubs born in the spring can roam unmolested by dogs or walkers.
Even otter cubs are spotted playing in daylight. The badges are busy too. As the adults collect bedding, the cubs are free to play.
Summer is fading to autumn and soon the cycle of life will begin again, and it's heralded by the call of the red deer. The runt is approaching. It's still practice for young fallow deer, but it's no game for a huge red stag. He must aggressively see off any rivals. There are plenty of contenders lurking nearby.
As the seasons change. We must take this moment to reconsider our bond with nature amidst all the uncertainty. To see new animal behavior as never before is a poignant reminder of the impact we must normally have on wildlife.
As winter begins and vaccines begin to be rolled out, We must all share the responsibility of living alongside nature.