NHSN Student Award Scheme participant Hanna Tamminen describes her #LockdownNaturalist experience in Gateshead
As we have been isolated from the social world for some time, the role of nature in our everyday lives has amplified, at the least for me. The importance of nature, access to woodland areas for walks, seeing the changing trees from my window, and hearing the buzz of insects and sounds of birdsong in the morning as I continue my life indoors.
Isolation is hard, being active seems to be ingrained into our hectic daily lives, especially in the city. Daily comings and goings have now been overtaken as the world has had to halt, pushing away bustling city streets to isolate ourselves for the safety of ourselves. Now more than ever I have taken time, had the time and really spent it, looking outside and seeing the details and wonders of the ordinary things, like the dogwalkers passing our living room, the blackbirds and magpies who scuttle about the yard, the roaming housecats that come to visit in the morning. The slower way of life has made me really appreciate the surroundings and nature of the city and given me perspective as I become more and more stir crazy!
Consequently, I have spent a significant time staring out of the window, spotting the animals and plants in the backyard and our garden. I have had a little one-person bioblitz from my bedroom window, spotting mostly the many birds that inhabit the garden and the trees near a footpath used by the dogwalkers. To note a few regular visitors of our garden, there have been robins, doves, tits, blackbirds and magpies in the oak sat in the middle of the garden, which has grown leaves and started to bloom now, all during the quarantine. Pollinators and spiders are the most abundant invertebrates in the garden, where my mother in law has planted a plethora of flora for the enjoyment of both us and the insect friends that visit. Our flats roof has been taken by pigeons, as evident from the small, around 50p sized eggshells that appear in the yard, and the soft cooing that can be heard from the chatter or our avian neighbours.
Living near and amongst urban nature has helped to gather my nerves among the chaos of instability of the COVID-19 situation, which has surged a shift into a slower, more aware lifestyle as the spring starts to turn to summer now. Seeing the changing landscape brings me to appreciate this little piece of nature where I live in, and grateful to have the bird-friends I do have living in the backyard. The small things like this brighten the day, and I tremendously recommend having your own little bioblitz if you can, or just look out from your window, watch the clouds rolling over and the wind tickling the leaves as it passes by.
Hanna Tamminen is a Finnish national who moved to the North East to study Physical Geography at Newcastle University in 2016. With a keen interest in geomorphology and conservation science, she is an active participant on the NHSN Student Naturalist Awards Scheme. She spent her lockdown in Gateshead, photographed here in her backyard with the family cat, Maks.
You can follow Hanna on Instagram at @taminseikkailut
Across the North East, naturalists have been forced to adapt the way in which they study and enjoy wildlife. We want to capture your Notes from a Lockdown Naturalist; a snapshot of your thoughts and reflections.
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