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BACK-SEAT NATURE SPOTTER

There is more wildlife to be seen from a car or train window than you would imagine. Take motorways, for instance. These have long stretches of grass verge which are kept regularly mown short. The verges make perfect hunting grounds for kestrels, because they can easily spot their prey (mice, voles and shrews) in the short grass. If you look carefully, you will see several of these birds during a long motorway trip.

Then there are the railways. Wild animals and birds don't seem to connect trains with human beings, so they aren't frightened of them. The result is that they don't usually run away when a train passes. Keep your eyes peeled, and you may get some pleasant surprises. On one railway journey, I have seen rabbits, hares, a fox, a heron and many other species of bird.

The most obvious creatures to be seen on any trip are the birds gulls, wood pigeons, starlings and rooks are never far away. But don't forget to look out for plants as well. You are sure to see plenty of flowers in the summer, and trees are there all year around.

Keep a list of all the species you spot. You will find it useful to take an identification book with you to find out any you don't know.

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