Look up to the heavens.

Are you seeing more stars? Is the moon shining more brightly and have you spotted Venus in the western sky in the evening. One of the unexpected benefits of the lockdown is a reduction in pollution, hardly any aeroplane contrails distorting the sky and many of us are now seeing a better view of the night sky.  At the start of the month the BBC featured a series of photos of the newly clear skies, see these here. 
However, light pollution from badly aimed streetlights, signs and even house flood lights can still interfere with the nightscape, North York Moors National Park wrote about what they're doing to help combat just these problems to coincide with the Yorkshire Dark Skies Festival which ran from 14 February to 1 March 2020 across the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Find out more

It's currently International Dark Sky Week, a weeklong celebration of the night - an opportunity to consider the role of the night and its star-filled sky in our lives and the clearer skies present us with a perfect opportunity to take part this year, to go out and gaze at the constellations, learn a few of the names and even the stories behind them.   It's not just about the stars, beautiful as they are, but the nighttime as well, so listen out for owls: tawny owls are not as noisy right now as through the winter but the towit-towoo duets between the male and female can still be heard occasionally, although they are more properly a hoohoo from the male and kwick from the female and if they're anything like our owls more noisy during the day than at night! And if you hear a whoop-whoop-whoop check for a slightly taller, possibly bobbing fence post and you've got yourself a little owl, now is the time the males are calling most, advertising their territory.
Don't forget to look out for bats and moths too, both are getting active in the warmer evenings.