The world is teeming with life, all you have to do is know where to look. Here’s some advice on how to spot animals while you’re in the great outdoors.
- Birds are the most conspicuous inhabitants of the bush, making their presence known by calls, aerial acrobatics and rowdy congregations.
- Patience, keen eyesight and good hearing are prerequisites for the budding birdwatcher.
- A good pair of binoculars is a great aid to identification.
- A good field guide lets you put a name to what may seem like a flurry of feathers. The best guides have information about bird behaviour and habitats.
- You’re likely to come across a variety of birds during a day’s hike. But you may also want to find a nesting site or tree in flower, take a seat and observe quietly.
Keep your eyes open for other animals
- Spotting native mammals often requires a good deal of patience and luck.
- While you may happen on a deer along the track, most four-footed creatures are shy and/or nocturnal.
- Campers may more readily encounter foragers, which often visit campsites in the evening in search of tasty morsels.
- Although a knowledge of animal tracks and scats (droppings) will let you know what animals are around, you’re most likely to see the animals themselves if you spend time in likely haunts.
- Wear colours that blend into your surroundings and be prepared to stay still and quiet for some time. Some animals will approach you if they don’t consider you a threat.
- Most animals shelter during the heat of the day, but reptiles can be seen rustling through the leaf litter or sunning themselves on rocks.
- You may see creatures climbing trees, alarmed by your approach.
- Never feed wild animals. Not only does it encourage scavenging behaviour, but the food we eat can be harmful to them.
- Food in the campsite in North America will attract bears so be extra careful.
- Snakes in this country are mostly harmless, especially if you keep your distance.
Catching a glimpse of something can be the highlight of a trip. If you’re safe, cautious and quiet, who knows what you’ll see next.