Welcome to my little blog. I love exploring the countryside where I live (in South Devon) and learning more about the wildlife I share this landscape with. From birds to bats, and frogs to ferns as long as it gets me out of doors I am interested. This is what I will be writing about here.
I am still learning and I don’t always know exactly what I have seen but that’s actually the exciting part. We have such amazing documentaries, books and conservation parks nowadays that if you want to see the animal close up in fine, slow-motion detail, you can. And trust me, I watch and read and visit as much as anyone. But in some ways, that skips a few critical steps. You see, if you go and visit an otter, there is no build up, no uncertainty, no element of chance. Yes, you learn a lot quicker, and you see the whole animal and hopefully some behaviors and signs too. But you miss out on the hours of fun that can be had staring at distant buoys, floating wood and other debris in the vague hope that it turns out to be an otter. You miss the coincidences of going looking for one thing and coming across another. You miss the feeling of incredible satisfaction, maybe even elation, that you were the incredibly lucky person to be in the right place at the right time to see the elusive animal you were after. And ok, the soggy little brown thing sloping off into the distance that you glimpsed for just a few seconds could well be a bedraggled house cat (link goes to external satirical source) but it is in the looking, not the seeing that you reap the rewards.
I won’t be endlessly writing about the status of our wildlife, unless it adds to the story in some way, but we have to admit that many of out native species are not as abundant or as widespread as they once were, nor as they might need to be to respond to future change. If we only interact with our wildlife through screens or enclosure fences then we risk missing out on a lot and maybe we wouldn’t even notice if they were gone.
So that’s why I am going out in search of our wildlife. To say a little ‘hello’ if they will let me. And if not? Well I got some fresh air and a nice walk anyway. That’s also kind of why I am writing this blog. I take a lot of inspiration from natural history writers and it was from them I unlearned my compulsion to see nature as an internal tick list. So you didn’t see something rare today…so what? Did you value what you did see? Did it add to your understanding or appreciation of the world? If it did, then your day was surely a success.