Birding And Mental Elf

Today after the junior parkrun the Blues Skies charity did their annual Elf Run on the same course. We provided some marshals, and this year I took part in the 5k event. This gave me the opportunity to use the dreadful pun above, but there is a more serious point to this post.

Birding and mental health has been in vogue of late. There are a number of books that address the positive impacts of birding on mental health, particularly Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness which I read a couple of years ago. Clearly spending time outdoors and appreciating nature’s proven to be good for mental health, but birding can also be addictive, compulsive and competitive and undoubtedly can make some of its exponents less well mentally at least some of the time.

Today I spent all morning facilitating the junior parkrun and taking part in the Elf Run. This afternoon I took Jane and Bryony to Freeport for shopping, as neither of them drives. In one sense therefore I ‘wasn’t birding’ today.

But in another sense I very much was birding. I was outdoors, and taking in the nature of Anchorsholme Park. And even though it was busy with two running events and lots of dog walkers there were birds to be seen. Gulls were drumming the ground for worms as we set up the course. A Kestrel appeared a couple of times hunting. Coincidentally groups of Linnets and Meadow Pipits were both eighteen birds strong. A couple of Ravens hung around on the lampposts before continuing north.

We picked Bryony up from her house and from the main road between Herons Reach and Poulton we saw a couple of hundred Pinkfeet in the neighbouring fields. On the outskirts of Fleetwood larger numbers of Pinkies were feeding by Amounderness Way. We take them for granted a bit round here, but climate change and their favoured fields being earmarked for housing could change that going forward.

It isn’t an earth shattering conclusion but it was one of those days where I didn’t have to be actively birding to have had enjoyable encounters with birds.

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