Through the webcam
Current restrictions on outdoor excursions mean that many of us are missing nature. But there’s a wonderful variety of live streaming webcams to help you get your regular dose of wildlife.
Here are 10 of England’s best wildlife webcams:
Essex Wildlife Trust has a camera streaming from a bat box where hundreds of soprano pipistrelle bats spend the day. These are tiny animals, 35-45mm long with a wingspan of 190-230mm. And they can weigh as little as 3 grams: lighter than a 1p coin! Expect to see them leave at dusk to hunt for insects.
Watch the bats
The EST also has a badger cam! The camera is positioned above ground next to a sett where a male and female adult, four juveniles and two cubs (born this year) live. Look out for them a few hours before dusk.
Watch the badgers
Ospreys, Rutland and Dorset
These magnificent fish-eating birds of prey were once lost from England after years of persecution. Successful reintroduction schemes at Rutland Water from the 1990s and Poole Harbour, Dorset, from 2017 have seen them return to our skies. These two webcams are well worth a watch: if you’re lucky you might see one of these ace anglers bringing fish back to the nest to feed their young.
Barn owls, Dorset
Dorset Wildlife Trust’s webcam shows a live view of a barn owl nest. Barn owls mostly hunt at dusk and dawn, and their favourite foods are small mammals like field voles, common shrews and wood mice. Their owlets will be in the nest for about eight weeks before making their first flights, though they’ll return for a while to rest during the daytime.
Kate Macrae’s cameras, Staffordshire
Kate is hooked on nature cameras and her fascinating live cams have featured on TV on numerous occasions.
One of my favourites is Kate’s water vole camera, which is located at Stow Maries Aerodrome in Essex. The first time I visited this webcam page a water vole popped up straight away! Other animals and birds can be seen here too, including moorhens and mallards.
One of Kate’s newer cameras focuses on solitary bees. At her bee hotel, made up of hollow bamboo canes, you should be able to spot red mason bees emerging. Expect to see them between late morning and early evening, when the sun is on this patch of Kate’s garden.
Brownsea Island Lagoon, Dorset
These cameras point at Brownsea Island’s busy colony of gulls and terns. Watch their courtship behaviour and see them raising their chicks!
Watch the gulls and terns
View tranquil watery scenes at Brockholes nature reserve where the Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside Wildlife Trust have two cameras pointing at the lakes. As I watched, a coot and a mute swan were drifting across Meadow Lake.
Watch the Brockholes lakes