Take a wildlife walk in your town
Living in a town or city doesn't need to cut you off from the natural world. Take a walk on the wild side with us and open your eyes to everyday wildlife encounters.
The walking tour begins at home. Get your waterproof out of the wardrobe and check for clothes moths. Make sure you've used the facilities before you leave and keep an eye out for spiders in the bath. While you're checking your doors and windows are locked you might see familiar insects looking for somewhere to stay dry: ladybirds, woodlice and ants. The green oasis of your suburban garden is an adventure holiday of its own so we'll concentrate on the more overlooked environment.
You might see a bat visiting its roost
As you step out of your door look up - can you see anything on the rooftops? Jackdaws and starlings are familiar callers and if you've got an older house with eves you might be lucky enough to have swifts, house martins or house sparrows nesting there. On summer nights you might see a bat visiting its roost and in the south of England you may find the introduced wall lizard lounging outside your kitchen.
Hit the streets
A peregrine flies over city skies
If you live in a city high rise, the skies are your best bet for wildlife. Across the UK, peregines and kestrels can be seen perching on high rise window boxes, office blocks and electricity pylons. Down at street level we're all familiar with the much maligned feral pigeon but you can also see pied wagtails gathering in city centre trees.
The most colourful character on the streets has to be the urban red fox, less timid than his rural cousin but no less beautiful. You're most likely to see foxes in the early morning or evening but keep an ear out for their calls through the night, especially early in the year as they compete for territory and mates.
Continuing on your wild walking tour you're likely to come across one of Britain's numerous urban parks where grey squirrels leap across the lawns and mallards beg for bread. Down at the duck pond you're also likely to see mute swans, Canada geese, moorhens and coots. Tucked into the trees you may be lucky enough to hear the hoot of a tawny owl or, in the South East, the screeching exotic newcomers: ring-necked parakeets.
A swan sits on her scavenged nest
Thanks to our ancestors, most urban areas are sited on rivers or an industrialist network of canals so your local waterway is the next stop on the tour. If you're extremely lucky you might spot an otter, or at least the prints of one in the muddy banks. If the water's particularly clear, keep your eyes peeled too for the azure flash of a kingfisher. Grey heron are much more frequently seen, preying on the roach swimming beneath the water as dragonflies buzz above.
Those grubby ditches and streams that trickle between buildings can be home to frogs, toads and newts and provide green corridors for wildlife to travel through. As well as getting us from A to B the insect-filled grassy verges next to our roads and railways provide essential cover for mammals from rabbits to deer. Migrating birds in April and September also use our manmade routes to help them navigate, have you glimpsed anything through the window?
The final location on our list is the one you're most likely to ignore but even the most neglected areas of the urban jungle are teeming with life. Undisturbed grassy wasteland can harbour clouds of butterflies. That patch of scrubby ground by the supermarket or next to the industrial estate could be home to bank voles or common shrews whilst in the drier patches slow worms and common lizards soak up the sun.
Simon uses all his senses to meet the city's wild inhabitants.
Cut down your carbon emissions with our ideas for a holiday at home.
Find prehistoric life in everyday places with our guide.
Watch clips and find out more about urban habitats with Wildlife Finder.
Explore the impact of climate change on UK wildlife.
The Wildlife Trust Living Landscape project.
Take part in a wildlife survey.