Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

In this guest blog, Maggie, leader of the West Glamorgan RSPB Local group, discusses why she joined her local RSPB group, and all the benefits that came with it.

I have always been interested in nature. However, as a child, I was unable to identify many species or understand their habits and needs. After my divorce, I was put in touch with the local RSPB group and things developed from there. It's difficult joining new things as a single woman, but I was made very welcome and joined the group on walks and talks. I then started to help at events, before joining the committee in 2001.

We still have committee meetings, walks, talks and outings, though our meetings are now on Zoom and our walks are individual and reported on WhatsApp. We keep in touch with group members with a monthly email and hopefully there will be a lifting of lockdown and we can get back to normal.

I'm very fortunate with my committee. We work well together, and the other members support me with all the computer changes and are ready to change and try new things when they are suggested. Their knowledge of birds and the area is amazing, so our walks and talks are always enjoyable and very informative. My knowledge of flora and fauna has greatly improved, as well as learning more about what places to visit to watch wildlife.

Nature has become important to many people as their lives adapt to Covid-19. Regular walks, time to look out the window and fixing the garden have all added to our nature watching. The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch  was a huge success this year as well, with thousands taking part.

Seeing the first snowdrops and hearing bird song all gives us a lift and thoughts of spring, summer and warmer times. Nature is here all year round and taking time to look, watch and listen all adds to your well-being and general mood. Seeing birds, mammals, flowers, trees, fungi, butterflies and lichens adds to your outdoor time. The problem comes when you want to identify what you have seen or heard. Yes, we have smart phones, computers and books but they don't always seem to have the exact thing you have seen. Being part of a local RSPB group can help with that!

Joining a group (when we can next go out) benefits the experience - more than one pair of eyes often means that more is noticed, shared and identified. Discussions on species and identification can quickly give answers and reasons to help with identification in the future. The group also visits different interesting areas according to the seasons and you add to your knowledge of places you may not have visited before. Being in a group also helps if you don't know the area and would not visit on your own.

Many people think that bird watching it is a male dominated hobby - but that is not true. Women join in as well making for a lively mix with a common interest. So if you are female, want to know more about nature and enjoy visiting different places to explore the wildlife, you would be made welcome.

Hopefully, lockdown will soon be a thing of the past, and you can again explore nature and being part of the group.

Click here to learn more and to find out where’s your nearest RSPB local group.