A photography blog by Blair Jones a Gwent based birder, photographer , drone pilot, bird and photography talk presenter and blogger. Passionate about Gwent Wildlife and Goldcliff Lagoons NWR. Gwent Ornithological Society Secretary/Committee Member and BTO Volunteer.
Gilwern Hill is a favourite of mine. It adjoins the Pwll Du area and affords some great panoramic views. I would argue its got one of the best views in Gwent.
Yesterday evening I spent a few hours walking the moorland looking for wildlife.
I could hear Red Grouse but they kept out of sight. I disturbed a cock Pheasant that flew off in a fright.
The ferns that grow on the hill are now becoming quite tall and luscious with all this sun we are having.
Above them soaring a little on the wind blowing over the ridge Meadow Pipits were taking to the air chirping away displaying above their territories.
The ferns were full of the chatter of small birds. I kept low and hid in the sheep trails amongst the ferns and popped my head up to survey above the ferns. Perched on top were Stonechats. They looked like juvenile or female birds.
The Stonechats were very accommodating and allowed me to creep quite close. They seemed to be keeping a close eye on me bit also a family of Ravens that had landed on a outcrop of rock on a nearby ridge.
In turn the Ravens watched me intently. Wary birds but also inquisitive. One of the adults, took off flew over me closely a few times, always keeping its distance but also appeared to be wondering what I was up to.
As I progressed to the Cairn at the top of the hill the sky was full of Swallows feeding on the swarms of airborne insects. Occasionally I caught sight of a few of them perched on telegraph wires.
Linnets were showing in good numbers around the gorse/broom that have formed in large swathes in some locations.
I heard the unmistakable laugh of a Green Woodpecker close by whilst heading back towards Pwll Du and saw the Woody at the top of a mound of grass at one of the quarry entrances.
The whole area a sight to behold. Even in winter it has a rugged beauty.
Overall it was a productive evening on the bird watch front and I got some nice pictures.