The UK’s 20 best countryside walks for social distancing

Long walks are within the rules again, and how we’ve missed them. Here’s our guide to some of the best in Britain, away from the crowds

My goodness. After all these weeks of house arrest, to be told, “You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance” is dizzying. For those who have always wondered what it would feel like to be given the Freedom of Las Vegas, now we know.

So The Telegraph today presents 20 walks of the off-the-beaten-track variety, just in time to celebrate the first weekend of the slight lockdown-loosening that came into effect on Wednesday. Though we are all still required to stay at home as much as possible, we can now exercise outdoors as often as we wish, and we can take trips in private vehicles to do so.

Naturally, there are umpteen important caveats. You must stay at least two metres from anyone who’s not a member of your household [ . . . ]

Source: The UK’s 20 best countryside walks for social distancing

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After a 240-year hiatus, white-tailed eagles are coming back to southern England

A lot is riding on the wings of six baby sea eagles released on the Isle of Wight. They are pioneers of a project to bring the birds back to southern England.

For centuries, there’s been an eagle-shaped hole in the skies over England where the majestic white-tailed eagle once soared. The enormous raptor — its wingspan stretches nearly eight feet — was hunted to extinction some 240 years ago.

“They are a missing part of England’s native biodiversity and were lost entirely through human activities, particularly intense persecution,” notes the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, a charitable trust dedicated to wildlife conservation and research.

But last August, hope took flight again on the tenuous wings of six baby raptors. The chicks, as The Guardian reports, were released on the Isle of Wight, in the hope they would someday reclaim their place in the skies of southern Britain.

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Sounds of hope: Winter Wren

By Laura Sebastianelli

Background sounds: distant surf on rocky coast, lobster boat, light irregular wind, other animals: red squirrel, flies, Black Throated Green warbler, Northern Parula warbler, Dark-eye Junco.

Laura Sebastinelli

Marantz PMD561, 2 Sennheiser ME62s


A longtime friend of THE HOBBLEDEHOY, Laura Sebastianelli is a naturalist, ecological educator, sound recordist, citizen scientist, and active community member living near Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
in Alexandria, VA.
Visit at: wildaroundus.wordpress.com/

Birding in a Dangerous Time

How to mostly stay home, but still partake in a spectacular spring migration.


While the deadly coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe, a much different wave is sweeping through our backyards almost unnoticed — one that offers much-needed inspiration and emotional relief during troubled times.

The annual northward spring migration of birds is underway, providing citizens with not just a distraction from the ho-hum of self-isolation, but an opportunity to experience one of the greatest natural wonders on Earth without even leaving the house.

“This migration — birds coming from distant countries — can open your eyes to another world, something entirely foreign,” says Rob Butler, a B.C. bird expert, author and former federal research scientist. “Most people are completely oblivious to it.”

According to the National Audubon Society, at least a billion birds migrate annually along the Pacific Flyway — a route that follows the west side of the Americas and crosses a vast range of habitats from the tropics to the Arctic. Continue reading

My eagle-eyed winter wander around the Isle of Wight

The island isn’t only for summer holidays: the colder months are perfect for birding and walks along trails that will form part of the England Coast Path

The Isle of Wight is having a moment. That’s what conservationist Dave Fairlamb tells me as we eat homemade cake on a silver-grey afternoon, watching meadow pipits above Newtown’s salt marshes.

“From a nature perspective,” he says, “everything’s converging.”

Dave has just launched Natural Links, offering birdwatching breaks and courses on the island, which has been focusing on its natural assets in the past year. Two Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust projects – the Wilder strategy and Secrets of the Solent – launched in 2019; Visit Isle of Wight published a Slow Travel Guide; and the whole island was awarded Unesco Biosphere status. Last summer also saw the start of a white-tailed eagle reintroduction project, with six birds released on the island’s north coast.

We see no eagles but as we stroll along the harbour we spot a swirl of dunlins – “about 600,” Dave estimates in an instant – and thrill to a fly-by of overwintering Brent geese, [ . . . ] Continue reading