I found myself sat in a bird hide at 8.30am on a Sunday morning. It had rained heavily over-night and the promise of a rainy day had given way to a sunshine filled morning.
Alone in the hide I peered out of the windows and just watched and listened. There was no background noise just the sound of nature going about its business. I had no distractions either and could indulge myself in being immersed in nature.
In the foreground the meadows hummed with activity. Butterflies were busy soaking up the rays of the sun; meadow browns and gatekeepers fluttering and zig-zagging, all with an apparent sense of purpose and a destination in mind. Swallows were limbering up for some aerial acrobatics. I was spell-bound seeing them flying so low and at such high speed. It felt like I had a unique window on their world during the morning play time period. The endless energy of swallows always amazes me.
Gradually the horizon of my gaze broadened, focusing in on the distance. I could make out the squawk of a crow, the regular disturber of the peace in the natural world. Then I picked up the Little egrets and the pure white of their feathers as they sneaked through the marshland. And then there was the distinctive and persistent sound of a lapwing. With my binoculars I could just make it out as it scrambled along the ground.
All this time the wood of the bird hide began to creak with the warmth of the day starting to intensify. I noticed the bee highway in front of the hide with the buzz of passing bees heading for home. That lovely sound of the grasses, of varying heights, blowing gently in the breeze, became part of my soundscape.
This bird hide is the perfect place to just watch the natural world go by. You don’t feel rushed. There is no sense of urgency. And you really do feel at one with the wildlife that you’re watching and listening too.
Situated on the fringes of Cwm Ivy on Gower in south Wales this little hide, installed by the National Trust this year, helped me to connect with this special place.
It was just a brief affair before the kids arrived but my time alone engrained on me a sense of calm and tranquillity. Nature has the ability to refresh and recharge.