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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

Back on the wall

Black Redstart ( female) on Barn Roof at Goldcliff Lagoons

My day started today eating a beef and cheese roll for breakfast on the seawall at Goldcliff Lagoons just before dawn. It felt great to be out in the fresh morning air. With only a solitary Black Headed Gull for company it was a quiet start. The sun just about broke through the clouds and finally I had a bit of sunshine on my face to warm me up as the wind was quite cold initially.

My company at dawn - a Black Headed Gull that just could not decide which way to go as it just flew around in circles during sunrise

The sun makes an appearance breaking through the clouds

Dawn at Goldcliff Seawall

All three lagoons were pretty quiet. There was quite a large flock of Shoveler ducks , Wigeon, Teal and the odd Curlew around on the reserve. No sign of any birds of prey but at one point the ducks all took to the air and flew en-masse out onto the estuary.

I was hanging around the wall hoping that the mornings sunshine would lure the Black Redstarts out from where they were roosting probably close by. They have been favouring the insect rich manure heaps near the farm so I considered I had as good a chance as any in seeing them again.

Just after dawn I was joined by several of my birding friends who were also on the hunt for the Redstarts.

It was a really low tide today and if you looked out into the estuary large areas of sandbanks were exposed. The waters edge seemed miles away. Towards the Pill area Avocet, Shelduck , Wigeon, Curlew and Black Headed Gulls could be seen feeding on the mud. Oystercatchers could be heard calling but in the main everything was a good distance away.

We all kept our eyes and ears open for small birds on the sea wall. A Robin was strutting its stuff regularly and caused us on several occasions to jump as we thought it may have been a Redstart. A pair of Wrens were busy foraging amongst the manure and farmyard rubbish tips.

Black Redstart on the manure heap

On the wall

"Queen of the manure heap"

Eventually a female Black Redstart showed. It darted up onto the sea wall where it ran about catching small insects. Then it would fly off and land on the manure heaps. I think the Robin keeps chasing it off as it rarely settles for long. On one occasion it joined a Pied Wagtail on top of one of the farms Barns roof.

The Redstart showed well several times but never came that close. I was again thankful of the added reach the Nikon P1000 gives me. Whilst the images are not as good my SLR they are great for illustration purposes for my blog.

If I am honest , there was not that much exciting happening today at the lagoons and the Redstart was my highlight, and of course I did enjoy a good chat with friends as usual.


  1. Great photos, having that that reach on the P1000 does improve the chances of capturing birds that would be out of range otherwise!


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