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The Celtic Rain Forest RSPB Gwenffrwd-Dinas

Common Redstart (Male) One of the most unique and incredible places to birdwatch in Wales has to be RSPB Gwenffrwd-Dinas (Dinas) The reserve is situated around a hill named "Dinas" in mid-wales a few miles outside the town of Llandovery. The hill ( I can't help but call it a mountain) which is 331 meters high has steep slopes that are covered in predominantly Atlantic Oak and Alder Trees and other areas covered in scrubland. I did some research about Atlantic Rainforests and according to the Woodland Trust , this type of habitat is found in places that have high rainfall but with low variation in temperature throughout the year. I have been visiting Dinas with my three amigo friends for the last couple of years and I must admit it is one of the only places that I have been to that has thousands of Oak trees densely packed around a mountain like this. When I walk into the woodland I imagine I am in something out of J R Tolkiens Lord of The Rings. It really is magical. Din

Goldcliff Lagoons Reserve Marsh Harrier Surprise

I was out at the crack of dawn today and arrived at Goldcliff , at first light. If I am honest the light did not get any better all morning, it was as if the dimmer switch had been turned down and the sky remained very dull and overcast. Not even a nice sunrise.

I headed for the sea wall hide . The hedgerows, full of hawthorn bushes were dripping with red berries and I disturbed a good many feeding Fieldfares and Redwings en-route to the hide.

A female Kestrel was busy hunting along the lagoons and hovering in the sea wind.

I had the hide to myself for an hour or so and then saw a huge commotion over the lagoons with hundred of lapwings exploding up into the air creating a huge cloud of swirling black and white. At its center was a Marsh Harrier. Another weekend birding "lifer" for me. Wondrous to see.

The Marsh Harrier is an incredible bird. I guess it could be mistaken for a buzzard until you see the markings and the way it fly's. It hovered in the wind like a Kestrel with its legs dangling whilst being mobbed by very distressed Lapwings, it rarely flinched and only reacted when a contact was made.

I watched it quarter the lagoon for about 15 to 20 minutes. My view was at the extremities of the cameras lens range today and I think my good eye has been tired so the pictures are not as focused as I  would have liked. But "hay ho" I got some great record shots at least.

I met a really nice local birder who joined me in the hide for a couple of hours and I enjoyed the conversation and learned a lot from him. Its amazing what knowledge people have. I mist admit my knowledge of waders is not that good and today I saw some birds I think I would struggle to identify alone see on my own.

All in all it was a good morning.The reserve is a real jewel and the biodiversity is incredible. Long may it continue.







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