As we slowly move back to spend time in the great outdoors, the #Experientialist catches up with the world-leading manufacturer of long-rage optics, SWAROVSKI OPTIK, to find out what their thoughts on how to #KeepYourMindTravelling were.
Well, it turns out that they had plenty to say, having teamed-up with award-winning wildlife photographer Andrew Scriven, who has the inside track for OutThere travellers with a keen eye for wildlife. Andrew recognises that the wonders of the world are still out there for all of us, just that we have to work a little harder to keep up with them. With nature adept at hiding in plain sight, Andrew gives us his top five tips on how to spot flora and fauna while out and about…
- Being Swarovski-smart also means being book-smart. “Take some time to research what sort of wildlife or sights exist in your local area at any given time of year. Plants and creatures alike come out of hibernation in spring, and colourful flowers will attract bees and other insects. On a bigger scale, frogs are on the move and migrant birds return, so it’s helpful to know what you might be able to see as you wander around. Change up your daily walks too, head towards natural water sources to see birds. A fun game to play out on your walk is ‘Nature Detective’ – look out for common prints and signs that wildlife leave behind – animal tracks, hair and feathers are good starting points.”
- Be patient and watch the trees for feathered friends. “When I arrive in a nature reserve or park, the first thing I observe are the sounds around me and what I can hear. After appreciating the silence and breeze through the trees, start to listen in to the chirping of birds. Our world might have stopped, but for the birds it is business as usual. Listen out for chirps and then stop to look into the trees. Although it may take some time to spot a tiny bird calling out in the spring growth, it’s worth it and is a great way to truly reconnect with nature. For the best chances of hearing birds in the trees, take a walk during the early morning or at sunset, when birds are most vocal.”
- Quietly does it. “It is sometimes hard to get close to wildlife as many creatures will burrow away in hedges or hide in trees after hearing the sound of a human approaching. So tread carefully. Make as little sound as you can and think about what you bring outside with you. The quieter you are, the more likely wildlife will be to present itself. It’s also important to respect wildlife and the landscapes they call home so be sure to keep a respectful distance when viewing nature, however tempting it may be to get a closer look.”
- Slow down and look down – nature is all around. “Even when you are very close to wildlife, it can still be hard to spot. You could miss something right under your nose as animals are generally very adept at camouflaging into their environment. My three-year-old daughter has brought my attention to so many interesting insects and small mammals on the ground, simply by looking down and paying attention.”
- Pack binoculars and a camera. “Those keen to get a closer look at nature, can prepare by packing a pair of binoculars. Using binoculars during a daily walk is a simple way to get closer to nature without intruding. It’s also worth thinking about your positioning when searching for wildlife through binoculars – use the lie of the land to your benefit and undergrowth to hide your approach. And of course, it’s a great idea to always carry a camera or smartphone in order to take photographs of your spots – you never know what you’re going to see and want to share with others.”
Image courtesy of Andrew Scriven