Funny how quickly we have all managed to adapt to our new virtual world. Zoom dinners, brilliant pub quizzes, happy hour on Houseparty, fitness on YouTube, and it all takes up so much time. There really isn’t a moment in the day that isn’t catered for, and that’s before you start to take up the new, rather zen hobby that is taking us self isolators to places we have never been and are never likely to go, but really isn’t nature soothing?
Instead of watching each other we can give tune in Big Brother style to the natural world via wildlife cams. Stationed around the world these nature streams introduce you to life live, watch long enough and you can become quite the expert. David Attenborough take a back seat, now you’re the naturalist in the know. "Have I told you about the colony of Montastrea Annularis in the Grand Cayman?"
Listen to sound effect recordings on YouTube. A bath takes on a new perspective as you soak along to the tweets of chaffinches, cuckoos and blackbirds flitting through the forest. Expect a sound recording to last right the way through the running, soaking and drying phases. You really could be splashing around in the wild, except the water is rather warmer. Choose from exotic jungle sounds to a wood in Berkshire.
Due to the virus, you will find a few webcams have been turned off or not maintained. Expect a bit of buffering, while some webcam sites let themselves down with too much advertising, others would like a donation, which in the present circumstances is very understandable.
All around the UK the real winners from this disaster are the wildlife. Goats and deer have been spotted in towns, birds are nesting without disturbance and rivers are becoming cleaner and we have the time. There has never been a better time to watch nature from the sofa - very S-L-O-W-L-Y.
The Cayman Reef powered by Explore.org
1. This is a solar powered camera overlooking a reef. This is known as a ‘cleaning station’, where the larger boys come to be cleaned by cleaner fish and shrimp. The reef is a busy old place, no social distancing here. Oddly hypnotic. Explore.org is an excellent starting point for live streaming - they have the lot from Gorillas to sharks. Expect to tune in and see - well nothing. That’s live streaming for you. Hiding and having a nap is often the order of the day. Regular visits pay off, but Explore.org have cornered the market.
2. Meanwhile back home on the Cumbria coast, you can tune in to seal watch at South Walney nature reserve. It has to be said they don’t do a lot. Hanging about with their mates is the order of the day here Seagulls in abundance and the sea looks nice. Sometimes one rolls over, which is a highlight.
3. Fly on the wall inside the nesting boxes. This requires quite a lot of patience. as funnily enough birds spend time out on the wing. You will be amply repaid when the chicks hatch.
Blue Tits are brilliant. Very careful nest builders (they will take the lot out and start again if they don’t fancy it) and highly entertaining to watch when the chicks hatch. The Blue Tit family are about to start laying - so definitely worth checking in to the box at regular intervals during the next couple of weeks. Owls are a big feature on this site too.
If you become keen, and have some outdoor space, buy your own box fitted with a camera.
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