Wildlife Spotting in Your Backyard

I found myself thinking recently how very little wildlife I seem to find around where I live these days. Back when we lived in Ottawa, I seem to remember always seeing red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, blue jays and cardinals – there was even a chipmunk living under my porch! And even when we first moved to England, I recall finding pheasants, kestrels, wagtails, frogs and toads, all sorts of finches and little blue tits. When I thought about it, I realised that the reason I used to see so much was because I had a backyard. I’ve lived in apartments for the last 4-5 years, so I don’t have that little window into my local wildlife anymore. So, I decided I would make my own backyard, and it was going to be big.

I took my camera with me to my university campus, which is a wonderful place in the summertime. It’s set in a few acres of English countryside, with a couple of lakes, wooded areas and meadow land. What I found the most amazing was that I already knew how much wildlife there was there, I just didn’t realise there was so much until I actually decided to document it. I then decided that everything along my walk home should also be included in my new backyard. I’m lucky enough that my route to and from work takes me through a little meadow, along an estuarine river (where the tide is always out when I’m making my way back, leaving exposed mudflats) and through a little wooded path. Again, I’ve always noticed the creatures, but was surprised at how much there was. Lastly, I remembered the pond behind my house, and the surrounding “mini forest”. I could see that there were geese and ducks, but once I took some time to sit and watch, I could appreciate just how diverse the wildlife population was.

Here are the photos I took. I only captured just some of the wildlife I saw, often I couldn’t nab a decent picture. Most of these were taken on the same day, and all of them just within a mile radius of where I live. (Oh, still no sign of the cygnets!)

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So, why not try documenting the wildlife where you live? If you take a picture of every critter you find visiting your garden, I think you’d be quite surprised at how much lives in the same neighbourhood as you. Become a backyard naturalist (…not a backyard naturist, I don’t think your neighbours would appreciate that)! I think ensuring people understand the diversity even in their own vicinity is imperative to the success of conservation projects the world over. You can better understand the impacts of a new build in your area, for example, if you know what lives there. So I really do hope that you are inspired to go out and document the small jungle out there in your backyard (whether or not you do actually live near a small jungle).

Photo ID’s: European rabbit (baby), blackbird (fledgeling), black-headed gull, Canada goose, European goldfinch, jackdaw, wood pigeon, tufted duck, Eastern grey squirrel, Northern lapwing, European magpie, common moorhen, common pied oystercatcher

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2 thoughts on “Wildlife Spotting in Your Backyard

  1. Great photos and a great topic!

    Now this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I have the impression that most people don’t notice the natural world all around them, even in cities where one wouldn’t think to look. But there is a surprising amount of plants, animals, birds amongst us. I think it does one good to be aware and appreciate such things that aren’t a part of the bustle of modern life.

    • I could not agree more! There is so much there, if you just look. And yes, many people don’t look, and I find they are surprised when I point out all the things that live around them. I’m so certain this is the key to successful conservation, just informing people of the diversity of life where they live, even in a city.

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