It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you are an outdoors type, who seeks solace and tonic in nature, at a certain point in your life you become a birder. It happens by stealth. One day in early spring – possibly a spring when a global pandemic sees you confined to your own garden – you start noticing the tiny balls of fluff and feather bombing around your garden hunting down caterpillars.
Binoculars are bought, books acquired, and when the pandemic eases you find yourself traveling out into the world in search of more birds, different birds, bigger birds!
But then, equally as important as the birds themselves, you fall in love with the landscape into which you travel to see those birds; and before you know it you have a new happy place – the wetland habitat.
No matter how overcrowded my mind – because yes, dear reader, the newly fledged birder of which I speak is me – or how frazzled my nerve ends, when I step into a hide on a wetland reserve I feel my foot ease of the accelerator, my shoulders drop, and a calm descend. The window of a hide provides a frame to the landscape beyond; and the imperative quiet allows the swish of the reeds, the dabble of a widgeon, the haunting call of a curlew and the click of a shutter to provide a meditative soundtrack.
We all find our own places of worship, and the UK’s wetlands have become one of mine.