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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

Mama Mia Ian Owlsy's Hide is Fantastic

Whilst a lot of folk were watching the England v Croatia World Cup Semi-final I had something far better to go and watch - Tawny Owls.

My friend Ian "Owlsy's" Howells ( try saying that after a drink) has got an absolutely fantastic hide where over the last two years he has managed to attract a family of Tawny Owls.

I love any opportunity to visit as I have never failed to leave empty handed without having seen these amazing nocturnal predators.

In recent weeks Ian has been posting some "out of this world" quality pictures of the Tawny Owl family all perched together. ( Its really worth taking a look at his Facebook page) so a chance to see some recently fledged owls was too hard to resist -as if I could anyway :)

My good friend Skov was also attending and it was going to be his first visit and he was very excited.

We got all set up at the hide with Ian making sure we had everything configured right on our cameras and flash. Its a slick operation with the flash setup ready and both Nikons and Canon cameras catered for.

The owls did not keep us waiting for long. In the fading dusk light they started to make an appearance.

On about exited , Skov exclaimed his catchphrase "Mama Mia" and it excellently summed up the sight of a Juvenile Tawny Owl perched before us.

As the evening progressed we got treated to a good number of visits that involved both the parents and the three youngsters.

The birds were very relaxed in front of the hide and did not get spooked. The Adult male fed one of the youngsters which was fabulous to see.

I must admit its a privilege to see these wild birds alive and well. Only a couple of days ago I drove to Brecon and was shocked at the amount of dead Tawny Owl road kills I saw.

So for every one of those meeting a grisly end through a road collision then perhaps the Owls  and their offspring that Ian attracts to his hide that take advantage of the free food,will survive through the winter to replace those sadly killed on the roads.

On this visit I got lots of photographs and great memories to treasure. The hide goes from strength to strength, I cant wait to see the owls again :)

Adult Tawny Owl and its youngster.

Adult feeding the youngster

Young Tawny Owl.

Adult Tawny Owl
A dusk visit from a young Tawny Owl

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