Top Five Natural Wonders I Want to See

Emma - 10 July 2016

Sometimes it’s the draw of one thing that brings you to travel the halfway around the globe. Here my top five natural wonders that I dream of seeing! If you have any suggestions of your own post them in the comments!

Andean Condors in Colca Canyon

These spectacular birds may not be around much longer, despite a concerted conservation effort. Scavenging meat from carcasses, they often ingest lead bullets, causing them to die out. They have the biggest wingspan of any bird on the planet, and Colca Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world, making the combination of seeing this enormous condor in it’s spectacular natural habitat a double whammy.

Not everyone who goes to the Colca Canyon manages to catch a glimpse of a condorNot everyone who goes to the Colca Canyon manages to catch a glimpse of a condor

Bioluminescence

This is a vague one, because I couldn’t choose between the many options. First and foremost is phosphorescent water, the phenomenon when disturbed water glows or sparkles due to tiny organisms (dinoflagellates) present in the water. The idea of swimming at night and having ripples of light rolling around you is dreamy. Another example of bioluminescence I would love to see is fireflies. I’ve heard that in the Philippines you can kayak around the mangroves and see enormous numbers of fireflies winking at you. Or deep caves in New Zealand where glow worms cover the walls, creating constellations of light.

I’m hoping that phosphorescent waters live up to the ideal in my head when I finally experience them!I’m hoping that phosphorescent waters live up to the ideal in my head when I finally experience them!

Starling Murmurations

Thankfully this is one a little closer to home, and doesn’t involve an icy winter break or a tropical holiday! In the winter when starling flocks are about to roost for the night they take to the skies in an undulating swarm, creating incredible patterns. I’ve seen the YouTube videos, but have never managed to see them in real life. If you’re in the UK, the RSPB has a list of reserves that are great for spotting starlings doing their thing! Remember to go in the winter, and to turn up before sunset.

The easiest of my top five natural wonders for me to tick off, since starling murmurations happen right here in the UK!The easiest of my top five natural wonders for me to tick off, since starling murmurations happen right here in the UK!

Orcas

I’ve adored these animals since I was little, their intelligence and fiercely strong family bonds making up for their sharp teeth and proclivity for freezing waters. I’ve resisted seeing them in captivity for years, due to the cruel conditions (sensory deprivation and isolation is just the start). When M and I went to Iceland last year we splashed out on a three hour whale watching trip leaving from Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It was three hours of hell. Horrendously sea sick and freezing cold, I gripped the rail and stared hopelessly at the steel grey waters. We saw nothing except a few dolphins, which was a bitter disappointment, but I’m determined that one day I’ll catch a glimpse of these incredible animals in the wild.

My attempt to see orcas in Iceland was unsuccessful, so I'll just have to settle for nature documentaries for now...My attempt to see orcas in Iceland was unsuccessful, so I’ll just have to settle for nature documentaries for now…

Northern Lights

Ahh, the dream! The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, is firmly in the number one spot on my list of the top five natural wonders I’d like to see. The flickering, shifting curtains of coloured light have fascinated me since I first read the His Dark Materials trilogy. The off-putting factor for seeing the aurora is that you have to spend an inordinate amount of money to stay somewhere with a chance of spotting them, and even then it’s a gamble whether they’ll ever show up.

Surely on everyone's list of top five natural wonders! The Northern Lights is a flighty one that you have to take your chances with...Surely on everyone’s list of top five natural wonders! The Northern Lights is a flighty one that you have to take your chances with…

Your Top Five Natural Wonders?

These are top five natural wonders that I want to see, but I’ll bet there’s some different ones on your list! We’d love to hear your suggestions – just post your top five natural wonders you want to see in the comments.

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