During lockdown the National Trust has reported 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.

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.

The team at Colour in the Margins has had emails from our volunteers as well as members of the public wanting to get in touch and tell us their stories about rare arable wildlife making an appearance. Elaine Parkin is one of those people and sent this wonderful story capturing the magic of seeing arable species that aren’t so frequently seen.

Skylark - RSPB Images

“I'd like to mention our encounters with a Skylark from far below it! We were on a footpath to West Harting that leads off the South Harting to Charlton road in West Sussex. We had walked about a mile through woodland, going uphill all the time and at the top, whilst walking adjacent to open fields, we heard the skylark. It must have been very high as we couldn't see it, but loved hearing its sweet, earnest song as it circled high above us. It reminded me of hearing them over open fields in Idsworth near Rowlands Castle and again in Somerset’s Quantock hills, where we heard several.

Like other beautiful birdsong, the lark's sweet voice resonates of something timeless, encapsulating the beauty of the countryside from high above, whether it's in sight or not. Simply hearing one gives a sense of reassurance, of quietude and permanence that is hard to describe. On hearing it, you must stop, be still and reflect on the beauty of its song. We certainly did on our walk and look forward to hearing one again!

A friend who works near this site saw a leveret right outside her cottage; a Stoat then appeared, and they stared at each other. I don't know the outcome, but since crowds of people have not been around during lockdown, she's also noticed deer and hares coming in much closer; the Hares even sit happily outside her home! These animals may not be able to venture so freely in 'normal' times due to the presence of people and noise, but it is reassuring and very pleasing to know that they are out there and still part of our much-loved natural environment and rural heritage”

Many thanks to Elaine for getting in touch and telling her about this encounter. If you have seen any of the rarer species during this quieter time, why not get in touch and share your story?

Get in touch with ColourInTheMargins@plantlife.org.uk to tell us what you’ve seen.


 Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.