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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

A swift trip to Goldcliff

Well I didn't expect to go out with the camera today as the weather forecast sounded awful. However , as it turned out this morning it was fairly good with little rain to speak of.

I decided to go to Goldcliff Lagoons. On arrival at the reserve I came across a female Linnet in the hedgerow. My first sighting of this species so far this year.

In Hide 1 I had a great view of a big flock of Black Tailed Godwits . They are now looking rather dapper in their summer plumage. Surely they will be heading to Northern Europe to breed soon. Its the first time in ages that I have seen them in the first lagoon and they appear to have grown in numbers.

Not long after my arrival I was joined by some friendly birders.
I was grateful when one of them located a Wood Sandpiper using his scope. I managed to capture a few distant pictures that will serve as record shots as that is the first time I can recall ever seeing this species.

The reserve continues to have plenty of birds on offer to see. Redshanks, Lapwing, Avocets, Shoveler, Wigeon, Tufted Ducks, Greylags and Canadian Geese.

Skylarks were singing on high and in the hedgerows Cetti and Reed Warblers could be heard with their noisy repertoire.

A particular highlight of mine today was observing the Dunlins. There was a decent sized flock of them today and when they took to the sky it was fun watching them swirl rapidly around the lagoon.

At one point today everything went skyward and formed a big flock in panic. I was unable to see what disturbed the birds today .No raptors in sight all morning but perhaps it was a Falcon up high, that was worrying the feathered residents of the lagoons.

After a stroll around the reserve near Platform 2 and the adjacent hedgerow the sky became alive with the sounds of Swallows, Martins and Swifts.

Now these are birds that I really struggle to photograph in flight. Darting so quickly like aerial dancers, focusing on them is a nightmare. I think the picture I did grab of a Swift was pretty good in the circumstances.

Linnet (female)

Black Tailed Godwits

Wood Sandpiper (center)

Godwits, Avocets and Dunlin



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