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Bird Watching by Paul Bond

My hobby and a method of relaxation is just to get out , walk and see nature, try a little bit of birdwatching as well, brings a little joy and excitement and relaxes my mind.

So here are some of my own hints and tips , which may help you on your way to getting out and just enjoying yourself , maybe help with the pressures of life and switch off some of the other stuff in life.

Where to start , the easy things first .. oh and always remember Mother Nature doesn't draw straight lines we are all different and have different needs so go with what suits you.

Check the weather ,easy to do , wear the clothes to suit the weather and where you may be going , be comfortable , good walking shoes or trainers you can walk in ,even if it's a mile or 5 or 10 , long trousers ? Tuck them into your socks and stop the ticks .

I always have a small rucksack with water and a snack bar or some fruit ,stay hydrated , and make sure there's a good Tea shop nearby with a large selection of Cakes , always good to have a small reward after a day out

Equipment , mostly your eyes and ears , listening to nature is so enjoyable , listening puts you in contact with your surroundings and can help relax you.

With birding you will mostly hear something before you see it , challenge yourself to learn a bird song or call one or two it helps , there are some good Apps you can use on your phone to help .

Binoculars, Minocular, Telescope ? There is going to be so much info on these it's mind boggling , keep it simple, stay within your means.I would recommend a visit to an RSPB website. The basics though are Binoculars ,8x32 or10x42, water proof , would be a good start and give you a good field of vision.

Some RSPB sites you may visit on your travels will hire them ,which is very handy , some sites offer a try out with a binocular advisor on hand with advice to suit your needs, again very handy .

Just one last thing on binoculars , got a bird in sight ? don't take your eyes off it, bring the binoculars to your eyes ,sounds simple but sometimes it's so easy to look down at your binoculars and then bring them up , but you have now lost sight of the bird or other wildlife you meet on the way.

You may want to take a bird book , which will help with identification. They will give you the right information to help you whilst you are out enjoying nature and unwinding .

They will give you quick and easy information on what you can see and where and what time of year or season you will see it .

Getting out with nature is so important to connect your mind, body and soul , so where do you go ? Start with the easy and nearest, your garden , local parks once you're out enjoying them you will be amazed at what's actually around you. Remember to listen to bird songs or calls, they can help relax you and your mind and help you spot them .

Want to try further a field , but not sure where ? Again visit an RSPB website. These sites are all around us , closer than you think and can bring so much peace of mind and a relaxing day out .

These sites vary , some have facilities and tea shops and some don't charge for parking, some ask for a donation so check them first and plan your journey .

Once you're on site check for a walking guide and plan the distance you may want to do . All sites will have a board with what's been seen that day or the day before so check the board and have a check in your bird book it helps with identification when you get out . Don't be afraid to ask what's about or ask what you might see , most of these volunteers are full of information and help and you will see the joy in people when they talk about something they love doing.

So whether you want woodland or moorland or something by the sea they all in a way can bring you closer to nature and help you and your mind, they are so peaceful.

Once you have visited somewhere please leave only your foot print and only take away the fantastic views and memories that can take you back and keep you in a happy place in your mind

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