During the lockdown, many of us will have turned to the live feeds from webcams located the world over to provide a little escape from what’s happening around us. Undoubtedly operators of these cameras will have seen a significant increase in traffic. Many of the visitors will be wildlife enthusiasts who will have found that there are plenty of feeds to choose from, whatever their wildlife interest is. Cameras operated by charities, businesses or private individuals provide us with a glimpse of somewhere else. And at this time we could all do with some of that!
One such network is the system known as Shetland Webcams set up by Andy Steven who used to be Shetland’s tourism chief. The network has been up and running for 10 years and more recently it has benefited from investments from crowdfunding and commercial sponsorship. As a result, the network of (at the time of writing) 13 cameras covers 11 locations and includes a feed from 60 North Radio and a binaural sound feed. Together these give virtual visitors an opportunity to enjoy Shetland in a range of different ways.
For wildlife enthusiasts, some of the locations for the cameras on Shetland provide views of a wide range of species. On the shore, gulls can be seen making their way over the rocks while seals and even otters can occasionally be seen in the shallow waters. The Puffincam not only provides views of the stunning landscape but also views of the nesting birds. Currently, due to the lockdown, the Puffincam has had to utilise the feed from another camera to provide views of their nesting burrows. But despite this, you can still keep an eye on these engaging birds.
Even with the lockdown restrictions in place, the network of cameras continues to provide not only a fascinating insight into the lives of birds but also a link to another place. Somewhere many of us would love to visit and enjoy – in short, an escape – something many of us are looking for at this moment in time.
With more and more evidence that engaging with nature and the natural world provide major benefits for both mental and physical health, maybe views like this can go some way to offset the problems caused by the lockdown – however necessary the lockdown is.
Whatever reason you have to visit the Shetland Webcam site let’s hope that the views it provides prove to be beneficial and enjoyable. Although we all strive to reduce screen time, during times like these I think we can all be excused. And lets also thank those who set up these services and keep them up and running. Long may they continue.