As the entire nation looks to their gardens or outside space for inspiration during lockdown, the Nature's Home inbox has become a cornucopia for garden wildlife sightings, nature tales and reports - it's wonderful to see so many of you finding solace and excitement in the comfort of your own homes, sending us photos and stories of wildlife you didn't even know was there until now! This week's blog features a series of photos from Nature's Home reader, Alan Potter and his mission to snap that 'perfect pic!'... 

Alan says: 'My aim was to take a photograph of a great spotted woodpecker in flight upon leaving a tree. On seeing the opportunity, I set up my camera to take continuous, high-speed, focused images, and then kept my finger on the shutter hoping to catch the moment of take off and departure. My attempts at capturing such images are mostly failures - a usual result is the tree and no bird, or (even more frustratingly!) an image with only part of the bird still visible.' - How many of us can relate to this right now? 

 Alan continues: 'However, on this occasion, a totally unexpected surprise (which due to the speed with which it happened, I had completely missed whilst looking through the viewfinder) - not only had I captured my target in flight, but also our local sparrowhawk swooping towards the nearby bird feeders too.' - A double whammy! Alan's very own 'backyard safari' is already delivering the goods...

... let's hear more from Alan: 'Further examination of the images revealed that despite the fact the sparrowhawk had just popped over an adjacent hedge at a very fast speed - the woodpecker had seen it coming! The woodpecker decided flying off was not an option and moved around the trunk of the tree to try and avoid being observed. It worked! After the sparrowhawk passed, the woodpecker made a swift exit in the opposite direction.'

Utterly fabulous! I'm sure a great many of us would feel equally as chuffed with these shots, there's sure to be a vast array of nature spectacles taking place in your gardens at any one time - all we need to do is take the time to watch and wait, camera at the ready! Finally, let's see the sequence in order of appearance, Alan even took the time to name each image too:

   'What now?'

   'Oh no, quick... hide!'

   'Don't move!'

   'Phew... made it'

If you've been doing your own 'backyard safaris', and have something you wish to share with the rest of us, please send your sightings to: natureshome@rspb.org.uk - or, if you feel inspired by this post and want to start making the most of the wildlife in your own backyard, head over to Breakfast Birdwatch and VitaminN to find out more. 

(photos courtesy of Nature's Home reader, Alan Potter)

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