Most of the time as a student or a training professional, you often prioritise your time working on the theoretical stuff to the work you actually want to do in the field. Whether it is continuous modes of study, research and so on. Sometimes you can be so overwhelmed by how much behind-the-scenes work has to be done, that there is little to no room to actually do what you’re training for. This was pretty much the case for me throughout my time at university while studying for my bachelor’s, apart from the time where I was able to do my practical fieldwork and research overseas in South Africa. While there have been many setbacks with the long journey of the Coronavirus pandemic, I dug through them and managed to acknowledge a potential benefit. This benefit has been to actually be given the opportunity to slow down a little. Don’t get me wrong there were always things to do, but because of national and international restrictions changing the way we lived, I was able to focus on what really mattered to me: connecting to nature!
Whenever possible, I try my best to do things which aren’t too familiar to what I normally do. I did just that with my Swarovski Optiks. I had had enough of reminiscing of past adventures. I figured that if travel restrictions were here to stay for the foreseeable future, then I ought to cherish and acknowledge everything that we have surrounding our doorsteps and neighbouring communities. I ended up taking my optiks and exploring the hidden gems at Coombe Hill Nature Reserve, a fairly local nature reserve here in Gloucestershire, UK to us which is run by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT). It was the last week in May, the weather was gorgeous and I just decided to go on a little micro-adventure. Now the term micro-adventure is fairly new to me and was brought to my attention by Alastair Humphreys; who has shown that adventures can be found everywhere. I have truly taken away a new appreciation and value to how I see things. So, I found myself at Coombe Hill and the paths were absolutely wrecked. All of the continuous showers of rain had made the paths extremely muddy. These paths were also regularly used by horse riders too which disturbed the earth further. If you’re not familiar with the reserve I am referring to, Coombe Hill Nature Reserve or Coombe Hill Canal and Meadows, according to the GWT is a place of vistas and endless skies, of floods and farming, an ancient landscape fringing the River Severn. It is the ideal place to revel in the peaceful serenity of the countryside, to enjoy bird watching, or to simply enjoy the different species of wildlife or the scenery that encapsulates the reserve. After being there that day, I could totally agree with how the Trust described this incredible place.
After finally getting past the muddy obstacle, I finally made it to where I wanted to be: The Grundon Hide. It is important to mention that I’m no seasoned birder like many of the professional and hugely passionate birders that you will see at places like this, but I certainly consider seeing a Red-necked Phalarope, Lapwings, Avocets, Reed warblers, and Wood Sandpipers a good day. These were birds which are classified in the RSPB’s (Birds of Conservation Concern 4’s) Red and Amber List; only further illustrating their sighting as a rarity in our rapidly changing world. Each of these birds were firsts for me, and the image quality through my optiks made the entire experience worth while.
According to the Trust, Coombe Hill Nature Reserve is a very special site for wetland birds, especially waders and migrating waterfowl. If you keep your eyes peeled then you may even see birds of prey i.e., Hen Harriers, Peregrine Falcons and Goshawks lurking around and probably surveying the area for chicks and other prey. Regardless of where I have been with these optiks from Swarovski, they have been a true joy to accompany my micro-adventures. From planned trips to several nature reserves, to just taking a few steps away from home and finding a local woodland area. Whatever the occasion, there were always something to see, from the tiniest critter on the flowerbed, song birds high up in the trees canopy to the Cow Parsely that had blanketed my Badger friends at their setts. My Swaroski’s have been a true delight and I look forward to experiencing more with them.
A special thanks to Swarovski Optik for helping me #seetheunseen and enjoy each of #mywildlife and nature experiences as one of their Nature Explorer’s. I am looking forward to journeying some more with my trusted companions on each of my adventures far and wide. If you’d like to journey with these optiks just like me, then click this special affiliate link that both benefits you and me. Additionally, you can receive 10% off using my special code: tolga10 at the checkout of your order with any of their sport optiks.
Please let me know what optiks you decide to journey with and what adventures you end up having. Whether it is a micro-adventure or one that is bigger than Bilbo Baggin’s adventure in The Hobbit film franchise – I’d love to know