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The Celtic Rain Forest RSPB Gwenffrwd-Dinas

Common Redstart (Male) One of the most unique and incredible places to birdwatch in Wales has to be RSPB Gwenffrwd-Dinas (Dinas) The reserve is situated around a hill named "Dinas" in mid-wales a few miles outside the town of Llandovery. The hill ( I can't help but call it a mountain) which is 331 meters high has steep slopes that are covered in predominantly Atlantic Oak and Alder Trees and other areas covered in scrubland. I did some research about Atlantic Rainforests and according to the Woodland Trust , this type of habitat is found in places that have high rainfall but with low variation in temperature throughout the year. I have been visiting Dinas with my three amigo friends for the last couple of years and I must admit it is one of the only places that I have been to that has thousands of Oak trees densely packed around a mountain like this. When I walk into the woodland I imagine I am in something out of J R Tolkiens Lord of The Rings. It really is magical. Din

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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