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Moon phases

Observing Nature

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Observing Nature

Post by assassin on Wed May 02, 2018 3:45 am

Many years ago I read a book called Walks of the Snickleways of York and we were so interested in the book that my other half bought it as we regularly visited York and the book opened up a whole new world.

Snickleways were a term originating from the author and they described many of the passages, ginnels, jitties, and other rights of way that a madding crowd would simply walk past and not even realise they were there; yet, get into one of them and you could be 10 yards away from a very busy street on a busy day at its peak time and you were in a different world, there was none of the hum drum of the tourists walking the street, and if you sat and looked around which included up these often forgotten snickleways they would tell a historical story if only you looked. They were quiet, they were often teeming with wildlife and you could actually sit and watch the birds and listen to their calls, you would see anything from frogs to spiders and anything else such as bees going about their daily business of survival without even bothering about us, and this was nature at its finest.

What was interesting was the origins of many of these snickleways, many went back decades but many went back centuries and millenia as they were the old routes across the city from times past and they had all been maintained as rights of way for anyone wanting to travel them as many of them went somewhere, while some of them led to a dead end which was usually a courtyard or other open space, and in many cases the snickleway hadn't changed in centuries and they had the original buildings either side of them and the original street cobbles on the ground, but stop and look and you could see the old windows and doors which had been bricked up as property developments ensued over the years.

If people bother to switch off from the distractions of daily life they too can see another world, if only people bothered to look, but in many cases people are too wrapped up in daily life and often themselves and their phones to even bother to look around them, but stop and look around you, and observe and you can watch nature in all its glory, it hasn't gone away, people just don't see it anymore.
Simply sitting in your garden and observing ensures you see everything from birds to butterflies, bees to moths, and that is just the flying creatures, if you have a tree then simply hanging a bird feeder on it will ensure you get a greater variety of species and a lot more of them, if you add a water source such as something as simple as a bowl of water then you will see everything from birds to wasps trying to drink from it if you are observant, and of course things change from day to night. At night you will see less and you will hear more, hedgehogs are more common than people think in the right environment and as they often follow the same routes you may only see a little track across your lawn during the day, but sit out at night and you will see the hedgehogs crossing your lawn on their nightly food forage, similarly, you will often see frogs or toads. If you have hedges then you will often hear hedgehogs and toads, but you will also learn to differentiate between them as they travel the hedge bottom in search of food, and if you carry a small torch you can often flick it on and catch sight of them.

If you have a hedge you will get lots of birds nesting in them, sparrows are allegedly in decline but we have about 40 nesting in one hedge alone, in the same hedge we have virtually all the tits, blue tits, grey tits, long tailed tits, great tits, and marsh tits; in years past we have had coal tits but they are apparently very rare, we have robins and one is very brave or semi tame and if my other half calls him he comes to her, and of course we have blackbirds and a lone thrush. This is in addition to the nut hatches and the mad woodpecker who come in for the bird feeders and the two ring necked doves who come for the remnants of the parrots seed which gets thrown onto the lawn and they relish. Turn from day to night and it changes, we have owls and they are one of the best security alarms going, they hunt at night and if you learn their calls you know something is about and where it is, then of course there is my tame owl which I rescued and she regularly lands on the table at the side of us if we sit out at night, this is nature at its finest.

Then of course there are the seasonal creatures such as foxes and badgers, we regularly see these as well as occasional glimpses of some of the deer which stray from the herd at night in small groups to feed, and occassionally we get a stag in all his glory looking for a mate.

Walking fields and hedgerows is very rewarding as these change weekly, they too have all manner of flora and fauna which change weekly and of course there is the wildlife as we get a lot of mayflies and dragonflies at the right time of year and they look resplendent in their bright colours, and considering they only live for a few days we have a lot of them. Many birds eat the fruits of the hedging while they are available in readiness for the impending winter as they build up their body fat during these times of abundance and if you fit for just a few minutes you will see nature in all its glory by a simple hedgerow, this is in addition to the crickets which we have in abundance also.

Nature watching is an excellent stress reliever and if you take a cup of tea or coffee and sit in your garden and observe what is going on around you then you can see nature in all its glory.

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