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RSPB at Pagham Harbour Column – June 2020

By Roy Newnham



Having been locked down I have missed many of my spring highlights. However, being forced to stop, slow down and restrict my movements, gave me the opportunity to watch the season evolve in my own backyard.



Observing the leaves unfurling as each day passed. Catching the first flowers opening and the sudden appearance of the insects they attract. The different bees and butterflies emerging with the onset of their individual flight seasons.



It has been a joy to discover species that I never knew lived in my little patch, like the tiny yellow-faced bees starring back at me from the mauve flowers of chives, a ruby-tailed wasp glinting like a jewel in the sunshine as it explored the crevices of the brickwork.



Recording the dawn chorus, I was astonished by the sheer volume and abundance of song emanating from outside my bedroom window. I have watched the blackbird take his daily bath, the wren pick her way through the dog rose and fox cubs take their first outings into the wider world. And all this is in the middle of town.


Wren Troglodytes troglodytes, perched on small branch, singing , Hampshire, May


Of course, I am not the only one to have found comfort and respite in the wildlife on my doorstep. Social media and news stories from across the country has reflected our appreciation of the natural world during this difficult time and is supported by a public survey conducted in May stating that 71 per cent of people agreed that time spent in/surrounded by nature has been more important to them since the onset of the Coronavirus crisis in the UK.



The YouGov survey goes on to evidence the overwhelming support there is for safeguarding and investing in nature, with 81 per cent of people surveyed agreeing the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has shown the importance of protecting and restoring nature, (only ten per cent disagreeing).



The full report can be found on our website:


Meanwhile, the year’s most vigorous growing season has not been on hold and as such we are busy trying to clear some of our paths, many of which have become overgrown.



Paths and car parks aside, our visitor facilities, including the Visitor Centre, toilets and hides, remain closed for now and you will find any changes to this will be advised on our website: our Facebook page: and Twitter @RSPBPagham



Getting back to work is a strange sensation. When lockdown was imposed I missed our wonderful and increasingly important nature reserves, finding solace in my own little green space and the gardens surrounding us – something I would not normally have been afforded.



Now I have returned and I am focusing on the reserve again, I cannot help but wonder what is happening in my small patch and yearn for the chance to just sit and watch the delights it holds.



Never under estimate the wild places around us, whether they are the big parks and reserves or the modest collection of pots on your patio or balcony. They are all important – to wildlife and to our well-being.

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