In the North-West of England, the border-city of Carlisle is a vivid contrast of an artificial concrete labyrinth mixed with verdant wilderness. Here, traveller and local alike can easily observe the tangible combination of human bustle and nature.
Positioned close to the Solway Firth, Pennines and the Lake District, Carlisle is a wildlife hot-spot for many manners of animals to dwell. Due to the Rivers Eden (the longest-flowing river in Cumbria) and Caldew which flow directly through the city (including the smaller river Petteril), any nature-enthusiast, at any time of the year, cannot venture through the minor city without encountering some form of exciting wildlife.
During this time of early winter, you may find the spectacular murmurations of Starlings taking flight at dusk, and even occasionally a Sparrow Hawk in attempt to catch its dinner. All year round, Red Squirrels can be found in Carlisle Cemetery, and Goosanders, Herons, Kingfishers, Wild Salmon, Trout and Otters residing in and by the Rivers Eden and Caldew. Sightings of Deer have also been reported to me by colleagues and local nature enthusiasts in the cemetery, and also the woodland pathways leading Westwards on the North bank of the Eden.
The World Owl Trust, partnered with a fantastic local volunteer group aliased as ‘Friends of Rickerby Park’ and Denton Wood craft, have recently been undertaking a profound initiative in encouraging the increase the populations of Barn, Tawny and Little Owl by fencing of areas of the park as to be not be disrupted by human activity so the numbers of the Owl’s prey populations can increase- thus promoting the return and increase of the numbers of the Owls. Another Owl box will be placed in the neighbouring green area ‘Bitts Park’, and eighteen others to be placed with around the city with the City Council’s permission.
As a prospective Final-year Wildlife Media undergraduate student, it is always a simple endeavour to head out with some photography/filming kit and find someone exciting and interesting to capture on camera. It is the perfect training-ground for my early career as a Wildlife Media producer, as with just the right amount of enthusiasm, patience, sharp senses and knowledge in which to find the diverse availability if flora, fauna and fungi- there is a convenient and near-limitless potential of exciting media production.
For example, I am currently working on one of my final-year film projects, which is to highlight the presence of such a rich biodiversity in a city which is all too often judged as just another minor city which simply comprises of mostly industrial and residential areas, topped by an interesting historic Castle. The niche message of the short film is to contrast the paradox of exciting wildlife with the hard and artificial backdrop of the city.