This years Springwatch has just left our screens but we love it’s ability to bring the countryside into your living room, particularly if it’s not on your doorstep. If you’re in an urban environment it can often feel like a distant world, but if you look hard enough you can see that the activity continues in all corners of the country. If you can’t spot it, perhaps it’s time to entice the wildlife as close to home as possible. Getting a little more in touch with nature is good for the soul, so we’ve selected some of our favourite ways to bring Springwatch to your back garden…
Bird Box with Camera
There’s all sorts of tech that you can introduce to your garden, if you’re interested in catching a glimpse of mother nature, but one of our personal favourites is the bird box camera which uncovers a world that was otherwise a mystery to us. This internal camera connects directly to your TV so you can watch the activities of whichever local songbird decides to make it their home. They’re a great way to feel connected to the local wildlife, even in a city and are totally addictive to watch. Everyone from Waitrose to independent online stores such as Nature Cameras have them for sale and once they’re up and running, you’ll have your very own personal springwatch for years to come!
RSPB have some great suggestions for creating homes for bugs, they can be an asset to the local ecosystem and particularly encourage a visit or two from birds and other animals. Building homes for bugs and wildlife in the garden can be great fun, especially for kids. If you’re up for the challenge you could even have a go at creating this five star ‘Insect Hotel’ and you’ll find the rooms are filled with unpaying guests in no time!
Making a home that will encourage bees to your garden, is not only good for the local wildlife but can also look pretty wonderful too. There are some fine examples of bee homes on the market but if you want to create something totally unique there are some beautiful versions and instructions on how to make them via verticle veg. Also take a look on the RHS website for some great tips on selecting the right plants and flowers for attracting bees.
Food For Foxes, Badgers & More…
As a child, feeding the badgers and foxes was a regular occurrence. Watching them come out after dusk and nibble at the left over scraps was such an exciting part of the evening. Though you have to be quite tidy about it and ensure that vessels are clean and food is fresh, it can be a really rewarding way of watching wildlife and understanding their behaviour. The BBC have some great advice on the best ways to encourage foxes and badgers, they also recommend dog food to encourage hedgehogs too. The Wildlife Trust have some fabulous tips on how to ‘stake out’ a badger set!
There’s lots of ways to track animals if you don’t have the time to wait up for them, a simple tray of sand in the garden will help you capture the paw prints of any active nocturnal wildlife. It’s easy to set up and is a fascinating thing to discover in the morning.
Insectlore have been growing Butterflies since 1969, and their adorable kits are an exciting way for you and the family to get a closer understanding of the captivating transformation that a butterfly goes through. From caterpillar to chrysalis and the unravelling of its wings, you and your family get to nurture the butterfly until its ready to fly. You also get the wonderful privilege of releasing the butterflies into the big wide world, a ceremonious moment that the whole family will always remember.
A Visit to Pensthorpe Or Minsmere
For the last few years Springwatch has been hosted by Pensthorpe and more recently Minsmere, two wonderful nature reserves in the East of England that are well worth a visit. If you want to see a little more than what’s in your back garden or on your TV screens, these stunning spots will offer you plenty to enjoy. Penesthorpe and Minsmere are within a 2 hour journey of each other, so you could even see both and make a weekend of it.
Tell us about how you get on, or give The Cotswold Community some more ideas on encouraging wildlife into their garden.