This week's Photo of the week accolade goes to Nature's Home reader, Robert Kitchen for his submission of this stunning whitethroat. Robert captured this image on a local lockdown walk, and was surprised to find a wealth of wildlife only a stone's throw from his front door - a welcome reminder to us all that nature is there to be enjoyed, if only we remember to look for it.

 Robert says:

"I love the Nature's Home magazine, especially the photos! I visit RSPB reserves regularly, especially my local at Rye Meads. I always go armed with a camera, but don't normally think to take one out locally. During lockdown, I have been walking much more in the country and have been surprised by just how many species I have been able to not only see - but also to photograph, despite the lack of a hide. Here are a couple of favorites from within a couple of miles of home. It all goes to show that many of us don't appreciate what is under our noses."

Whitethroat quick-fire facts:

  • These beautiful summer visitors began joining us in April from their wintering grounds in Africa and can be seen throughout most of the UK before leaving our shores again in September - October.
  • The whitethroat is a medium-sized warbler, about the size of a great tit. It has quite a long tail which it flicks and cocks as it darts rapidly in and out of cover. You can see one in action in the video below. 
  • You're most likely to see a whitethroat in your garden when they're on the move (Spring and Autumn migration). They'll be on the hunt for insects, berries and fruit.  
  • Favourite nesting sites include low cover hedgerows, brambles and nettle patches, the latter being the reason for the nickname 'nettlecreeper'. The males will make several nests for the female to choose from, she will carefully inspect his handywork and once the best one has been selected, she'll add the homely touches and line with grasses and fur.
  • In particularly dry years, many whitethroats fail to return to their breeding grounds and sadly perish due to drought prior to departure. In the 1960s we lost 75% of the population for this reason. 

If you've been doing more walks during lockdown, 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 garden or local area, head over to Breakfast Birdwatch for your daily dose of VitaminN to find out more. 

(photos courtesy of Nature's Home reader, Robert Kitchen)

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