Beauty is in the eye of the naturalist

A true naturalist is not just someone who admires the natural world, but also someone who takes time out of their schedule or goes to lengths to study the environment-whether it be animal behaviour or ecosystems; therefore, as a naturalist, one of the qualities that you need to have is…a good eye-not to say that you need to have good eyesight (I myself wear glasses), but you need to be always looking around you and paying attention to all the sounds of nature (note: ignore this if your crossing a road!).
As people who are enthusiastic about the natural world, I think we often take for granted how much we notice that other people don’t, we will be drawn to disturbances in our environment that other people will simply walk by without a glance, we will recognise not only that there is bird song in the air-but also where it is coming from, what species is doing it, and why they are doing that particular birdsong (generally).
I guess what I mean to say is; you’d be surprised at how much wildlife can hide in plain sight, and how much of that wildlife can be found if you look hard enough and in the right places (that’s the trick; once you know where to look, it’s easy – I mean, who would’ve guessed that a three foot long grass snake was nesting in amongst the depths of their compost heap, happily giving company to the resident potato peels and eggshells!).
I hope this article has inspired anyone reading it to get out there and simply be adventurous – look in areas you’ve never looked before e.g. Your compost heap, although try to be careful about what you move when you dig around, as there might actually be a nest in there, as many animals like to nest in compost heaps- slow worms, insects of many kinds; due to their apparent warmth and safety. Try to really look with all your senses: smell the air, listen to the birdsong, look under rocks and stones, feel the ground and the soil, and…well…okay, I confess I’ve got nothing for taste-but any suggestions would be nice!. Happy hunting.

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