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A Nature Blog written by Colin Wilson

It’s about 8.30am on a March morning, with a chill in the air. I’m leaning on a tree in the woods about six feet from the path & looking across it to see if I can find the Ring Necked Parakeets that are reputedly around here.

Suddenly I’m aware of a Roe Deer Buck to my right, ambling along the path towards me.

He hasn’t noticed me, as I’m in a downwind, as he passes I slowly raise my camera but he’s so close my camera can’t focus on him immediately. As he gets further away he hears the click of my camera, he stops and turns his head to me so I click again and manage to get a great shot. He then slowly continues down the path, leaving me with an adrenaline rush from that unexpected close encounter. How wonderful nature is.

I am aware that not everyone will want to hide in bushes to have a chance surprise like this, but there are many other ways we can experience nature, as lockdown has taught many more people that just getting out into the fresh air is stimulating and good for both body and mind. Fortunately the Rossendale Valley is a fantastic area with open fields, woods, streams, rivers, lodges & reservoirs, as well as the wild moors.

You may be content to simply sit & admire the views, listen to the waterways, take in the structure of the trees, the colours of the plants or just take in the peaceful all round atmosphere. Or you may decide you want to delve a little deeper, to look out for birds, mammals or insects.

All nature is wonderful and if you allow it in it is very interesting and therapeutic. I certainly always feel calmer & happier after my walks. There is so much to see in the valley. Some days I stroll along the River Irwell where you can encounter Kingfishers, Mallard Ducks, Goosanders, Grey Wagtails, Dippers, Herons & maybe even Sand Martins.

Bluetit

photography by Colin Wilson

Kestrel

photography by Colin Wilson

Kingfisher

photography by Colin Wilson

Owl

photography by Colin Wilson

Sandmartin

photography by Colin Wilson

Woodpecker

photography by Colin Wilson

On your travels you may also see Roe Deer, Red Deer, or little owls & maybe even the odd fox. You can be totally oblivious to what is around if you don’t slow down & look for things.

I took a walk in my local park recently and spotted a hole in the side of a tree next to the path. Looking closer I saw a nuthatch bobbing its head out with rubbish in its beak, it then dropped the rubbish out of the tree. It was “spring cleaning” last year’s nesting debris out of its nest and preparing it for a new season of laying.

Two days later I saw it again, this time building mud up around the entrance hole to reduce its size, which restricts access for larger predators. All this is going on with people walking passed, who are completely unaware of its existence. The lesson here is always keep your eyes open and not only looking straight in front of you, taking care of course.

The birds and animals mentioned are not an exhaustive list of what wonders of nature you can spot in this valley of ours. If I have encouraged you to get out there, please remember to be respectful of your surroundings and leave with as little disturbance as possible. Take care not to frighten or endanger the wildlife. Our first consideration must be their welfare. If you discover a breeding area or nest, keep a good distance away. Legally it is an offence to disturb breeding birds & animals.

You will see more if you take your time, perhaps sit a while & stay quiet, nature will come to you. Birds will return & continue to forage or to court their prospective partner. So finally what can I say?, except to get out there, enjoy the atmosphere & allow yourself to relax, unwind & appreciate what a wonderful area this is.

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