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Our own Spring Watch - Your photos of birds, blossoms and wild beauty in gardens and neighbourhoods

PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 April 2020 | UPDATED: 19:13 05 April 2020

Benson the dog enjoying a spring walk in Great Wenham Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

Benson the dog enjoying a spring walk in Great Wenham Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

Sophie Barnett

Spring has sprung, and the beauty of nature in our home areas is more important than ever this year during the restrictions of lockdown. Readers and staff have shared their photos and thoughts.

Rachel Couch, learning resource assistant at One Sixth Form College in Ipswich, took this photo during her daily walk with her partner.Picture: RACHEL COUCHRachel Couch, learning resource assistant at One Sixth Form College in Ipswich, took this photo during her daily walk with her partner.Picture: RACHEL COUCH

The arrival of spring is usually the signal to get out of your house and explore the countryside.

This year, it’s all so different, as, due to the coronavirus crisis, we are all being advised to stay at home as much as possible.

Elsie the dog with daffodils in Hoveton. Picture: CHEYANNE LOWTHERElsie the dog with daffodils in Hoveton. Picture: CHEYANNE LOWTHER

But, even so, we can all take inspiration from the BBC’s Springwatch. As the show says on its Facebook page: ”Nature is still open!”

The show, which has several times been based at locations in Norfolk and Suffolk, has always encouraged us all to discover nature on our own doorsteps. And spring 2020 is a time to do just that, more than ever.

One Sixth Form College student Amelia Throp took this picture as part of a photography challenge Picture: AMELIA THROPOne Sixth Form College student Amelia Throp took this picture as part of a photography challenge Picture: AMELIA THROP

Of course, all those with gardens are especially lucky, since they can become real havens of wildlife.

This year’s Big Garden Birdwatch, organised by the RSPB, emphasised the range of garden birds which may visit, including long-tailed tits, wrens, and coal tits, which have all ben helped the milder winter.

Flowers in the Rosary Cemetery at Thorpe Hamle. Picture: CAROLINE CLARKEFlowers in the Rosary Cemetery at Thorpe Hamle. Picture: CAROLINE CLARKE

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Sarah Thomas, from Sudbury, has recently spotted a couple of ducks in her garden, as well as a more unusual visitor. She said: “We had a couple of feathered friends pop by on Sunday! And on Saturday night we saw a hedgehog in the garden , something I’ve haven’t seen in over 10 years!”

Garden trees and flowers also bring endless pleasure, and watching blossom and daffodils appear has been a welcome distraction for many.

Suffolk Rural schools liaison officer Adele Wyse took this  photo on her daily walks. Picture: ADELE WYSESuffolk Rural schools liaison officer Adele Wyse took this photo on her daily walks. Picture: ADELE WYSE

Ann Harvey and her husband in Catfield are enjoying their garden flowers during the lockdown. She said: “Our garden is a life saver.”

And Sarah Barber in Ipswich enjoys admiring all blossom on the plum tree in her back garden, as well as watching her wildlife pond.

Ann Harvey spotted this butterfly in her garden in Catfield Picture: ANN HARVEYAnn Harvey spotted this butterfly in her garden in Catfield Picture: ANN HARVEY

Of course, we are still being encouraged to take daily exercise by going for walks, runs or cycle rides in our local areas, and many people have spotted a range of wildlife along the way.

In the Ipswich area, Philip Warren got a surprise when he noticed a male hooded merganser duck on the River Gipping near his home. He said: “The duck, native to South America, was spotted in Christchurch Park earlier this year, and we didn’t see him at the time, so it was nice to see him so close to home.”

Butterflies in Benhall near Saxmundham Picture: GEMMA JARVISButterflies in Benhall near Saxmundham Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Julie Bremner, from Norwich, said: “I don’t have a garden so I walked to a small woodland area near Anglian Water in Dereham Road and took some photos. I did take my rainbow umbrella, which brightened things up!”

Cheyanne Lowther enjoys taking her dog for a daily walk in the local area.

Philip Warren spotted a hooded merganser duck on the River Gipping in Ipswich Picture: Philip WarrenPhilip Warren spotted a hooded merganser duck on the River Gipping in Ipswich Picture: Philip Warren

She writes: “My dog is called Elsie and she’s a Pomachon (half a Pomeranian and Bichon Frise), she’s four years old and is such a character. She absolutely loves going for walks, especially to the beach. But also up some of the lovely lanes we have around Hoveton. She’s always sniffing the flowers.”

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Spring is also providing inspiration for learning at home.

A rainbow umbrella adding colour in a woodland area in Dereham Road, Norwich Picture: JULIE BREMNERA rainbow umbrella adding colour in a woodland area in Dereham Road, Norwich Picture: JULIE BREMNER

Media teacher at One Sixth Form College in Ipswich Alastair Bartlett said, “We’re doing a daily photography challenge to keep students engaged creatively, as well as academically.

“It’s really important to give students focus, not only for their learning, but also their wellbeing. We’ve had lots of great responses and are going to continue the challenge as a weekly project after Easter.”

A magnolia tree in Laura Cutter's Sudbury garden Picture: LAURA CUTTERA magnolia tree in Laura Cutter's Sudbury garden Picture: LAURA CUTTER

Our local wildlife trusts have also been encouraging everyone to enjoy wildlife close to home. Norfolk Wildlife Trust posted on Facebook: “Many of us are relying on our gardens for fresh air, wildlife and mental wellbeing at the moment. In addition, collectively our gardens can provide important places, homes and food sources for butterflies and moths.”

The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS have together set up a Wild About Gardens website with wildlife gardening ideas which are especially geared to helping butterflies, but also hedgehogs, birds and more.

Beautiful spring flowers at Haughley Park Picture: HAUGHLEY PARKBeautiful spring flowers at Haughley Park Picture: HAUGHLEY PARK

Billy Smith, a student at One Sixth Form College in Ipswich, took this picture for a photography challenge Picture: BILLY SMITHBilly Smith, a student at One Sixth Form College in Ipswich, took this picture for a photography challenge Picture: BILLY SMITH

Glorious spring flowers at Haughley Park Picture: HAUGHLEY PARKGlorious spring flowers at Haughley Park Picture: HAUGHLEY PARK

This snail visited Melissa Burton's patio in Sparham Picture: MELISSA BURTONThis snail visited Melissa Burton's patio in Sparham Picture: MELISSA BURTON

This spring photo at Thetford Arboretum was taken earlier this year, before lockdown Picture: MYRA SANDIFERThis spring photo at Thetford Arboretum was taken earlier this year, before lockdown Picture: MYRA SANDIFER

Colourful narcissi in Leiston Picture: NICKY CORBETTColourful narcissi in Leiston Picture: NICKY CORBETT

A plum tree in full bloom in Sarah Barber's back garden in Ipswich Picture: SARAH BARBERA plum tree in full bloom in Sarah Barber's back garden in Ipswich Picture: SARAH BARBER

Two ducks in Sarah Thomas's garden in Sudbury Picture: SARAH THOMASTwo ducks in Sarah Thomas's garden in Sudbury Picture: SARAH THOMAS


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