With many of us confined to our homes, much has been made of wildlife ‘returning’ to urban areas – mountain goats roaming the streets of Llandudno for example – but what of the British countryside they usually call home? Approached by The Telegraph for his thoughts, Mike Swan, our trusty head of education, gave this thoughts, stating:
"I think with lockdown and with people not being able to drive off and park somewhere and then go all over the place, the countryside is actually quieter than it normally would be at this time of year. One of the great bonuses of that is the ground nesting birds will be able to get on with it without any disturbances.”
Hopefully the lack of canine (and human) disturbance will be a good news story for skylarks, curlews, grey partridges, and corn buntings. This is not, as some make out, some kind of rewilding utopia, but actually a chance for those who know the countryside best and are continuing to work safely and within restrictions, such as farmers and gamekeepers, to maximise their contribution to conservation. Only time will tell what these unusual circumstances mean for the countryside and its wildlife, but our years of monitoring data such as the Partridge Count Scheme will show where changes happen and how significant they might be.
Head of Education, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust