Peacocks in Cwm Dulais

Birdsong ID – Following my walk to the top of Graig Fawr last week I met up with Martin Humphries (ex RSPB), Ed Tucker (Bio Diversity Ranger) and others for another birdsong ID walk. This time the walk was down the Cwm Dulais valley next door to Cefn Drum in South Wales. There were an amazing number of birds up there but I don’t think I am getting much better with my identification skills.

Peacocks among the chickens – One bird I can identify from its call is the Peacock and we were surprised to come across these as we passed by Chuckle Chicken Poultry. We didn’t see them, so no photo I’m afraid, but the sound is proof enough.

If you are viewing this in an email, click here to listen on the blog or here to go to SoundCloud.

Dulais River, Cefn Drum

Dulais River, Cefn Drum

Anya

Anya

Birdsong ID in action

Birdsong ID in action

Dulais River and Foxgloves

Dulais River and Foxgloves

Old post coming to life

Old post coming to life!

View from the Top

Last Sunday was a beautiful day here in South Wales which encouraged me to take a walk up Graig Fawr. The views over the surrounding countryside are uplifting . . . when the sun is out. Looking west you can see over to Carmarthenshire and looking south the view takes in the Loughor Estuary and the Gower Peninsula.

The wind was blowing and the Skylarks were singing and I needed to get to the top. Here are a few of the photos I took and also a sound clip of those Larks in the wind.

View from the Top

View from the Top

Loughor Estuary and the Gower

View from the Top 1Loughor Estuary and the Gower

Foxgloves and the Gower

Foxgloves and the Gower

You can hear those Skylarks in the wind here or you can play the clip below if you are already on the blog.

Urban Birds and Babies

I got these shots the other day during a garden bird count for the RSPB. I’m just sorry I didn’t get a shot of the funniest looking young Blackbird we have frequenting our garden just now with its fluffy feathers stuck out all over the place.

Mother and Baby 1

Mother and Baby 1

Mother and Baby 2

Mother and Baby 2

Mother and Baby 3

Mother and Baby 3

I was also reminding people this week about StillWalks being about the urban as well as the natural environment or countryside. The photos below are from the Abertawe Walk along the River Tawe going into the SA1 area of Swansea.

from Abertawe Walk

from Abertawe Walk

from Abertawe Walk

from Abertawe Walk

from Abertawe Walk

from Abertawe Walk

Feeling Felt

Last week’s fair at The National Botanic Garden of Wales was a bit of a wash out for StillWalks as was the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. On a sunny Monday, however, we were in Cardiff at the Welsh Makers Guild Gallery, Craft in the Bay, in Cardiff Bay where there was an exhibition by the International Feltmakers Association. The exhibition was called “The Climate is Changing” and, along with all the other exhibits in the Makers Guild shop, was fascinating and enjoyable to see. Now back to the rain!

99 Pieces of Driftwood by Marianne Sogaard Sorensen of Denmark

99 Pieces of Driftwood by Marianne Sogaard Sorensen of Denmark

Medusa by Annette Block of Germany

Medusa by Annette Block of Germany

Ultimo Salto - The Last Jump by Katia Volpe

Ultimo Salto – The Last Jump by Katia Volpe

A Welcome Visitor

This little fellow joined us in the marquee at the National Botanic Garden of Wales today.

Chaffinch in the marquee

Chaffinch in the marquee

This was the second day of the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend when StillWalks joined others helping to alleviate visitors’ disappointment with the weather. People have been enjoying many of the StillWalks available on DVD Collections One and Two – even the Quarry Walk – Autumn Rain walk and the Forest Walk in Winter – not, perhaps, what might be expected in the miserable weather today, but clearly enjoyed all the same.

Rain, rain, go away!

Rain, rain, go away!

We’ll be back again in the Great Glass House in the Botanic Gardens on Jubilee day, Tuesday – here’s hoping the weather men are wrong with their forecast for further rain.

Great Glass House

Great Glass House

Beautiful Journeys

I have been travelling about Wales recently – not too far from home but thoroughly enjoyable. The trips I have had to schools as the Josef Herman Foundation Award Artist for 2012, have taken me over the Beacons to Brecon as well as to Ystradgynlais and back over the hills to home where the Spring / Summer sounds of a Blackbird in Coedbach Park are a welcome end to the day. You’ll need to visit the blog to listen to the Blackbird.

Brecon Beacons

Up on the Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons

Looking across the Brecon Beacons

River Tawe at Ystradgynlais

River Tawe at Ystradgynlais

Overlooking Craig Cefn Parc

Overlooking Craig Cefn Parc

The Josef Herman Foundation has allowed 9 and 10 year old children to create a version of StillWalks. Through an Arts Council of Wales funded project initiated by Caron McColl and Lynne Bebb at Swansea Education Effectiveness Service, the children have been doing their own photography and sound recording for their walk as well as the post production and also poetry with Emily Hinshelwood.

Screening and Exhibition – there will be a celebratory screening and exhibition in the Autumn of the work produced by the children. The children are doing a great job, so watch here later in the year to see examples of their videos and other work.

Early Start for Dawn Chorus Day

It was fun to get up at 5.30 AM last Sunday for Dawn Chorus Day to go and join the Friends of Coedbach Park and Helen Grey from Swansea Nature Conservation Team. Helen organised the event and arranged for Martin Humphries to lead us on a walk and help with birdsong identification. A great time was had by all and I was able to record much of what was going on with the birds in the ancient oak woods.

Sound Clips and Spectral Images – A set of these sound clips can be found below (remember to click through to the blog if you are reading this in an email) along with a couple of the spectral displays from the clips.

Tree Creeper Spectral

Tree Creeper Spectral

Tree Creeper

Tree Creeper

Black Cap Spectral

Black Cap Spectral

If you are interested in viewing the other spectral display images, you can see them in this StillWalks Flickr Set.

A set of photos from this park event can also be seen on the StillWalks Flickr page.

Bluebells at Coedbach

Bluebells at Coedbach

Oak Woods in Coedbach Park

Oak Woods in Coedbach Park

Listening to the Dawn Chorus
Listening to the Dawn Chorus

Rainy Days in Wales and England

Sorry to those of you who noticed the lack of a blog entry last week. Here are a couple of the many reasons for the omission.

Pant-y-Sais Fen – Last Friday I discovered this place by Jersey Marine near Swansea. This was part of a bird song identification walk with Bob Tallnack and others from the Gower Ornithological Society. It was most enjoyable in spite of the rain and the fen by Neath Canal is a beautiful place where I hope to do produce a StillWalk on some dry day in the future. More photos can be seen on Facebook.

You’ll need to click on the blog title in order to listen to the Chaffinch in this place as it can only be viewed on the actual blog.

Neath Canal

Neath Canal near Pant-y-Sais Fen, Jersey marine.

York’s River Ouse oozes out – It was still raining when I attempted a production day in York last Sunday – the photos here show the evidence. Fortunately, Monday morning brought the sun with it and although the waters had not receded much, I was still able to get the images and sound I need to produce a new StillWalk.

River Ouse, York

River Ouse, York

River Ouse, York

River Ouse, York

Millenium Bridge, River Ouse, York

Millenium Bridge, River Ouse, York

From the Millennium Bridge, Millenium Bridge, River Ouse, York

From the Millennium Bridge, Millenium Bridge, River Ouse, York

River Ouse, York

River Ouse, York

Monday Sun, River Ouse, York

Monday Sun, River Ouse, York

If I were to associate a StillWalks with this blog entry, I think it would be Quarry Walk – Autumn Rain even though it is the wrong season.