Helping the Natural World during Lockdown

by Handymag

Over recent weeks we have probably had much more time to appreciate the natural world around us. You might have seen wild orchids on road verges, heard curlew and lapwings in the fields and on the moors and looked under stones for various beetles and bugs. This can lead to a better understanding the diversity of wildlife around our homes.

To put this to good use, during lockdown, might you consider recording what you see and where you see it? If so, please take a look at Biological Recording ( where you can record:

  • what you saw
  • where you saw it
  • when you saw it
  • who saw it

This process creates detailed records on a national scale, which enables effective nature conservation. When you are in your garden or on a permitted walk, take photos of wildlife, then when you get home identify them if necessary, and submit these records. If you are new to biological recording, the easiest way to start is uploading records to iRecord (, also available as an App). Uploading photos with your records will help the expert who will check your records. iNaturalist ( ) is an alternative for uploading pictures of species you have not identified, which other users of the site then identify for you.

There are a number of really great local and regional Naturalist Groups, websites and sources of information, that will cover the species you are perhaps most likely to encounter in your gardens and on a daily walk. These include:

For wildlife in general check out the Ryedale Natural History Society, Whitby Naturalists, Scarborough Field Naturalists, and Cleveland Naturalists Field Club for links and information. You could also follow the Whitby Naturalists and Scarborough Field Naturalists on Facebook. Also have a look at the Yorkshire Naturalists Union, who as an organisation study and record Yorkshires Flora and Fauna – check out their latest news, wildlife sightings, twitter, Flickr and list of Yorkshire groups and societies.

For plants in general, and to develop your local botany skills, track down a copy of one of Nan Sykes books, such as A Picture Guide to the Wild Flowers of North East Yorkshire (now sadly out of print – but worth looking around) and Wild Flowers on the Edge: The Story of North Yorkshire’s Road Verges. Also consider joining North East Yorkshire Botany on Facebook.

For butterflies and moths check out Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire, and their publication The Butterflies of Yorkshire, which brings together a huge amount of identification and ecological detail. Also consider joining Butterflies and Moths, North and East Yorkshire Facebook page, and perhaps think about starting moth trapping, to see which of the 2,500 British species are in your area. Either use a purpose made moth trap, or check out this Spring Watch Blog on moth trapping for beginners.

For dragonflies check out the species information and other resources on the Yorkshire Dragonfly Group website, and maybe join Yorkshire Dragonfly Group on Facebook.

There are a multitude of other websites and groups to follow, such as Scarborough Birders, the North East Fungi Study Group, North Yorkshire Bat Group, the Yorkshire Mammal Group – to name just a few! There is also the North York Moors Volunteers Facebook – where there is good mix of expertise to help identify species from photos.

To keep up with local biodiversity and nature news, follow Tim Burkinshaw’s Connecting For Nature Blog, have a look at Yorkshire Coast Nature’s Blogs and News, and if you don’t already, follow The official blog for the North York Moors National Park.

Information taken from blog by Sam Newton, Natural Heritage Officer:

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