Wow, what a year so far... I don't think there's a soul on earth who could have predicted quite how 2020 would have played out, but there's been plenty of positives when it comes to nature, more aptly in the way that you have been celebrating it! We've put together some of our favourite reader photos from the last few months as a way of sharing a little happiness and unity in these otherwise uncertain times. Hope you enjoy...

Reader photos

 ← David Simms - 'During lockdown I have been getting to know the local Dartford warblers on Chatley Heath, Surrey.'

Amy Whitewick - 'I waited patiently for two evenings in my garden to capture this image of a swift flying past the moon. We are very lucky in our village to have a colony of swifts nesting in the church, and their summer antics are delightful to watch.'  →

 ← Rosie Dod - 'I hope you like my shot of damselflies taken earlier this month on Ramsdown Hill near Christchurch in Dorset. Seeing the lovely shots in your current magazine encouraged me to share this photo.'

 Emma Braden - 'This photo was taken at RSPB Lakenheath. The stoats tumbled out of the reeds, played in front of me for a couple of minutes before the mother noticed I was there and took her kits back into the reeds again. Brilliant experience!'  

 ← Mark Winston - 'With lockdown we have had a remarkable number of house sparrows in our urban garden this year. We eventually realised that they were plundering our hanging basket to get beautifully soft material for their nests. Next year we plan to hang a dummy insert in our apple tree to try and distract them.'

 Val & Phil Memory - 'My wife and I were eating breakfast in our conservatory in May and enjoying watching the garden birds when we suddenly noticed 'something different' at the top a birch tree, it was a 'Bee-eater!'. It stayed long enough for me a get a couple of photos. Another sign of climate change, I wonder if this is the first seen in North Kent?' →

← Bryan Crunden - 'I attach a photo of a fox I came face-to-face with in Cymberline Meadows in Colchester.'

 Jan Brown - 'I took this photo of a starling feeding in my garden, the markings are just so beautiful, I haven’t noticed before quite how stunning these birds really are!'  →

 ← Bonnie Klllingback - 'Here's a photo I took in our garden of a baby starling plaguing its parent for MORE FOOD!  The parent looks like it would rather be somewhere else...'

↑ Peter Cattell - 'I am an amateur wildlife photographer, I have sent these photos to show that if you are lucky enough to have a garden during lockdown, it's a great place to see wildlife, even in a town (we live in East London). We actively encourage wildlife from bugs to birds and mammals, all are welcome.'

 Ray Heathfield - 'I recently saw this moth at RSPB Lakenheath during a birdwatching trip. If I had not been told it was a moth, I really would have thought it was a hornet.' →

← Jen Davison - 'I have been really lucky to have blue tits nesting in my garden. I was sure I would miss them fledge but they haven’t gone far away. On a windy wet day in June I grabbed my camera.' 


Craig Blockley - 'Fox cubs in our school grounds during lockdown!'  →

 ← Tom Walker - 'I thought you might like to have this photograph - a slightly 'crazy' image of a yarrow plume moth (Gillmeria pallidactyla). I have taken a special interest in photographing insects during my Covid-19 walks, and this was one of the more unusual sights I have seen.' 

Reader letter

And finally, when words can paint a pretty good picture on their own, we look to our reader letters. We've chosen a wonderful email from Joe Carroll, aged 11 sent in via his mum Heidi. We think this letter captures the essence of long days in lockdown with only nature as our muse, and we thank you Joe for sharing it with us. 

"Dear RSPB,

Every night at 10:07 I get woken up as the woodcock flies over. I have set up a hammock in the garden, and I fall asleep to the sound of birds. I am eleven years old, and I live in Scotland. In lockdown, I have loved watching birds using the pond - they take a drink and a bath before flying up to the birch tree and drying themselves off. The blackcap is a regular visitor. 

We have a red squirrel who runs along the fence and into the beech tree before jumping onto the spruce. When she does this, bits of the bark from the spruce fall onto my hammock, sounding like rain. I like to think this is her way of saying hello. She has a drink from the pond each morning while we eat breakfast. One day, we watched her with her kitten dangling precariously from her mouth as she jumped from tree to tree.  

A buzzard pair nests behind our house and when they fly over, all the rooks start calling.  

Ten years ago, when we moved here, my mum started working on the garden. It's not very big. She used the RSPB leaflets we'd picked up from Insh Marshes, about how to make your garden good for wildlife. We dug a pond, and planted trees and a hedge, and many plants to attract bees and butterflies. We have a hedgehog who eats our snails, a family of voles behind the bug house, and a pond which was teeming with tadpoles. I want to say thank you to the RSPB for helping us make a garden which is such a haven for wildlife, and which has got me through lockdown."

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  • What a pleasure to read Joe's letter. I wish more youngsters would have an interest in wildlife. It's wonderful just to sit and watch and listen - and if you are prepared, to take lovely photos as well. I hope you continue to enjoy all that is happening in your garden, Joe, for a very long time.