When you live busy lives, it can be nearly impossible to slow down enough to appreciate nature. Luckily for me I have a canal at the top of my street to quickly engage with wildlife and the sounds of nature. That said, it still takes me a good 5-10 minutes to get in tune with the pace you need to walk at to absorb everything you are hearing. You often miss out on great opportunities just because your full of adrenaline and not paying attention to the details. The reason I'm saying this is because today was a perfect example of the reward of patience and observation as I caught onto the sound of a group of Long-tailed Tits just off the canal path in sebastopol in the woodland opposite my house. I followed the sound carefully because I knew what could have been waiting for me if I did find the source and there it was! 10 baby Long-tailed Tits in a row being fed by their parents and falling asleep between feeds. I hunkered down in the bush as not to disturb them and observed them for as long as I could without disturbance. It was great seeing the parents trying to work out which chick they hadn't fed yet and also see that despite being able to fly, they chose to huddle up like that to keep warm and safe. LTT do this at night to sleep and with a large set of chicks like this you can expect to see up to 20 individuals cuddled up to keep warm. It is an incredible sight to see and so charismatic. 

In other news, I finally came about the terrapin that has been sighted on the Canal for many years. 1 of many i'm sure! It would be interesting to know how these animals have survived and also if they have an effect on our native wildlife/plants. I haven't seen them in huge numbers before so have no reason to believe that they are of threat to our native ecosystem but, that isn't enough to go on and a study should really be done. 

I personally loved seeing the terrapin.. They are beautiful creatures but, if they are harming the environment, something should be done about

For the sake of convenience I tend to stick to the North side of Llandegfedd via the Fishermans Car Park as it gives me access to more hides and usually more wildlife. The last 2 trips however have been pretty bleak so today I went on a bit of an adventure to parts of Llandegfedd that remain fairly quiet. I've marked on a map the exact walk I did with crosses on the access points. Once you get to bill smiths bay looking at Petingale Wood, you really are dropped into the wilderness with no signs of human activity. As a result, breeding birds have used this secluded part of Llandegfedd for years and it currently holds one of the largest Heronry and Cormorant nesting sites in Wales. It is very surreal looking at so many huge birds in a tree. The chicks are well along their growth cycle now and a pair of Ravens were present ready to lap up any remaining food that the parents bring back.  We also have very small numbers of Mandarin breeding but I didn't look for the nesting site and wouldn't want to publicise that anyway as this is fairly new for Llandegfedd and their numbers aren't great despite being on the increase in Gwent. A Hobby was also seen towards the end of my trip near the road side on Glascoed Lane, a Whitethroat showed briefly and also heard a Redstart calling (which is great news after last years failure to return to a previously successful nest box). Also nice to see a Reed Bunting back on breeding territory after last years poor numbers onsite. If you've followed activity on the Llandegfedd Wildlife Page on facebook, you would have noticed a post about a Blackbirds nest in the memorial hide. Well, safe to say by the picture below that they have grown quite a bit since I last saw them and thankfully all 3 are still in the nest. Not long before fledging though and then they were face the true challenge of the outdoors.