In the current issue of Nature’s Home (page 49), our regular columnist Simon Barnes urges us to make some ‘nature resolutions’ for 2018, to get out there and see the wildlife, or natural spectacles, that we’ve always wanted to see.
Simon gives us advice on seeing three of the UK’s most-wanted birds (gannet, avocet and puffin), pointing out that it’s easy enough if you’re prepared to travel. But is there something else on your wish list?
Life is full of new surprises; new sights and experiences; even when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s plenty left to go out and grab.
So now’s a good time to look at your nature wish-list, and make 2018 the year to make one or two more wishes come true.
I’m lucky enough to have stumbled upon some amazing birds on my travels: scarlet ibis flying above me in the mangroves of Trinidad, massive royal albatross wheeling in from the ocean to feed their fluffy, boulder-shaped chicks on New Zealand’s cliffs; a satin bowerbird earnestly and proudly showing off the blue plastic treasures he’d decorated his bower with, deep in the Australian bush. They’re all seared into my memory.
But perhaps I should also be setting my sights on some of the more local spectacles, which are no less inspiring. I’ve still never seen a chough, or a wild boar, for example. Or the northern lights.
Here on Nature’s Home, we spend a good deal of time looking at computer screens, so we all have a wildlife dream - something we’re keen to make the effort to go and see. Here are some:
ANNA S, STARLING MURMURATION
“Somehow, I’ve still never seen a starling murmuration. I’ve got a mini one in my garden; some 10 or 15 starlings regularly form a feeding frenzy on the mealworms, and shout loudly from their roost in a huge horse-chestnut tree near my house. But I’ve never seen those swirling millions in the dusk sky, above the marshes. Emma P saw one a couple of weeks ago and said the noise was incredible. My nearest murmuration is over an hours’ drive away, but I hope to bundle the kids into the car and make the trip before the year’s out.”
EMMA P, NIGHTJAR
“Having covered heathlands and the mysterious nightjar in Nature’s Home last year, I’m determined now to see a nightjar in the flesh. There’s a nightjar hotspot near my family home in the New Forest, so I’m embarrassed that I haven’t seen one yet! I’m hoping regular trips home over the summer will give me the chance. Their strange little faces, curious habits and distinctive churring call fascinate me, and hunting for them is the perfect excuse to spend a few summer evenings out on the heath.”
ALUN H, LOCAL HARE
“When we first moved into our home, my wife and I took the dogs for a walk and spotted our first hare. We spotted its two ears protruding from a farm meadow of long grass and stopped to watch. We all - including the two dogs - remained motionless, watching for several minutes. Then, without warning, he leapt up and shot away across the field, giving us a clear view. We assumed we’d keep seeing hares in the area, but that was our lot - that was nearly 20 years ago and we’ve never seen another one in our area. Top of my wish-list for 2018 is to spot another hare on my local patch.”
So the year is underway - what’s on your 2018 wildlife wish list? Log in to comment below, or email us at Nature’s Home and share your dreams - and success stories!
I visited back in August. There I was, hoping that I might see a chough - and there they were, in the air and showing off every five minutes! A hobby was a nice bonus, too.
I would love to get over to South Stack!
I was in Cornwall a few years ago and there had been lots of chough sightings; indeed I arrived to a carpark of excited people wielding binoculars - but it seems I was too late... There were no further sightings that day. :-(
I want to finally get to see the white-tailed eagle which keeps appearing in my part of the world, only to completely elude me!
Anna, I can recommend a visit to South Stack. I saw my first choughs there last year and it was fantastic.