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Forest Bathing in the Woods of Gwent

  A beautiful Bluebell Wood. This spring I have focused my photography on new areas beyond my usual haunt of Goldcliff Lagoons and have been exploring several wonderful local woods. Life for me is busy at the moment and at times the stresses and strains of life have left me in a real need of opportunities to get outdoors with nature. I am fortunate to have some great woods on my doorstep where I can spend some time "Forest Bathing" to detox and destress from all the hustle and bustle. Spring is one of the best times of the year to visit the woods of Gwent. The woods are full of life. It's like a botanic explosion has occurred with flora and fauna of all kinds coming into life and making an appearance. Walking through the woods is a real sensory experience. The eyes are dazzled with an array of different colours, lots of fresh greens, the whole spectrum of coloured flowers, Yellow celandine, the white of the Anemones, Pinks of the Red Campions, and more yellows from Wild D

Kingfisher facts

Its been a little quiet at the hide on my most recent visits, weather has been poor and I have not had a great deal of time to spend at it either.

So I've been doing some research about my current bird obsession.
Kingfishers have a hard life and a relatively short life span. Many do not survive there first year and beyond that as Adults they tend to last only a couple of years.

They need to eat approximately 65% of their own body weight each day to survive. That is a lot of fish and invertebrates. They require clean water which is clear to see the fish. They have amazing specialized eyes which work well under water. They have a third eye lid which helps them when they dive.

When the water is dirty or rough they suffer as they struggle to see fish. They suffer when there are periods of high water levels. Cold also is a challenge for them and harsh winters there populations can suffer. Mink predation and disturbance is also a problem.

To try and combat the challenges they face they can have up to three broods a year with up to 6 chicks.

Not all Kingfishers when they fledge learn to fish quickly and it has been reported that they can starve to death even before winter.

Through my own observations I have four different Kingfishers visiting. An Adult Male and Female and two male and female juveniles.

I've been fortunate to watch both the juveniles catch fish. Considering that 25% of Juvenile Kingfishers don't make it to Adulthood I am heartened that they are able to catch fish and I hope they make it through.

After learning these facts I respect the birds even more and feel lucky I have been able to get so close.

The photograph is of a male Juvenile . The white tip is indicative of a juvenile. Apparently some think it may help Adults see it in the dark of the nest burrow. The feet are a darkish red in juveniles for up to six weeks. They then turn a bright orange in Adulthood.

At the moment the Adults are tolerating this youngster in their territory but I would expect him to be driven off soon before the winter.


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