I recently received the book A walkers guide to natural clues and signs by Tristan Gooley (author of the Natural Navigator) and decided to try apply some of the lessons I have learnt from the book. If you like nature (and if you are on wildlife chat there is a reasonable chance you do) I can really recommend this book - it is full of information about the natural world and how various indicators can tell you about where you are, which direction is north if you don't have a compass and can't see the sun, what the heavens, weather, trees, other plants and animals are telling us, for example, what a pigeon plough is and also advice on how to avoid people. I had a lovely walk this evening, trying to be aware of all the different bird and animal noises (and their absence) and picking out when there were alarm calls. In particular I became very good at spotting the Pigeon Plough. This is when the birds in the vicinity of an approaching threat (or bumbling human) fly up and away from that threat. The movement and direction they travel warns everything else in the vicinity exactly where the plodding human (in this case me) is. Pigeons are particularly good examples of this as they tend to shoot off from the tops of the trees directly over your position flying away from your direction of travel. The smaller birds fly up and away too but tend to go shorter distances. I was able to also observe what I have learned to be an absolute chorus of alarm calls from all the local birds as I walk along. After a little experimentation they tend to relax and go back to their normal conversations about territory and love after a few minutes if I stood perfectly still. Out in the open, the sky larks were singing melodies over the wheat fields, tree sparrows flitted from reed to reed (that pigeon plough again !) and the buzzard watched from its usual perch on the top of the telegraph pole. Armed with my newfound knowledge, as dusk fell I was privileged to see a Muntjac deer 4 meters away (which couldn't resist coming closer to work out what the strange human tree was, whilst stamping his foot with uncertainty). After finding a comfy spot at the base of a larger tree and as the light faded, I was rewarded by a vixen walking past about 5 meters away, giving me a hard stare as she did so. Two further muntjac, a trio of fledgling tawny owls, a colourful male pheasant strutting a few meters away and some pipistrelle bats completed my walk on the wild side. I know some people are not so keen on foxes or Muntjac. Personally I am a fan and when a wild animal in the countryside (these weren't your habituated townie mammals ) decides to as come close as these did I get a big smile on my face. Oh and if you want to avoid people? Just keep an ear out for the bird alarm calls and pigeons shooting in the air telling you where the plodding humans are and head in a different direction.