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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

The Highs and Lows of visits to Goldcliff Lagoons

Sunset on the wall

This month I have been really pushed for time so my visits to the reserve have been by my standards few and far between. Highlights have been a lovely evening spent watching quite a nice sunset and lows have been the wet weather and if I am honest at times a lack of good bird picture opportunities. There has been plenty of species to look out for though but it seems my visits at low and high tides have not been the most productive. I have however enjoyed meeting some great fellow birdwatchers and had some great conversations.

Incoming flock of Black Tailed Godwits

Priors lagoon has been attracting a lot of attention from the birds. I would say at the moment it has become the most popular lagoon and has been a good spot for bird watching. A big flock of around 350 Black Tailed Godwits have been a regular sight. Huddled behind the reeds on the far side of the "T" shaped reed bed if viewed from the Marsh Platform. In amongst them are often a few other species of waders such as Knot, Dunlin, Redshank and Ruff.

The Black Tailed Godwits on Priors

The NRW and Friends of Goldcliff have been busy this week with annual repair work being done and and expansion of the Snipe Platform started. Big shout out to their efforts. The reserve really is a jewel of the Newport Wetlands.

Spoonbills and even two Great White Egrets have been reported being seen on Priors which is really great. Perhaps its most famous "resident" has been "Flossy" the Glossy Ibis. This bird continues to roost on this lagoons and seems to be becoming ever more confident and visible for longer periods. Yesterday evening it was feeding in the middle of Becs lagoon opposite the seawall hide and showed well albeit at a distance.

Flossy the Glossy on Becs

On the weekend their was a sighting of a Short-Eared Owl that was near the seawall hide. This is great news and reminds me of when I was lucky enough to see one last October perched on a post on the way down to the seawall hide.

The Short Eared Owl I spotted last year on a post near Becs.

Yellow wagtails are turning up more regularly now and I usually find them mixed in with Pied Wagtails following the herd of cows around picking of the insects disturbed by the cows hooves as they churn up the mud.

Big flocks of Black headed Gulls have been roosting on a number of the lagoons. They often get spooked when one of the local raptors shows up. This week I have seen Peregrines, Sparrowhawks, Buzzards ( Bosprey) and a Kestrel.

Flock of Black Headed Gulls

My last visit was yesterday evening just before the storm broke. The sky started looking really ominous and it looks like for the remainder of the week it will be wet and unsettled.

The night before the storm

A cool orange glow from an obscured setting sun.


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