Words and pictures by Megan Ellis
Bird watching was something I never really thought I would be interested in. Hours sitting in one place watching and waiting for something to fly by (and often without much luck) didn’t seem very appealing. However, after many days visiting the hides and surrounding myself in nature, I began to really enjoy every moment. The Forrest Farm hides in Radyr. Cardiff, have been around for many years along with a string of familiar faces who visit the hides and the birds multiple times a week. I sat in the hide with various passers by each day and one thing was clear, these people really had a passion for wildlife and their community.
Each day I took pictures of the birds that came by, attempting to match them up with pictures I found online. Learning new names and types of birds meant that when the usual “anything exciting today?” question came along I could join in with the conversation listing what had fluttered by that morning.
There was a genuine joy that flickered over faces at the mention of a wagtail or the elusive kingfisher. I was learning a new language, personifying these birds and discussing their individual character traits with the other birdwatchers like they were old friends.
Sitting in the hide was quiet the majority of the time, a lot of the hours where spent with my own thoughts but when something did come along it was made even more special. There was a kingfisher that often flew in and around the river Taff and was a local celebrity among the birdwatchers. Had you missed the flash of blue feathers swooping onto a nearby perch, you could tell it had made an appearance by the squeals of excitement and hush whispers that filled the hide. I learnt to be patient even when it seemed like nothing would happen because everything could change in a matter of seconds. You just never know what could be next to come flying round the corner.
“The thing I enjoy most about birding is just being outside, in nature. The birds are fascinating and beautiful, of course, and they amplify the experience. I guess I’m a ‘nature- watcher’ with a particular interest in birds.”
Through the conversations I had, I was told that from time to time we all need to take the opportunity to escape from our day to day lives. The busy nine to fives, the endless house work, the general busyness of life. We just need to take moments to stand still and disappear from the urban jungle of the city. Reconnect with nature and its wildlife by finding joy in the little things. Birdwatching is a hobby and a passion which demonstrates the togetherness of people and wildlife, purely to appreciate and observe nature. Take some time to look closely and see what you can find. Anyone can do it with a little patience and devotion.