Among all the bad things that the Corona virus has brought us, it has resulted in people spending more time in our local countryside. The sightings and postings on our WildCookham Face-book page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/wildcookham) have evidenced this and some amazing wildlife has been noted. Increased numbers of photos and videos of deer, badgers and foxes have been a joy to see, but it has also been an opportunity for some to seek out the smaller creatures amongst God’s creation.
Our members have found some of the more striking hoverflies that are on the wing this time of year, some resembling Hornets for example. Others have been fascinated by some of our more colourful caterpillars, such as those of the Vapourer Moth, whilst several have been fascinated to find some of our beautiful Picture-winged Flies near their garden ponds.
Time to move slowly with inquisitive eyes has resulted in three species of rare Damselfly being discovered in the village this summer and one couple created a sequence of stunning photographs of all 26 species of butterfly found in our locale. Another created a kaleidoscope of images of different wildflowers along our hedgerows,
whilst others, seeking the majestic Neowise Comet hanging in the night sky, saw bats and heard owls calling near their houses for the first time.
The point is, all these ‘new’ experiences were there all the while, but it has taken extraordinary circumstances to allow many of us to encounter them for the first time. Nature has a wonderful capacity to heal us and to calm us. In his contemplative poem, William Henry Davies said “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”
Standing and staring will always reward us in the green and pleasant land around the village. Yes, many aspects of our natural world are beleaguered by man’s lack of concern for creatures, great and small, hanging on to disappearing habitats at a tremendous rate. While the opportunity exists, let’s all go that bit slower on our walks and wanderings to see what gems await us as we too ‘stand and stare’.
Brian Clews firstname.lastname@example.org
(You can contact WildCookham at https://www.wildcookham.org.uk)