Field Notes: Time to reflect

Cathryn Baillie, our Skye Conservation Ranger, takes a screen break from learning QGIS and looks out of her window

Cat baillie calm view from skye detail

Around here it feels like a Sunday. Yesterday felt like Sunday too, a quiet stillness everywhere. But look closer and listen hard, there is an eruption taking place.

It starts early, as the first few scraps of sunlight push over the horizon, the birds begin to sing. At first a lonely robin, crisp and clear in the morning air, his song hangs a moment, but the woods are awake now and there is no stopping the spread. The symphony grows with the sun and all around you can hear the arrival of spring. 

Cathryn Baillie robin             

The birds are busy now, and to have the time to watch them is a wonderful thing. Sparrows squabbling in the gutters, their noisy domestic life a soap opera on my roof, and the beautiful, familiar wee robins we all love so much, locked in almost constant battle over a place in my garden. Dunnocks and tiny wrens who always seem so busy have ramped it up to frantic as they dart their way through the undergrowth. We may have slowed down, but nature hasn’t, after her winter slumber she is stretching her legs and raring to go.

There is colour again, bright greens and yellows, pinks and white, buds are breaking and spring flowers bloom. A gentle buzzing has returned, did we even notice it had gone? The first bumblebee, first butterfly, the midges, all taking the chance that the winter storms are over, they begin to compose the next generation.
 Cathryn Baillie ladybird

The seas are calming, the waves less ferocious, the quiet spells stretching until you forget just how biting that wind was that blew you off your feet. Sunlight dances on the rolling, swollen skin, so captivating I could watch it for hours, sometimes I do, and all the while that sun is getting warmer. The birds on the coast are dancing their dance, couples locked in intimate displays, some new, some rehearsing old routines, polished over years. The cliffs are getting busy and the noise grows day by day. Life is surging onwards.
I’m lucky, I know I am. I live in a beautiful place, a quiet place where you could be forgiven for being completely unaware that there was a global pandemic. As I look out of my window it looks like any other day.

Cathryn Baillie peacock butterfly

I know that many people are not so lucky, access to outside space is a luxury that some people have now had restricted. But connection to nature is vital to us, to our well-being, for our physical and mental health. Whatever your situation, wherever you are, try to find a little slice of nature, and watch it, with fascination.