If you follow me on social media you may well know that a few months back I had surgery and it has knocked me for six. Being a sufferer of Crohn's disease I'm no stranger to pain so I thought it'd be a breeze, just a minor thing and back on form within a few weeks. I was wrong. The surgery was around my coccyx, so not only have I had a lot of pain (even now sitting down still requires a plan of action) but it also seriously affected my mobility, and therefore my ability to both work and to spend time in the wild outside.
It is now well known that exercise and time connecting with nature can be beneficial to our mental health. The only way to connect with nature that was available to me for quite a few weeks was our backyard nature reserve visitors. The time I was trapped inside coincided with a lot of our birds' babies fledging. I spent hours just staring out of our dining room window with my camera (I reckon my neighbours think I'm a bit of a weirdo). When I couldn't get out to nature, it came to me.
We don't have a lovely big nature garden, just a small front and back yard. But we have bird feeders, a hedgehog house and feeding station, some plants in pots and a little bucket pond. Things most people can do easily, and things that really will draw nature to you. We have had twenty six species of bird visit (that we know of) from our regular finches, tits and blackbirds, to the thug starlings and the jackdaw mafia, to a fleeting goldcrest and even a sparrowhawk (who left hungry, luckily for the goldfinches). We have had hedgehog babies, have mice living in the wall and even had a frog stop for a summer.
For anybody who struggles to get out and about, I can't stress how much having a little contact with nature through your window can help to stop you from feeling sad.
Here are some of the pics I've taken of the visiting birds (and one strange bird at the end, can you identify it? Answers on a post card).