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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

The calm before the storm


Well, Storm Ellen will soon be upon us. Yesterday evening I decided to get some exercise and clear my head. Where better to go than Goldcliff Lagoons for a leg stretch and a birdwatch.

I timed my visit a few hours before high tide. The sun actually had put a bit of an appearance in so it was quite warm on arrival at Goldcliff, especially when the sun came out between the gaps in the clouds.

The sea was already right up to sea wall and so I thought there was a good chance of plenty of birds. The lagoons however were relatively quiet compared to some high tide visits I have had.

The most notable showing of birds was two large flocks of small waders that every now and then would break into flight and dart back and forth over the lagoons at a hell of a rate.

Both flocks comprised of Dunlins and Ringed Plovers. Mixed in with them were some Turnstones as well.

Monks Lagoon was mainly an aerial circuit for the waders and pretty much devoid of anything interesting.

Priors Lagoon had a large flock of Black-Tailed Godwits and in the center of them huddled together was a smaller flock of Knots.

There is a pair of Garganey ducks hanging around Priors which a few birders have seen. They were keeping their heads down when I turned up but I could have been staring right at them and not seen them as the sun was shining brightly in my eyes and at times everything was just a silhouette.

At the far end of the Priors on the mud and near the reeds was a group of six Snipe.

The wind had started to whip up by the time I got the seawall and my only company whilst I looked out at the estuary was a single male Wheatear perched on a fence post. I watched the rain front approach from behind Hill Farm and the sun shone through creating a big Rainbow which was nice for a fleeting moment.

Becs Lagoon had legions of Black-Headed Gulls and a solitary Turnstone. Hiding just behind the island I caught sight of a "Flossy" the Glossy Ibis for a moment. A couple of Curlews came in and joined the gulls.

The other side of Priors had another smaller flock of Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank. They were joined by a pair of Ruffs, one of which was a nice red colour.

Overall though there was a feeling of calm. The lagoons were peaceful. It had to be the calm before the storm.

I am wondering what the weekend will bring. Could we get some rarities blown in on the high winds?

Will we see a Phalarope? Who knows but I cant wait to see what the storm brings in.

ED - It was good to catch up with one of my blog readers Tom. Congrats for the weekend by the way :)


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