If you go down to the woods today . . .

. . . you’ll find some strange wooden serpents slithering through the undergrowth. This Loch Ness monster like  fallen branch is classic shape from the crooked oak trees of the woods in Coedbach Park.

It is not the first time I have photographed this particular piece of wood, but it is in a different position in the woods now, so it is obviously on the move!

Wooden Serpent

Crooked Oak Trees

Flags in the pond

Twisted Details – Oak Trees After Autumn

Zooming in from the Welsh landscape overview in my previous post, I can reveal some of the twisted details of our local park. The oak trees of Coedbach Park in Pontarddulais, are wonderful in all seasons, but when the leaves are gone they truly reveal their twisted, crooked forms.

Twisted Oak Trees

Photo taken on my iPhone 5c. Click the photo to enlarge.

This week’s featured StillWalks video started out as an experiment to see if I could produce an acceptable video using only my iPhone 4s to take the photos and record the sound. Here is the result – Forest Walk – Summer”

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Forest Walk – Summer” which is at Fforest, Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Memories in the Park

Recently we have been going through what most parents do at that time when their children take flight and leave the family home. Both our girls are now at university and the house feels so, so empty. There seem to be so many things that make us notice that they are not with us, such as singing along to their music in the front room – a regular activity that meant they were always there in the background, if not actually talking to us!

During a mid week visit to our local park to meet a photographer from the local paper (the South Wales Evening Post will be running an article about StillWalks on Tuesday), I was reminded of the girls when they were younger.

I had the StillWalks kit with me for the photo shoot and took the opportunity of getting some shots from the playground which was nearby. In doing so I was reminded of Ellen and Hannah and the times we pushed them on the swings and watched them climbing and playing on the various pieces of equipment.

Coedbach Park-11

Coedbach Park-8

Coedbach Park-10

Coedbach Park-13

You can use the new Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video. Click the image below to watch the video.

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A Very Distinctive Voice

This bird has a very distinctive voice but I would need my bird expert, Martin Humphreys, to identify it for me.

I thought I was getting better at bird identification from their songs but it seems there doesn’t need to be much of a gap in practice for the knowledge gained to all go out the window.

Bird in Park

In Coedbach Park


Sundown in Coedbach Park

Blackbirds and Co

Taking a walk in the park the other evening we heard and saw this Blackbird and others as well as enjoying the Bluebells. Photos and sound recorded on my iPhone.

Blackbird singing


Evening in the Park

By the time I took these photos on my iPhone on my way back home from Coedbach Park the Blackbirds had stopped singing to each other.

Unique circumstances – I am sorry I didn’t record them – there are so many of them in the park and the breeze was blowing the sound of motorway traffic out to sea so it could hardly be heard at all – like I always say, “the circumstances of what we see and here are always unique to the time and place!”

Coedbach Park

Coedbach Park

Going Pipistrelle Batty at the Weekend

Last Friday night was a first for me – I found myself without a torch in our local park hunting for bats. It didn’t occur to me to take a torch but fortunately there were plenty of other people there to whom it had occurred and a great time was had by all.

Click here to listen on the blog to the sound of Common Pipistrelle bats in Coedbach Park last Friday night or here on SoundCloud.

Steve Lucas, Welsh Bat Officer with the Bat Conservation Trust gave a fascinating talk/slideshow about the various species of bats and their habitats until it got dark. Then we ventured out and were given bat detectors to use in the woods and along the hedgerows. We heard three different types of bat in Coedbach Park – Common and Soprano Pipistrelles and a Whiskered bat.

Seeing with Sound – The bat detectors respond to the very high frequencies bats use as their “sonar device” to detect and catch insects and “see” their surroundings – bats, however, are not blind. The frequency range of a Pipistrelle bat is around 45Khz (kilohertz). The range of the RODE NTG-3 shotgun mic I use for StillWalks recording (see the last blog entry) has a range that goes up to 20Khz and so has no chance of picking up the sound of bats!

The sound file above is a recording of the output of the bat detectors we were using made on my Edirol RO9 recorder – the hiss is mostly from the bat detectors but the sound patterns of the bats are quite clear. Adults and children alike were excited and fascinated to hear the bats at first hand rather than on a TV programme and I, for one, am looking forward to the next time.