Nature Trails and Wildlife Sightings

21 February 2021

I don't think I've ever been so pleased to see the start of lighter mornings and evenings and pockets of spring starting to show up wherever I go. It's been a very cold winter and I've found it more difficult than most winters as a lot of the time I have been working outdoors and no matter how many layers of thermals I wear, my body doesn't seem to cope well in the cold. However, I've been enjoying every moment of working outdoors in nature, but it's been the nicest feeling of all to have moments where the sun shines through the trees and I feel the warmth from the sun on my face. Its that time of year again, where I can feel spring on its way. 

Although I have a brilliant opportunity to be able to get out to different nature reserves for my traineeship during the week, in my spare time I've been exploring nature nearby and enjoying moments of quiet with my camera in hand and capturing photos of wildlife surrounding me. I love a good nature walk, I love walking along paths that lead off into the woodlands where I'm able to stop and listen to the birds singing up in the trees. The other week I was walking through a woodland part of a nature reserve and could hear the long-tailed tits up in the trees, I looked up and there they were, about five or so of them switching from branch to branch and pecking at the catkins on the silver birch trees. I could hear blue tits and great tits, not to mention a robin too who was singing loudly in a tree next to me. I looked across to a large oak tree right in front of me and caught a glimpse of a tree creeper, scaling the length of the tree. 

I scattered some sunflower hearts onto a bird table and first to appear was a robin, who hopped down from the tree beside me and swooped towards the table, grabbing some seeds in its beak and flying back to a branch. I could see on a hazel branch, surrounded by long, golden catkins was a great tit who was eyeing up the seeds. He quickly swooped down to the table and within a blink of an eye he was back in the tree with a beakfull of seeds. Hiding amongst the bramble was a dunnock, a secretive bird who knew exactly when best to get a snack. Another trail lead through to a pond dipping area and a boardwalk towards the lake. Sneaking around the reedbeds was a coot, which during spring time will create a very messy looking nest on water. Out towards the lake I could hear Canada geese and some greylag geese across the far end of the lake. I was pleased to have spotted a great crested grebe, with its piercing red eyes and orange ruff around its neck.

I've mentioned plenty of times that you never have to travel far to explore nature, it could quite simply be in your own back garden, out at your local park, at a nearby nature reserve or woodland. Even when I'm walking to the village shops, I'll always keep an eye out for all kinds of nature. Whether that be snowdrops lining the church grounds, a song thrush and redwing on the ground looking for insects or looking at the buds on trees to try and identify them. You never have to look far for nature. 

Photos taken at Hilton Gravel Pits Nature Reserve 

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