Wild and woolly Wales

Wild and woolly Wales

by Peter Hanscomb

Wales , the birthplace of my wife and our destination for a quick weekend away. You see this weekend was the anniversary of our first date , twenty years ago and my wife had booked two nights in a cottage deep into the welsh countryside. And when I say deep, I mean deep. Ok I hear you say , great but what has a weekend away got to do with this blog, photography and British wildlife ?

The cottage was surrounded by nearly 120 acres of hillside forest. The only property at the end of a winding two mile forest track. Ok it was only six miles from the nearest village but in reality it felt a lot further. Indeed with no TV, WIFI or mobile phone signal , not even a radio it didn’t feel like six miles , more like six centuries away from modern life.

We arrived to find the cottage surrounded by a motley gang of free range sheep, yes that’s correct I did say sheep. Quickly followed by a tired looking sheepdog playing a game of hide and sheep among the trees and bracken. The sheep weren’t alone , we also had a wild pony stood in the garden of the cottage, munching away on the grass lawn.

After a peaceful Friday nights sleep in total darkness we were woken by the sound of multiple birds, a wonderful dawn chorus, so time to get up and face a new day. The cottage had a piano and guitar to entertain us but as we are both tone deaf , instead we chose to watch the comings and goings of our feathered forest neighbors.  And we weren’t disappointed. Robins, Coal tits, Great tits and Blue tits constantly flying in and out all day. Ground feeding Blackbirds and Dunnocks. One fleeting appearance from a Tree creeper and the start turn , repeated visits from a very greedy but photogenic Great spotted Woodpecker.

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Later on , as the day faded and the darkness  returned , bedtime was announced by the hooting of another visitor , a nearby Owl. All to soon the weekend was over , and once again we re entered the 21 century, mind body and sole refreshed by just a few nights traveling back in time. Plus a few more birds ticked off the list for this years 200 bird challenge !

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