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A new era dawns

A new era dawns. Today marked my first visit to Goldcliff Lagoons since the sad death of  Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. She was a great and very respected monarch throughout the world.  Her passing marked the end of the modern Elizabethan era and the dawn of a new one. King Charles III has now ascended to the throne - "God save the King". The new era will be called the Carolean age under King Charles III. I thought his first speech was very touching and I believe he will be a great King like his mother. We also now have a new Prince of Wales with Prince William taking on his father's previous titles.  Every time I now take picture of the second Severn crossing - namely the Prince of Wales bridge there will be a different face that now pops up in my head. The Prince of Wales Bridge I've had a very stressful and busy week myself and I was in real need of some bird therapy today for a few hours to take my mind off things. A visit to Goldcliff Lagoons alway

There's a buzz in Bluebell Wood

Bumblebee on Bluebell

I have been spending the majority of my daily exercise walking around Coed-y-Canndo Wood. To be honest the lockdown has coincided at a most fortuitous time of the year as during the spring the wood is full of life and colours.

At the beginning of lockdown just as the trees started to burst their buds the wood floor became a carpet of yellow Celandine. That was the first wave of spring flowers. Next came the white patches of the slow-growing ancient woodland key species Wood Anemones. Most recently over the last week, the Bluebells have finally flowered en-masse and there is now a carpet of vibrant purple-blue throughout the wood. It is truly a magical place.

A carpet of Blue


The flower species tend to arrive in distinct waves. The occurrence of all three flowering at the same time- Celandine, Wood Anemones and Bluebells lasts fleetingly for a few days at most usually. The Celandine will be pollinated and got to seed rapidly and then appear to completely die off. The Wood Anemones close their petals for the last time and also vanish until all that is left are the Bluebells for about a month before they too disappear for another year. I find the cyclical nature of ecosystems fascinating.

There are also other flowering plants to be found and I have challenged myself every visit to find something new to add to my species list. This week I have found White Bluebells - these may be a hybrid between the Spanish variety and the wild one. I have found two types of Garlic. The first being is known as Ramsons ( Wild Garlic) and Three-Cornered Garlic. Both have lovely white flowers and I discovered them in wet shaded parts of the wood.

Ransom aka "Wild Garlic"

Three-cornered Garlic

White Bluebell


It took quite a bit of hunting but eventually, I found a nice patch of Greater Stichwort. This flower is a particular favourite of mine. It can easily be overlooked and its a very dainty plant. I noticed a flash of pink not too far away and found some Herb Robert that had started flowering in a sunny glade.

Greater Stichwort


Herb Robert


Almost all of the flowering plants depend on insects for pollination. The invertebrate life of the wood has finally started to wake up with all kinds of insects to be found. The carpets of flowers must contain a vast quantity of nectar and pollen for the insects to feed on.

Bluebells

Honey Bee collecting pollen from the Bluebells


There are all kinds of fly's - numerous species of Hoverflies and Bee flies in particularly at this time of year. Buzzing all over the Bluebells have been several species of bees. I have been enjoying photographing the Bumblebees and Honey Bees feeding amongst the flowering Bluebells. This year I have probably got some of the best pictures I have taken in a while.

Bumblebee flypast


A bumblebee enjoying the nectar

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