Welcome to our 2015 Advent Calendar series (#AFONAdvent)! For each day in the lead-up to Christmas, we have a post from an A Focus On Nature member on this year’s Advent theme: “The Gift of Giving”. We hope that you enjoy the series and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Nature is amazing, whether it’s the diverse variety of birds, beautiful butterflies or weird and wonderful fungi. Nature gives so much to me. Every weekend nature lets me watch its happenings. We should feel privileged to be able to watch such amazing animals, in their natural habitat, leading their own individual lives. Ever since I can remember I have been watching wildlife.
Of the many things it has given me it is confidence. When I visit nature reserves or anywhere to watch wildlife I normally talk to fellow nature enthusiasts. This is also something that it gives me. It can be very interesting talking to people that are interested in the same thing as me, whether it’s hearing about their wildlife experiences or tips about photography.
As I am t-permit (training permit) bird ringer I get to appreciate birds up-close. This is amazing because you can fully appreciate their beautiful plumage. This also gives me the chance to age and see if the bird is female or male, which in result contributes towards the BTO’s data.
As a wildlife photographer I can spend hours just sitting and waiting for the wildlife to come to me. But when it does decide to pay a visit it is really exciting! For example the Kingfisher. A magnificent bird (one of my favourites in fact) with extremely colourful plumage and a high pitch call. They are very interesting to watch and photograph. Perched, head bobbing and ready to dive. Splash! The Kingfisher, head-first into the water, brings up a struggling, unfortunate fish (normally a stickleback) and then swallows it whole. I have watched this many of times at my local nature reserve in Warnham. Here are some of the photos I have taken:
One of my favourite things that nature gives to me is winter. Although it is freezing cold the birds that you see are amazing, that’s why it is my favourite time of the year. I visit RSPB Pulborough Brooks and there are masses of birds, from wading Widgeon to joyful Robins to fabulous Fieldfare to sneaky Snipe. Birds flock into the feeders and gardens to fill them self-up for the cold days and nights. One of my highlights was about 2 years ago when in my small, urban-ish, garden I had a Goldcrest visit which was pretty exciting. Normally I just get Blue tits and Great Tits!
So that’s what nature gives to me. But personally I don’t think we give enough back to nature. So that’s why my goal has been to get younger people into wildlife so the next generation will do much better than the last in conserving what we share our planet with.
For a start we should start educating children about wildlife in schools (primary and secondary). This would, in return, give younger people a better idea of how to look after the planet we live on and the animals we share it with. However, I know that the curriculum is already packed as it is but isn’t nature as important as maths or English?