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  • Writer's pictureSpeyside Wildlife

Nature through the Senses

As we are in Spring, the daylight hours are longer giving us more time explore changes around us. During this time, we are forced to explore nature on our doorsteps, balconies, on our local walks. There are different ways in which you can experience these changes and nature which is right under our noses, using all five of our senses.


Abundance of Skunk Cabbage

As plants and flowers start to grow, there are new smells every week. In our gardens, daffodils, blossom and other flowers with varied smells. Herbs grown on your windowsills or doorsteps with sweet scents of mints, rosemary and lavender. Out on your daily walks you may come across woodland floors full of garlic, with its strong pungent smell, but is great for making wild garlic pesto! On wet land you may come across the Yellow Skunk Cabbage, which as the name suggests also has a unique smell. Although not all nice smells, they opens the world under our noses.

Garlic Woodland – early Summer


Probably the easiest of the senses to utilise, from the kitchen window, front door or walking. Use your eyes and remember to look high, low and all around. Flowers as they burst open with colours, trees as the bud opens to reveal bright greens, and noticing minibeasts and amphibians like frogs that are often right under your feet. Bird watching is a relaxing and educational way to spend a day. Use binoculars and identification sheet to scan the skies and feeders and notice birds, behaviours and plumage.


Goldfinch in Bird Feeder

Out of all the things we hear through the day, taking five minutes to really listen to what is around can be interesting and very relaxing. Whilst learning to identify bird song, a good tip I was told is to close your eyes and pick out every sound and bird song you can hear in the distance, close by and in different directions. Use this time to learn bird songs you hear by using apps, knowledge, and the internet, such as RSPB who have calls for each bird.


Wood Sorrel (Lockerbie Wildlife Trust)

Taste is a bit harder, and one you should do with caution. In wooded areas, the ground will become carpeted by Wood Sorrel with small white flowers, the leaves have a citric taste when bitten and sucked between your teeth, but identify correctly and wash before attempting a taste. Later in the year wild fruits like raspberries and blueberries will appear, but you can also try growing your own fruits at home.


Larch buds and cones beginning to emerge

Using your hands to explore nature is our last sense. The fluffy catkins as they appear on willow trees, soft leaves of birch and hazel as they burst from the buds and tickly larch needles before they become spiky. Exploring minibeast under your feet, such as the hard shell of a beetle, tickling legs of a millipede or wriggling of a worm. All these senses can bring a different view of nature to us, but please do wash your hand thoroughly after.

Find time in your day to explore your senses to feel connected with the outside world where you are. Speyside Wildlife are continuing to do this, so follow our social media channels to explore more.

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