While we all love to view the spectacular sights and experience the wonderful places, often it’s the simple pleasures that we enjoy the most.

Like sitting on a rock, in silence, and watching the seals go about their daily routines. Or sharing a forest track with a hare for a surprisingly long time. Or coming across a fox in the middle off the road after dark, sitting on his hind legs as a dog would. Indeed, when he eventually noticed my approach, that fox jumped up, left the road and took up the same sitting position on a narrow garden wall.


Simple pleasures - seal

Grey Seal, Mayo

The other day, just after sunset, I had the rare pleasure of observing a badger plodding along a small track for 20 metres in front of me, before skulking into the ditch.

Among the most memorable of simple pleasures are those afforded by peregrine falcons. I’ve had the good fortune to sit and watch these magnificent creatures zoom through the air, like fighter planes, in chase of tasty pigeons and seabirds. Fantastic.

One early morning, while walking the cliff-top trails of North Mayo, I came across the scene depicted in the picture below. I stood still, taking advantage of the fact that I was downwind of the fox. For several minutes I enjoyed the incongruity of the situation, before I was eventually noticed and the protagonists scattered. What a discovery!


Simple pleasures

Sheep and Fox, Mayo


Rediscover simple pleasures

Of course, the message here is clear : you need to get out and about and enjoy the countryside if you want to experience any of these simple pleasures. Go and sit or stroll by the seaside. Find yourself a nearby river or lake and wander along its banks. Discover your local forest and enjoy the birds. Tread slowly and quietly. You never know what you might bump into…

If you would like to receive newsletters, with upcoming events and other news, please “Join our mailing list” (above right).

Learn about Ireland’s birds at Birdwatch Ireland and about our biological diversity in general at Biodiversity Ireland.