By developing your fieldcraft you will become more aware of the wildlife around you and get closer to it. A key objective is to become 'part of the scene'. It is a solitary exercise where you need to develop skills by 'doing'. It takes time. If you are recognised as a regular, non-threatening, 'part of the scene' a lot of wildlife takes no notice. Over time your will learn that many have a routine, the same hunting ground, a set trail and often at the same time of day.
Below are some of the hints and tips I have discovered and honed over many years, but more especially since 2007.
More hints and tips can be found on the South Today interview BBC South Today website.
• work alone, if your age or situation allows, letting others know where you are
• approach quietly and gently
• know where you are treading
• keep your balance
• move slowly towards the subject, avoid sideways movement
• wear ‘quiet’ footwear
• do not wear bright colours, choose colours that match your surroundings; be part of the landscape
• avoid having anything flapping, such as a camera strap
• don't let your shadow give you away
• watch and wait, let the insects and animals come to you
• if an insect or animal moves away, just stop, watch it and see where it goes - then start again - even some insects are territorial and may return.
• look for the signs: trampled grass, droppings, holes in leaves, folded leaves, discoloured leaves, footprints
• be good at standing absolutely still or playing ‘statues’, if you spot something, consider the moment, then consider how to record the event.
• different insects and animals appear at different times of the day and night and in different conditions
• take a picture as soon as you can by zooming in; move forward (10 paces works well), take another; and so on... Seize your opportunities in the moment, you may never get the chance ever again.
• stay safe near: water, ditches, barbed wire, nettles, roads...
• ask permission if you wish to go on to private land
• take spare camera batteries
• know your equipment so that you can use it quickly and with one hand, if possible.