April was an April like no other ever experienced before, for everyone around most of the world - a month in the heart of Lockdown, due to Covid19.
It was a month staying at home as much as possible, and only going out for essentials and exercise. This was not easy for many, but I was lucky and was able to go out for a local walk most early mornings, and get a change of scenery. For myself (and many), it meant keeping mental health well-balanced, getting out and enjoying some nature and wildlife. But sadly, meant not seeing my regular Hares for a while. One bonus, was that at least April brought us bright and cheery weather - so could get out into the garden and feel that warm sunshine on our skin, or at least be able to open windows and let the fresh air indoors, if people had no access to gardens. It was also lucky timing, in that it was a month during Springtime, which meant many of us were able to spend time watching what wildlife our gardens had to offer - from seeing the first of the Butterflies, having rustling Hedgehogs in the evenings, and watching birds doing their courting and prepare nests, then later get a glimpse of their fledglings. I spent many hours watching a pair of Robins in my back garden - doing their courtship dance and feeding one another. It was then a joy to hear the babies after they had hatched, and then an absolute delight to spot the first fledglings appear ...with their fluffy, tufty heads. Such characters.
I walked to a local Bluebell wood regularly, and it became a little, heavenly sanctuary to escape to, and switch off from the crazy world. What was lovely, was being out on a walk and hearing the first Cuckoo mid-month, and then a week later, a pair calling. Really marks the start of Summer, as well as that distinct sound of Swifts screeching - which I anticipated from mid April onwards, and by the end of the month, I was so glad that they had arrived. One afternoon, there must have been around 30 circling above the house. It is sad that as a whole, Swifts have declined quite considerably in numbers. So to help encourage them, last year I had two Swift nesting boxes put up (places for them to nest these days are somewhat limited, due to new housing replacing old buildings and barns etc, and new-build housing does not offer many suitable places to nest). But so far, a family of chirpy Sparrows have happily taken over the boxes - which is meant to be good, as can then attract the Swifts to the location, and can use them later on, after the Sparrows have fledged ...but I have yet to see any evidence of baby Sparrows, so think mine have cheekily moved in permanently! At the end of the day, if it helps any wildlife out, it makes me happy.
I was chuffed to get asked by Hampshire living Magazine, to be featured in an article for their April edition ...was just a shame was through lockdown, and when most of the outlets where it usually gets distributed to, were closed down. I will put a link to the online version on the 'News & Publication' page, so can view it.
Here is one of my fave pics from the month - dad stands leaning over, with hands tucked in pockets, saying "come on my lil one, swallow the grub down, then you can have a worm for pudding" :)