Mr Tracks and I are currently on holiday in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park. This is the UK’s largest National Park – over 1000m+ of arctic mountain landscape and largely untouched woodland, fragments of which are parts of the ancient Caledonian pine forests. As you can imagine, there are a wealth of birds and animals, both common and not so common in the area.
For the record I should clarify that we are not holidaying literally in the park – we have the most gorgeous lodge in which to stay. I think this might be the ultimate form of ‘glamping’, using what seems to be modern parlance.
Buried in a small area of our own little piece of woodland as we are, we have hardly needed to go anywhere to experience the joys of roe deer and red squirrels feeding next to the lodge, as well as various birds. And we have one of the most fabulous nature reserves on our door step, the RSPB’s Insh Marshes. Of course, there are plenty of other magnificent places to visit also – we were on the highest peak yesterday (courtesy of a funicular railway I should confess, not wishing to give any misleading impressions about my sporting prowess). We were lucky to have sunny weather and hence stunning views for what must have been many, many miles. Once Mr Tracks has processed all his photos, I’ll let you see what I mean.
As bird watchers, we are by no means experts, but we are not beginners either. There is such pleasure in being able to distinguish between, and therefore have half a chance of identifying, a chaffinch and a great tit; a curlew and an oystercatcher; a blackbird and a song thrush. That’s how you can get on to less common birds – once you know all the main ones and have ruled them out, what excitement if you find yourself looking at something you have not seen before!
But even if identifying birds is not your thing, take a moment to listen to the sounds that they make at dawn and dusk in particular. These are the most common times for them all to sing together. Here in the UK, we are blessed with the most amazing dawn ‘chorus’. And I always like the evening chatter too. This is music moving to the rhythm of nature and there can surely be nothing better for the soul.
What is it like where you are?