Rare UK wildlife thriving in lockdown, reveals National Trust

Now the National Trust is reporting that emboldened wildlife, from raptors and warblers to badgers, otters and even orcas, appear to be enjoying the disappearance of humans from its gardens, castles and waterways across the UK. The charity is asking people to be aware that when they eventually return to the countryside they should take care not to disturb wildlife they would not usually expect to encounter. Reports from rangers and gardeners include peregrine falcons nesting in the ancient ruins of Corfe Castle in Dorset, English partridges rootling around an empty car park near Cambridge, and a cuckoo calling at Osterley Park in west London, having not been heard there for 20 years. Gallery: The gorgeous wildlife of planet Earth (Photo Services) A school of fish swim in a coral reef off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. A snowy owl is spotted yawning in Northeastern Wisconsin, U.S. Two stag deer pause during a rut at Bradgate Park in Newtown Linford, England. A little sea lion and a starfish swim amid a swarm of sardines in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. A flock of razorbills sit above the North Sea at Fowlsheugh Nature Reserve in Kincardineshire, Scotland. A polar bear cubs play with their mother at the Wapusk National Park in Manitoba, Canada. A copperhead snake lies on a sand bank by a stream in Florida, U.S. A frog chases a damselfly in Indonesia. A mountain lion jumps over rocks in southwestern U.S. A yellow-billed oxpecker sits atop a Cape buffalo's head at Ngorongoro Crater area in Tanzania. Two muddy wild pigs touch their heads together in a peaceful sharing moment in San Diego County, California, U.S. Three marine iguanas line themselves on a beach on Santa Cruz island in Ecuador. A pride of six lions known as Gomondwane Males is spotted in Kruger National Park, South Africa. A sub-adult lion cub and his mother play in the rain at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. A red fox sniffs the seed pods of a reed in the Bohemian Forest in Czech Republic. An African wild dog is seen amidst the foliage at Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. Two orcas, or killer whales, push through the waves in Avacha Bay off Kamchatka Peninsula on Russia's Pacific coast. An aerial view of a pair of humpback whales in Avacha Bay off Kamchatka Peninsula on Russia's Pacific coast. An Indian rhino crosses a road inside the Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam in India. With the site the quietest it has ever been, the great curtain walls are an ideal spot for these birds, which look for isolated and inaccessible places to build a nest. Amongst all the uncertainty, it has been heartening to see nature colonisingthe landscape in our absence.” At Plas yn Rhiw, a manor house on the Llyn Peninsula in north Wales, stoats, weasels and hares have come in from the woodland to explore the gardens, which are usually filled with visitors. At the Ashridge estate in Hertfordshire, the rare sound of a grasshopper warbler was recorded in a typically busy dog-walking area. Little owls have also been making their presence felt at Ham House in south-west London, venturing into the garden from the adjacent river meadows. Jackdaws, which enjoy feeding on scraps of food dropped by people, for example, have not returned to Ham House since the lockdown. Otters have been spotted enjoying the quiet at Nunnington Hall in Yorkshire and at Mount Stewart in County Down, with those at the Northern Ireland site travelling from the lough to explore the lake in the grounds of the neoclassical house. Ben McCarthy, the head of nature conservation at the National Trust, said: “It has only been eight weeks but wildlife seems to be enjoying the breathing space. With less traffic and fewer people, we’ve heard deafening levels of birdsong and seen famous monuments and formal gardens colonised by wildlife.” While its properties are temporarily closed, the trust is working on its reopening plans. As it begins to welcome back visitors to its countryside and coastal sites, however, the conservation charity is asking people to be particularly careful not to disturb wildlife that may have moved into typically busy areas. McCarthy added: “As the lockdown begins to be eased, we all need to play our part to ensure that this wildlife remains undisturbed.”