While you've been away: wildlife takeover edition

A peacock on the terrace at Powis Castle and Garden, Powys, Wales

Although lockdown has meant that we haven’t been able to welcome human visitors to the places we care for, wildlife seems to have other ideas. Several of our on-site staff have reported rare sightings and uncharacteristic behaviours from their local bird and mammal populations, which seem to be making the most of the unusually empty gardens and estates.

Among the strange encounters was a buzzard who has made its way into the orangery at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk – having apparently decided to enjoy its lunch among the impressive collection of camellias. 

Meanwhile at Plas yn Rhiw on the Llyn Peninsula, stoats, weasels and hares who would usually roam the woodland have been spotted exploring the gardens instead - presumably appreciating the blooming displays of rhododendrons and azaleas.


Badger cam

Many of these unusual wildlife sightings have been captured on camera, including this footage of a family of badger cubs playfully exploring an estate in Northern Ireland by daylight.

National Trust Head of Nature Conservation, Ben McCarthy, said: ‘It’s only been a few 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 we’re looking forward to welcoming human visitors back to these special places when we can, we’ll be asking everyone to be extra mindful of the wildlife that has settled in to new homes.

‘Over the last few weeks we’ve seen endangered birds, as well as more common wildlife, expanding their territories and nesting in places they wouldn’t normally’ says Ben. 

‘As the lockdown begins to be eased, we all need to play our part to ensure that this wildlife remains undisturbed.

‘By following instructions, keeping dogs on a short lead, not approaching wildlife and taking any litter home, we can ensure our places benefit both people and nature.’

More unusual wildlife encounters

Give nature a helping hand

If you’re keen to give nature a helping hand, we’ve got plenty of suggestions to get you started. Why not try some of our tips to help the bees and butterflies in your local patch with a spot of nature-friendly gardening, or donate to help us support wildlife at the places in our care?