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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 week of low tide visits and golden sunsets

This week I have had a few visits to Goldcliff Lagoons. All of have been at low tide. Such are my commitments of late , my free time has never coincided with a high tide. That is how things go when you have a busy life so you have to make the most of any opportunities to watch wildlife. It also means you need to adapt your photography to suit.

At low tide it has generally been quiet on the lagoons. Naturally the birds will follow the ebb and flow of the tides. Certainly at this time of year the numbers of birds are greatest at high tide. Despite being at the reserve at low tide there continues to be birds to spot but it tends to be that much harder.

I spent quite a bit of time on the sea wall watching the estuaries mud flats. There has been the usual large numbers of Shelducks albeit in the distance, Oystercatchers and Curlew but overall this week the mud has also been quiet.

I've been fortunate with the weather in the evenings and took advantage of the lovely sunsets that mother nature has had on offer.

It's also been good to meet up with some of my fellow birder friends and enjoy a good chin wag.

All week I have been a little frustrated as I have been hearing the reports of the Hobbies and also seeing some of the super pictures visitors to the reserve have taken. I am yet to get a close up picture but have been thrilled to watch the  Hobbies , sometimes two of them in the same frame ,shooting across the sky hunting dragonflies and small birds.

They really are a marvel to watch. I had an interesting conversation with one of my birder friends who's been visiting and taking pictures ( and especially videos) of the wildlife longer than I have and he cant recall seeing so much Hobby activity before. He suggested it may be because so much of the lagoons have dried up and the mud is attracting lots of insects - especially dragonflies. I think he may be right.

My highlights this week have to be the magnificent sunsets, a picture I took of Shelducks flying against a orange back-lit sky , a sighting of a Little Stint and watching a Hobbies hunting dragonflies. My last picture published in this post is a stylised black and white composite picture of a Hobby stooping.

Shelducks flying in to roost  back lit against a sky turned orange by the setting sun.

Composite picture of a sunset at Goldcliff taken this week.

Female Marsh Harrier at sunset

A study of a Hobby stooping

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