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APRIL 2021

After what seemed a long winter and a hesitant spring, finally we have all enjoyed a dry spell. Frosty mornings followed by gorgeous sun filled days have been greatly welcomed. Although dare I say a little rain through the night would be perfect as the ground is now so hard and dry, and once the rain does come, everything will burst into colour and growth. Sunshine and warmth really does make you feel better. Nature, just being outside can benefit our mood, health and fitness. Whether it’s going for a walk, reading a book in your garden, cycling, riding, gardening, even having a chat over the garden fence to a neighbour really does lift our mood.

Personally for me there is no better feeling than getting out and about on my ponies. Discovering nature on horseback is quite magical. My daughter and I were having a canter along a track not far from my house the other day, where we ended up alongside a roe deer running through the woods. Neither pony spooked at the beautiful creature, they all accepted this was okay, including the deer, as we continued together through the woodland.

We felt so special that the deer didn't see us as humans, she seemed to accept the ponies’ presence.

While on the back of a pony, you hear the birds up in the trees, they flit across the track in front of you, we spot slow worms, wild flowers, frogs and toads, nest sites and so much more. Every day we seem to spot something new. It really is a wonderful way to tread gently through nature. The swallows have returned to rebuild their nests in the ponies’ stables, our tawny owl box has two chicks hatched and the garden birds have nested all over our garden, in the trees, hedges, bird boxes, even in my partner Clive’s crates of slates.

The bats are all out again and I dare I say we've had midges out here too.

The daffodils are now all dying back after giving us a beautiful display but the bluebell shoots are well up, so I'm looking forward to seeing the purple and blue hues of the flowers as they carpet the woodland ground.

I've loved to see the fields around Liddesdale with stampedes of lambs racing and bouncing round the fields, showing us all to be positive and that life keeps on going. Nature keeps adapting and developing too. It’s been a tough time for everyone. Some of us have lost loved ones, and most of us have not seen family and loved ones for months and months. Better times are coming, time to heal. Sometimes we just need reminded that it will be ok, some things have just been out of our control and no matter how much we may worry, there's not a thing we can do about it.

I'm a worrier type of person, so I'm so grateful to live where I live and that I've had my ponies, artwork, dog and family to keep me focused and positive. I'm not into technology, so I haven’t embraced Zoom calls. Everyone finds their own happy place and a way to communicate with friends and family.

If Covid has taught me anything, it is that we can look after ourselves, do our best and be kind to ourselves. And one of the best ways of doing that is to spend time outside. When you do go out and about, please remember some wildlife advice. If you see a baby bird for example, please leave it alone. As soon as you interfere you become responsible for the care of that creature, whether it be a bird, leveret or cub. If it’s not in danger I'd leave well alone. I might tuck it under a nearby hedge or into long grass near where I found it, so then the parents would hear its call/cry.

Sometimes they've pushed the young out of the nest ready for the next stage. The same goes for rabbits, hares and deer - they will leave their young while they go off grazing, sometimes for hours. All wildlife need their parents.

If you are concerned, maybe hide somewhere quietly and watch for the parents coming back, but be prepared to sit it out for a number of hours.

And you can contact Scottish wildlife hospital at Dumfries where they can give advice too.

Happy wildlife watching x


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