Spending time in nature can be such a great way to de-stress and can work wonders for your mental health. The natural world is all around us, but how do we make the most of it? Stephen Moss and Brett Westwood, authors of Wonderland, give us their top tips for admiring and enjoying wildlife.
1. Look out of your window – in a city or the countryside, it’s likely there’ll be birds flying by or overhead. Binoculars are useful but if not, try taking a photo on your smartphone and use that to identify the species.
2. If you have a garden, put out bird feeders – ideally with high-energy foods such as sunflower hearts.
3. If you have a medium-sized or large garden, you may have birds nesting. Sit quietly and watch as they come and go with food items for the young (but make sure you don’t get too close and disturb them).
Dawn till dusk
4. If you take a daily walk or bike ride, try getting up early when there are fewer people about – most wildlife is more active in the couple of hours after daybreak.
5. If you are a late riser, take your exercise an hour or so before dusk – again, a time of peak activity.
6. Listen to birdsong which peaks at dawn and dusk. Try to learn a song a day – ideally by tracking down the bird that is singing to check its identity.
7. In the middle of the day, in your garden or exercise place, look out for insects such as butterflies and bumblebees, especially on a warm, sunny day.
8. Use a field guide or online resource to learn how to identify different creatures. Take photographs or videos of whatever you see to identify them later.
9. Don’t forget plants: springtime is the perfect season to get to know common wildflowers in your local area.
10. Keep a nature diary – write down whatever interests you: where you saw the creature, what it was doing and most important of all, how you felt!