Durham Wildlife Trust Members Paul & Christiana take us through their experiences with wildlife and share some of the images they have captured.
My husband and I are very fortunate in that we share the same passion for nature, and frequently walk by the river wear. The wildlife we are lucky to see constantly thrills us. You need to be patient though!
Sometimes we see otters three days in a row, then a couple of months or so pass by before we are graced with their presence again. You may see a lone dog otter almost silently swimming up the river at dusk, or be luckier still and watch a family group for ten minutes or more in the light of day. At times they see us and curiously stare at us, as we stare back. The pups may play, rolling around in the water, an enchanting sight. They can be gone as quickly as they appear though!
We stroll through fields and sometimes encounter foxes. We watch the cubs playing and then mum arrives, barks at them and us, and they dash off back to their den.
A vixen may be hunting in the field, and later we see her returning with a rabbit for her family.
I grew up on a Northumberland hill farm, but see more wildlife close to a city than I ever did living in the rural countryside. I had never seen a badger, I will never forget the excitement I felt as I watched my first badger family. I hardly dared breathe in case I disturbed them, transfixed as they foraged around in the undergrowth looking for worms.
When we sit on our favourite bench in the evenings, a barn owl may fly by, often with an unlucky vole in its talons, on its way back to its young. We hear tawny owls and the occasional bark of a roe deer, and bats swoop back and forth. Back in the light of day, on the same bench, a pair of kingfishers often fly up river, or we watch as a goosander passes by with her large brood hot on her heels.
When I find myself under stress, I go for a walk as soon as I am able. Spending time in nature really lifts my mood, and I often find my anxieties slipping away. Whatever the time of year there is something to see. Spring is my favourite season, waiting for the first wood anemone to open, checking the ponds for frogspawn. Watching out for the first bee or butterfly, and keeping an eye to the sky for an early swallow. In autumn when the leaves start to fall and the woods open up with light again, you are much more likely to spot a deer.
Wildlife watching is always unpredictable. You never know what you may see, but that’s what makes it more fun!
Christiana & Paul
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