Watching Wildlife

When to go...

Some animals are active only at certain times of day so you
may need to go out especially early or late. On the one
hand, many birds ore active early in the morning so this is a
good time to see them. On the other hand bats only come
out at dusk. Go back to places at different times of day and
in different seasons, to see how things change.

What to wear...

It you are looking for birds or animals then brightly coloured
clothes may frighten them away. If you wear dark clothes
you may well be able to get closer. Wear a hat, it helps
disguise the shape of your head and keeps the sun out of
your eyes too. If you are keeping still and watching then you
may need to wrap up more warmly in cold weather.

What to take...

Binoculars are useful to get a close up view. If you are looking
at plants or invertebrates then a hand lens will be helpful to
get up really close, A notebook will be handy to record the
things you find. Don't forget your sandwiches and water.

What is that...?

Looking at wildlife is fascinating but you will often come
across something that you cannot identify. There are many
great guides available in the shops and through the Internet.

If you haven't got a guide then you can take a picture and
make some notes. With plants for example, note leaf shape,
the number and what colour petals, and where the plant is
growing. Later on you can look up your find in a guide book.

How to photograph...

Most modern cameras can take really good pictures of wildlife,
A tripod is one of the most useful gadgets you can have, It allows
you to keep the camera steady when shooting pictures in woods
when the light is low. Also a tripod will reduce blurring caused by
shaky hands when using a telephoto lens.

Record it...

Keep a note of the things you see. Record not only me plant
or animal you found but where it was, what it was doing, the
weather and the date. Records of plants and animals are very
useful to researchers. Information gathered tram Springwatch,
for example. can tell us about the changing climate. For the
results go to The Biological Records
Centre is the home of all recorded sightings at plants and animals
in Britain. Find out more at

What not to do...

Don't make any noise; animals will hear you coming long before
you see them; Don't pick wild flowers. Don't disturb habitats. If
you look under a rock or log then replace it - it is somebody's
home Don't transfer wet things from stream to stream; you can
inadvertently introduce a fungus infection that can harm our
native crayfish.