Wildlife in isolation
Derbyshire Life|July 2020
Self-isolation naturally limits the opportunties open to a wildlife photographer - but look hard enough, and there’s plenty out there
Paul Hobson

The pandemic sweeping across the world, the UK and Derbyshire is a terrible thing and one that will have touched the lives of all of us in many ways. By the end, the world will be a very different place and I hope we can celebrate and re-evaluate our relationship with those who have risked their lives and worked tirelessly to bring us through this difficult period.

Millions of us - myself and partner included - have had to self-isolate for many weeks. This period will have affected us all differently and many will have turned to hobbies and activities that we wouldn’t devote much, if any, time to; I suspect there will be thousands of incredibly tidy gardens for the first time in years.

Spring in isolation, and particularly because the weather was largely incredibly sunny, was difficult for me as a wildlife photographer. I should have been heading out each morning before dawn to work with singing birds on moors, woods and marshes. This is something I do every year and really look forward to during the dark days of winter.

However this was not possible, so my recourse became my garden. Not for the first time I was really glad I had planted nectar-rich plants over the last decade. March was fairly quiet in the air space over the flower borders but as April (without its showers) rolled in the activity levels and flight paths quickly filled up. I noticed many species but as a photographer I was drawn immediately to just two - dark-edged bee flies and hairy-footed flower bees. Both these species have flight patterns that gave me a good chance of in-flight images and both have body shapes that I just love. As an avid science fiction film fan, I imagined the insects as small spaceships heavily weaponised at their front ends - though in reality nothing could be further from the truth as both are entirely harmless to humans.

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