Lockdown#3 drags on here in the UK, and I for one am keen for some fresh air and nature, even though it is the middle of winter. As an incentive to get out of the house (once per day!) I am doing a virtual Land's End to John O'Groats challenge. I'm alternating running and walking days, and the walking days are all done on the farm tracks, footpaths and bridleways around and about the village - my local patch.
I do feel really fortunate to be living in the countryside, with lots of green space and walking opportunities everywhere, and the nature and wildlife that goes along with that. But your local patch can be just as intriguing no matter where you are - the chance to watch the changes over the seasons, to find the rhythms of nature, and to notice the life all around is not to be missed.
One great activity for a local patch is to keep a local patch bird list. My regular walking routes include various paths and loops, but all cover much the same area, and I have this set up as one of my 'places' on the BTO BirdTrack site. I've had this set up for years, but fell out of the habit of regularly logging anything - until now! On my walks I'm now looking and listening for bird life, and I'm looking forward to the arrival of spring and summer visitors. It's given me a focus, and I'm noticing things like how the weather affects the birds I see or don't see, and I'm getting familiar with some of the birds too - I know where the kestrel hangs out, the territories of the two pairs of crows, the buzzard's favourite perch.
And this is all adding to the BirdTrack data, contributing to ongoing research into trends in bird populations and movements. What's not to like!
Getting to know your local patch, wherever you are, is a great way to connect with nature!