So, here they are:
5. Listening to Bird Song. This is one of the best things about going out into the countryside or being in the garden or park. I'm getting better at recognising different bird songs and calls and know quite a lot already, and like learning new ones particularly unusual or distinctive ones like the Cetti's Warbler, a Jay`s mating call, Chiff-chaff, etc. We have a CD by Geoff Sample which we listen to in the car which helps us learn them. Sometimes in the forest we hear rooks in their nests, sometimes they sound as if they are fighting something off and once we saw why - a huge raptor flew off. We also often hear Tawny Owls there as wells as lots of Wood Pigeons, Tits and Finches to name but a few. A few weeks ago my dad and I went camping at How Stean Gorge and for the first time I was woken up by the most spectacular dawn chorus at about 4 am! We just sat and listened to it though, it was amazing. One of the nicest songs is the blackbird's, simple but lovely to listen to.
3. Going for a nice walk in the Countryside. What I love about this is that it's very easy to do for people of all ages and abilities, and all you have to think about is what you can see and hear around you. It's great for just calming you down after a hard day at Work/School etcetera and the wildlife around you, if you're quiet, is great to watch. It's such an amazing thing to do without having to pay anything, of course you can go to places that charge you, but places like Woodland Trust & Wildlife Trust areas are incredible places to visit without paying penny. Scientists have proved that when you walk in a forest, or places with trees, it helps with breathing if you have asthma or a cough etc, and actually increases positive brainwaves, making you feel happier. The exercise itself is good for your whole body and helps your muscles, heart, lungs, all of you in fact. The colour green is also meant to be very calming and healing, and green is all around you in the country. Listening to the birds, a stream or the wind rustling trees and plants is a lovely way to relax. And it's all just around the corner in our wonderful countryside - most people don`t live too far away from a park, recreation area or canal if you live in urban areas too.
1. Bird Spotting/Birding. This is my absolute favourite thing to do, and of course can be done while also doing items 2 and 3 above! I have learnt so much since I started being interested in birds. I think it started for me seriously when we visited RSPB Titchwell Marsh in North Norfolk as I was amazed at the number of species of birds of all different types and sizes and colours that could be found in one relatively small area! We were lucky enough to spot some really special birds like the Marsh Harrier, Spotted Crake, Collared Pratincole, Bearded Tit, to name but a few and from then on I was hooked! One of my favourite places to go to is on the outskirts of York where we know two reserves that are great Barn-owl hunting areas and on one particular evening in the autumn last year there were four hunting together right in front of us which was just amazing! I've also been lucky enough to see the Montagu`s Harrier at Blacktoft Sands a couple of months ago, which is one of the UK`s rarest birds. I still haven't managed to see or hear a Bittern which is one of my ambitions. I feel such a sense of achievement when I've spotted something different or really special that I haven't see before - I don't think I`ll ever get tired of spotting Owls or Kingfishers because they are some of my favourite birds.
I haven't been able to travel abroad to see the birds that are native in other countries yet but hope to one day, and hope to see a Hoopoe or Bee-eater for example! But until then, I am quite happy spending my time in the countryside or in a reserve, looking at the wonderful birds the UK has to offer, researching facts about them and sharing them in my blog. This is my favourite thing as some of you will know and I find it incredibly calming to do. It's fun too and you can do it from your own home, while walking or driving to School or Work or even while Bug Spotting. You don't even have to look at the birds (although that is largely the point) you can just listen to their songs, although some don't sing... and the ones that do might not...and you might not be able to identify it... and when they see you they might stop singing, apart from all of that you can just listen for them. I love watching them fly and feed, this is why I love taking so many photos of them.