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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

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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