Category Archives: WILDLIFE

GOLDEN VALLEY


Well, I have been up in the Golden Valley now for 11 days, and it has rained every day! In fact when we first arrived we had snow and hail stones as well as floods.  So as you can imagine I have taken very few photos. In fact I would go as far to say that I think that Spring is about three to four weeks behind in this neck of the woods.  Birds are still nest building!  And, yesterday I saw what I believe to be a Grey Wagtail and it’s mate attempting copulation, how late is that?  The same thing in the river – which is usually 6 inches deep and was until two days ago 6 feet deep – a pair of Mallard floating down stream at about 10 knots, trying to mate.  Every time the drake jumped on her back she nearly drowned!  All this time they were coming towards me in the gloom, and they were so interested in what they were doing that they hadn’t noticed me, plus they were white water rafting!  (imagine trying to make babies the same time as you are hammering down the river at 70 mile an hour).  Anyway, I think I did the duck a favour because as they reached me they saw me he jumped off, they did a mid air spin and flew back up the river.

The Pair of Love-Birds?

I had some good news last week. The Sunday Times Magazine (on line version) did an article on ‘Litter’.  As it happened I had taken a few pics over time on litter so submitted what I thought may be suitable. I’m pleased to say they chose a photo of a black Bra that I had spotted in a wooded ‘Pull-In’ up near Tintern Abbey ruins in the Wye Valley in Wales.  It was on a Sunday morning so I guess the Bra was left there from the Saturday night before!  The mind boggles.  Check out the link to the post here: http://tinyurl.com/c9pwgv9

Oh well…..let’s see what the weather is like for the next couple of days…that’s all I have left for this month in Herefordshire to get the shots on my list. Unfortunately, I am not holding out too much hope.  It’s actually pouring down as I type!!!

Save our Song Birds


I know that I have mentioned the illegal trapping of songbirds in Cyprus before.  However, I have received today the following YouTube clip which really is barbaric. I have also included on my blog a place where you can sign a petition to stop this slaughter. If you wish you could also put the petition onto your blog and we could get even better coverage of this hideous practice and do some small thing to save some of our wildlife for the future.

Check out the YouTube clip here:  Slaughter in Cyprus

Natures Detectives


English: Pond at Magor Marsh Nature Reserve Mo...
Image via Wikipedia

I know that it has been over a month since my last post here and I feel pretty guilty. That almost sounds like the beginning of a Catholic confession! But I promise you dear reader, I do have some genuine reasons. One, I have been ‘enjoying’ bad health, two I am my wife’s main Carer and she will always come first and three, there was a surprise birthday party for me organised by my number 2 son Jozif. I hate surprise parties, but as this was a special one (Big 70) I kind of accepted the surprise, and I was pleased that I did.

Jozif is a DJ and Music Producer and he flew back from Tunisia – where he had a gig – especially for me. He also organised his two brothers, who in turn had to juggle their diaries to be there. We had the small dinner party at home, Jozif and Oliver stayed on for a couple of days, Ben the eldest had to leave because of baby duties. He made me the proud grandfather for the third time with the gorgeous Lilly-Mae recently. Next Oli had to leave to take care of business at EMI Records where he manages the design department, and then Jozif shot off to Madrid for his next gig!

So all in all, a pretty hectic time.

Today was a beautiful Winter’s morning the sun was strong, the sky was blue with some lovely fluffy white clouds and there was a fierce chill in the air. However, I had signed up for a morning’s seminar/workshop with the Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT), at the nearby Magor Marsh Nature Reserve. The reserve has been there for a while now and it is really making a name for itself, unfortunately I don’t get to go there as often as I would like.  This morning’s session was entitled Nature Detectives. It was delivered by a charming and very knowledgeable chap named Chris Hatch. Chris brought a few examples with him of things one is likely to find in the countryside and went into great detail to explain what they were and why they were important etc. The items included a large mollusc  which was a Swan Muscle, found in freshwater and in the reens  at Magor Marsh. Reens are small shallow field drains or ditches, but in Wales they are known as Reens.  He also showed us a the breast bone (Sternum) of a Pigeon which he had found beneath the nest of a Peregrin falcon and finally the skull of a badger.

After spending about 20 minutes in the classroom the small gathering followed Chris out onto the Reserve to see what signs we could spot. and where we should be looking for signs. We were lucky to be able to spot signs of both Otter and Fox. We walked on to the Hide where we spotted a number of Teal and a Crested Grebe, not a fantastic display I admit, but all the same some good explanations from Chris and also the signs of Badger just near the Hide.

Finally on the way back Chris pointed out some grassland that he said was the ideal habitat for Snipe, so while we stayed on the path Chris walked through the grassland to see if he could ‘walk up’ some Snipe.  Sure enough with two minutes of him walking onto the land up flew the recognisable zig-zag flight of a common snipe.

So an enjoyable two hours spent at Magor Marsh Wildlife Reserve in Monmouthshire.

The Nature Detectives follow Chris Hatch onto the Reserve

Magor Marsh Nature Reserve (Gwent Wildlife Trust)
Image via Wikipedia

Common Snipe
Flushed Common Snipe