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Nature-watching as a live "quiz"

Fjäril i ett hav av blommor.
Foto: Mikael Svensson

Nature watching on the Stockholm archipelago islands means plenty to see besides birds – like butterflies, bumblebees, dragonflies, bats, frogs, and fish.

No matter which species you choose to search for, you'll find an enjoyable activity where you can take notes on your mobile or in a notebook – and share with like-minded. Documenting observations including species, characteristics, date, and location, is an excellent way to start noticing the magic of nature. Common among nature watchers is often an interest in a specific group of organisms and the pleasure of being able to identify and name what is observed. All that's needed is a notebook, and then just dive into the joy of discovery.

Why engage in nature watching?

Nature watching is like participating in an ongoing nature quiz – with different sounds and silhouettes. Here, you get to experience the satisfaction of recognition. Recognizing a common house sparrow at the bird feeder can feel like a great success, and if you want to increase the difficulty level, you can too. For example, some learn to distinguish a garden bumblebee from other bumblebees – just by its buzz. Nature watching becomes even more enjoyable when the interest is shared by others – and can quick become a pleasant activity to do together during your archipelago visit – regardless of age and level of knowledge.

Groda i fuktig mossa i skogen.
Foto: Philip Liljeberg

Proper equipment is always important

A pair of binoculars is, of course, indispensable when venturing out for nature watching, and a handheld binocular is a must. For more advanced use, a spotting scope with a tripod can be useful. Most people have a mobile camera, which works well for most purposes, but for macrophotography of insects, a more advanced camera with a macro lens is appreciated, while bird photography may require a telephoto lens. Adapter and fully charged batteries are also important to remember to take with you, especially if you're venturing far from home. You can use a net or similar when you want to study insects closer, either a standard insect net that works for most flying insects, but for larger species, a sturdier sweep net may be needed. A magnifying glass is necessary to examine details of both insects and plants, and a variant with built-in LED lighting can be especially practical. But regardless of the equipment you use, make sure not to harm the animals you study.

How to get started?

If you think nature watching sounds fun, it's easy to get started – and the Stockholm archipelago is an excellent place to begin. Head out to an island or area you're curious about and start scanning. Bring a notebook and find inspiration online before you go, and we can promise you'll have a wonderful adventure.

Kobbe med fågel havsörn.
Foto: Johnér bildbyrå

3 tips for nature watching in the archipelago:

Look up information online and buy, borrow, or order books on the subject. There's a wide range of knowledge about birds, butterflies and so on – just waiting to be discovered.

Bring a notebook and pen or start a list on your phone where you can jot down what you've seen and where.

Download apps to your phone to get information about different species and their characteristics.

Eager to go out and nature watch? Learn more about how you can hike at, for example, Gällnö here