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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Smell, hear & see nature...


What glorious weather we had today! I felt like a different person as I strolled out without a hat, gloves, or even coat. I initially went for a wander around Moseley with Scamp, but the lure of the park was too great, and we soon found ourselves in Canon Hill Park, where Canada Geese are making themselves as at home as the Mallards.

We made our way along the lovely Rea Valley walk (I looked out eagerly for Kingfisher and Grey Heron, but sadly to no avail) then into Highbury Park, the sunlight warming my skin and putting a spring in my step. As soon as I stepped into the wooded section of the park, I could smell rising sap in the air: a wonderful aroma.

I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply, and that was when I really noticed the sound. All around me were different birds, singing with all their might to create a heart-soaring orchestra. What a fabulous time spring is! I would recommend the experience to everyone. Go outside, close your eyes, and simply listen. You can try to identify the different birds, of course, but if you don’t know, don’t worry – the aim of this game is to simply enjoy, relax, and appreciate the joy of nature. It just goes to show that you don’t need to see wildlife in order to appreciate it.

The glorious weather did mean I got to see two ‘firsts’ when I did finally open my eyes again! I knew early bees were almost certainly out and about already, but I hadn’t seen any myself. But in the sunshine, glinting amber, I could see handfuls of bees drifting along. A few minutes later I spotted something fluttering along in the gentle breeze. At first glance I thought it was a dead leaf…but no, it was my first butterfly of the year! I think it was a Small Tortoiseshell, but I wouldn’t stake my life on it as I didn’t get a good look at it, sadly.

A contented smile on our faces (Scamp’s caused by a paddle in the stream, during which she ducked her head under water repeatedly, looking for round stones to pick up), we turned homeward and… What was that? Little flakes of bark were drifting down from a dead tree. I looked up, squinting into the light, making my eyes water. There! It was a Nuthatch. Seconds later, I realised there were actually two of them, just a little distance apart.

I haven’t seen much of the park Nuthatches this winter, apart from the very occasional and brief glimpse. Barely time for me to think :”Oh! Nuthatch!” before it is gone again. So this was a welcome sight, and I stayed for some time watching the pair. They are on a dead tree where last year a pair nested. I wonder if they will use that hole this year?

I got some pictures, but due to some technical hitches I won’t be able to share them until tomorrow (hopefully). I won’t bore you with talk of the tragic death of my old laptop, not when there is so much nature to appreciate…


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