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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

Ian Owlsy's Hide


I have decided to dedicate this blog to my my good friend Ian Howells who has two bird hides in Cwmbran. One he uses for nocturnal species such as Tawny Owls and the other a Woodland Hide that attracts various species of finches, tits, woodpeckers and birds of prey such as Sparrowhawks and Buzzards. On some occasions even a Goshawk has been known to frequent the Woodland Hide.

I have been really fortunate over the years to have been invited by Ian to spend some time at the hides and I must admit every time I have visited I have had an amazing time. Its thanks to Ian that I got my first Tawny Owl pictures , an experience I will never forget. Absolutely incredible birds to watch and most people rarely ever get to see them in all their splendour in the wild.

On another visit I got to see one of my favourite birds - a Buzzard close up for the first time. Now that was amazing. Ian rarely misses a day feeding the birds and to his credit has put a huge amount of effort in. To get birds like this regularly showing for photographs, this takes a lot of patience and dedication.

This year Ian has had a male Sparrowhawk turning up every day. I rarely get to see a Sparrowhawk in my garden and when I do I always have to deal with taking photographs through double glazing which is far from optimal.

The last time I visited Ians hide this year I had a fabulous close encounter with the male Sparrowhawk. It came in on several occasions to feed in absolute optimal conditions.

The plumage on this bird is really amazing. Ian thinks its juvenile bird that started attending the feeding station earlier in the year and its has now moulted into Adult plumage.

One of the Buzzards that visits the hide this year has incredible heart shapes all down its chest. Its another bird that I could never tire of watching.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ian for inviting me up the hide. Every time its like another big "wow" experience and much appreciated-"Merry Christmas to you and the Family".


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