Stay alert, keep to the paths, save wildlife

Amy Lewis

As the lockdown eases and people start to return to nature reserves, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is asking everyone to stay alert to the presence of wildlife.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves are amongst the richest places for wildlife in Lincolnshire; they are home to some of the rarest species found in the county. Visitors are being asked to stay alert and stay on paths to ensure that birds and other wildlife aren’t disturbed.

During the period of restricted travel, wildlife hasn’t had to adapt to the presence of humans. They’ve responded to the relative peace and quiet by moving into new areas and nesting where they wouldn’t usually nest.

Birds that nest on the ground are particularly vulnerable. Skylarks and meadow pipits nest in small hollows lined with grass and leaves. Instead of being well away from visitors, these nests may be on the grassy edges of paths.

On the coast, little terns and ringed plovers also nest on the ground, by scraping a shallow hollow in the sand. And even those which nest in trees and hedges such as yellowhammers and nightingales could be nesting in pathside hedgerows rather than in more secluded locations.

Staying alert, keeping to the paths, and moving away if you see nesting birds, could prevent these birds from abandoning their young.

And it’s not just birds. On heathland nature reserves, adders are more likely to seen near paths or could be hidden in pathside vegetation. Adders are shy reptiles prefer to slither off into the undergrowth than confront humans. They are becoming increasingly rare in Lincolnshire, partly because of disturbance. 

Most Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves are open but toilets and visitor centres remain closed and there may be temporary path closures in place. In order to avoid overwhelming our sites, people are encouraged not to travel to reserves outside of their local area and to continue to enjoy wildlife close to home.

Visit our Coronavirus Statement page for the latest update on visiting the nature reserves.

Little tern eggs and chick (c) Richard Doan

Nesting on the beach makes little terns very vulnerable to disturbance (© Richard Doan)