Appreciate the WOW factor!
We think all nature has the 'wow factor' but there are some things that are just extra special - welcome to your nature WOW!
You don't need to be a wildlife filmmaker to see (or maybe hear) some of the UK's most amazing natural spectacles up close and personal. From deer ruts and starling murmurations to knockout views and stunning night skies - all you need is a bit of planning and little patience and you're on your way.
Think big, show us how you got on and take another bold step towards completing your Wild Challenge! Go on, be brave and do something new and spectacular! Why not use the longer nights to go stargazing as a family? It may be dark and a bit chilly, but stargazing can be a magical experience. What can you see?
Are you doing this activity as part of your Wild Challenge? Find out how you are progressing – are you getting closer to gold?
Did you know: the red deer is the UK's largest land mammal. A large male can weigh more than two average-sized men!
What you will need
All you really need is the ability to think BIG! But here are a few things to consider as you plan your WOW:
- Ideas - a nature wow is a personal thing but here are some of our nature highlights throughout the year to get you started:
- At any time: sunrise, sunset, storms (or other extreme weather events) or something in nature that ‘wowed’ – perhaps because it was a new experience for you.
- Spring: frog spawn, the dawn chorus, baby birds or other young wild animals and sensational seabirds
- Summer: pond creatures developing into their adult form such as toadlets or froglets - or maybe even a dragonfly emerging from its larval case (its exuvia).
- Autumn: awesome autumn colours, fabulous fungi and rutting deer,
- Winter: Stargazing, wintering geese, starling murmurations and grey seals pupping
- Research - When and where these things happen can be quite specific, so before heading out, do some research to find out the best times and places. Our website has a lot of information and the wider web or good natural history books are sure to fill in any gaps. Why not try one of our spectacular reserves?
- A camera, to capture the moment!
Step by step
- Choose a natural spectacle - such as stargazing - or an amazing landscape you’ve never visited before. You may need to book if you’ve chosen a guided event. Our reserves pages are a great place to start for ideas.
- Go out and be wow-ed! Enjoy the moment.
- Be careful to follow any advice you’re given on how to keep safe – or how to give the wildlife some space.
- Don't forget to tell us when you have completed the activity! When you mark the activity as complete, you will be asked to upload a photo, drawing, painting or a description of your experience to help earn your award.
Completing the activity
Use the 'Mark as complete' button at the top of this page to tell us you've completed your activity. You'll need to show us what you did by uploading a photo of what you saw or your family on the look out! Alternatively, draw or paint what you saw or upload a description of your experience.
A great nature wow anyone can get involved with is stargazing. It may be dark, and perhaps a bit chilly, but stargazing can be a magical experience. Pick a clear night, and take the family to somewhere away from too many lights. Here's some tips to help you get the most from your stargazing.
- Try and wait until at least an hour and a half after sunset to make sure the sky is completely dark.
- Make sure the location you choose is monitored by an adult or guardian.
- If you can, find somewhere away from the direct glare of lights. Why not have a look for any Dark Sky Discovery Sites near you? They are nationwide sites that are great for stargazing.
- Take the family on a night-time walk to a nearby recreation ground or country park. They are good locations to choose because they're away from light. Otherwise, try your back garden.
- Wherever you go, ensure the land you are on is open to the public.
- For safety reasons, make sure there are no hidden drops, obstacles or livestock nearby.
- You don’t need a specialised kit, but if your family has a pair of binoculars or a telescope, it's definitely worth using them. They can transform even a bare-looking patch of sky into a star-studded miracle. Check out the RSPB shop if you are looking to buy.
- Use a red torch if you need to see. Your eyes can take up to ten minutes to become used to the dark, so try not to look at any bright lights when preparing to look at the stars. However, red lights don't affect your night vision. Use a rear bike light if you have one.
- Wrap up warm! Watching stars can be a chilly business. Maybe take a flask of warm drink or soup.
- Take a look at a chart of the night sky. You can get some free apps for smartphones and tablets that help identify stars too such as SkyView.