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Emily Price

Journalist / Writer / Author of Viva Porthcawl / BJTC Steve Harris Award Winner

A recent survey from the RSPB has found that birdwatching has soared in popularity during the COVID 19 pandemic. 

Over two thirds of people polled said they have used birdwatching and simply listening to birdsong as a way to calm lockdown anxiety.

It seems that this family friendly actively has offered people the chance to reignite a love of nature and appreciate outdoor spaces again.

With its diverse habitats and beautiful coastal paths, locals from the Vale of Glamorgan have been taking advantage of their beautiful area during lockdown.

Photographer: Liv Davies.

Chair of the Glamorgan Bird Club, Jean Haslam said: “With people limited to their local areas, birdwatching is an excellent activity to do in your own neighbourhood.

"It gets you outside, calms you down and lets you appreciate the wildlife on offer. It’s a contrast with everyday life and a hobby that anyone can take part in.”

Ceri Jones’s local patch is in Sully and he thinks the Vale of Glamorgan is an excellent place to birdwatch.

Ceri said: “I find it very relaxing and it makes me feel good overall. I’ve been birdwatching a lot more in lockdown because I’ve had more time on my hands.

“I enjoy walking too so it’s a great way to combine the two hobbies and birds are so interesting and colourful, it’s the sort of thing that just draws people in.”

John Wilson lives in Penarth and birdwatches regularly. Every year he gathers around 100,000 observations in order to edit a bird report on what species can be found.

Most of the records submitted to John last year were observations from parks and gardens as COVID 19 restrictions kept birdwatchers within walking distance of their homes.

Photographer: Liv Davies.

John said: “I’ve been birdwatching for nearly 50 years now and before the pandemic it took me all over the world but the peregrine falcons in Penarth are still a favourite of mine.

“Last year two pairs bred on the cliffs and they really are quite spectacular to watch when you're out for a walk along the coast path.”

For anyone looking to find solace in nature, Jean says it's not a hobby that needs a lot of equipment. She said: “For anyone who wants to start birdwatching, the best thing you can do is go outside and listen. 

“There’s plenty of interesting birds about and just getting out into the fresh air really gives you that feel good factor.”

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