I was developing a research project on Grey Partridge a number of years ago and part of the experimental aspect of the work involved releasing pen reared birds on what appeared to be suitable farmland habitat. I identified with a farmer in Kildare, Ireland, who had a great love of Partridge. He vividly recounted where he last saw each covey, what year it was, who was with him, etc. A true lover of nature.
As part of the programme we successfully released a fine covey of 12 birds and his delight every time he saw the birds was palpable. I was interested in their survival and visited regularly to locate the birds and count the covey number over the autumn and winter.
One day I called to see him and asked if he’d seen the birds since I was last with him. He duely explained when and where he’d seen them and even took the time to bring me to the exact spot where he had his last encounter. As we walked together through the stubble fields he recounted his childhood experiences with his father long since dead. The love of wildlife had clearly come down the generations undiluted.
As we got closer to the spot in question he got more and more excited. Suddenly up from under our feet got a fine health covey of birds, nine or ten at least. ‘How many did YOU see?’ I asked my friend. ‘Ahh’ he said, ‘I was too busy enjoying the moment to count them’.
Sometimes in our rush to save the world we forget to enjoy it. We work incessantly to try to prevent the loss of habitats, species and ecosystems. We are driven by a need to protect and conserve as much of the natural world as possible for future generations and in the process we can forget to enjoy the beauty of nature all around us. Give yourself a break today and soak up the pleasure that nature provides us if we only take the time to stop and wonder.