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Forest Farm

Forest Farm

So the time has come, my time at Aden Productions working on a Iolo Williams Tv Series for BBC has come to an end. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope I get more work with them in the future. At-least until I get another Job, my time is my own again, and I what better way to spend it than at Forest Farm Nature Reserve. It really is a wonderful sub-urban nature reserve and as a result, the wildlife there is so used to people. Snipe are regularly feeding out in the open, Goldcrest flitting about the hedgerows and to my surprise, a Male Brambling briefly flew in to join a drinking party alongside the stream. Kingfishers were busy, though I didn’t spend much time with those today. The Snipe really did put on a show, I hope to get them at a better hour and perhaps with some more direct light but still my best shots of Snipe thus far. A Sabre Wasp and Common Carder were the only insects spotted on the wing at Goytre Wharf yesterday. I must admit it was a bit of a shock to see most of the conifer plantation cut down, though the Sabre Wasp was making most of the dead wood to lay her eggs in. I was hoping to see a Wood Wasp, as this is the only site I’ve ever seen them, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

Forest Farm

Last week I made a visit to Forest Farm on what ended up being a beautiful sunny (but cold) day. Most of the day was spent in the first hide with a perfectly lit perch!.. but no Kingfishers. My patience in this case was working against me, as a later trip along the canal brought about some great opportunity with the Kingfishers along the canal, where they are so used to people, you can stand 10ft away from them without them flying away. I wished it was always that easy! A brief day time visit of a Red Fox was a highlight, that and sharing the hide with some great like minded people who share my love for wildlife. 

Is spring here already? Snowdrops and Daff's seem to think so, and I'm happy with that. 

Forest Farm

Inspired by a little Forest Farm Kingfisher action to setup something a little more local. With many of our Kingfishers finishing up their first brood, a lot of chicks are venturing out up and down our waterways. It's a good time of year to 'happen' by one if you're in the right spot. 

Little bunny Rabbit making the most of the greenery on the banks of the first hide at Forest Farm. Plenty of Rabbits around too! 

Jay Quiff

I've tried so many times to get a picture of a Jay with its crest up! And even though this picture does present the 'quiff' it is a ridiculous crop and I probably won't ever use it other than to show people who they can do. Jays are one of the most expressive Birds in the country! They express themselves not only by posture but their vocalisations go way beyond the typical squawk that you usually hear in the woodlands. They can mimic the sound of Buzzards and just like Magpies, they actually have a beautiful song which you hardly ever get to hear! When you watch them close up in places like Forest Farm, you can hear them making very quiet intricate sounds between each other. Very underrated birds and highly respectable. 

Forest Farm Inspiration

While Llandegfedds Feeding Station is in the making, I've taken the time to get some inspiration from Forest Farm. They have a very successful feeding station with regular activity and plenty of photographers there to lap up the opportunity. Plus, they have Kingfishers. The end. 

Kingfishers @ Forest Farm

Doesn't look like the Great Northern Divers stuck around Llandegedd having only been seen early hours of this morning so having had another hot chocolate at the visitors centre, I headed off to Forest Farm for another session with the Kingfishers. I wished I had my recording gear actually because the Water Rail were putting on quite a show with their vocalisations between each other in the reed bed. The Kingfishers at Forest Farm are really easy to observe this time of year. Despite there being plenty of places to fish on the reserve, there is usually 1 or 2 that actively use the ponds and perches provided by friends of forest farm. This single male came in 7 times during my short time there, each time taking 1-2 fish. Must be plenty of fish in there! 


It got rather dark in the evening and ideally for detailed shots you need to get as close as you can to your subject but this was about as good as I could get without pushing ISO too high on the Camera. ISO 800 on this shot.

Internet is back!!

Whether Sky fixed my Wifi problem after a week or whether it fixed itself is unclear at this present time but either way I'm making the most of it while it is working! 

You haven't missed much though! If you live in around Pontypool, you would have experienced the soggy weather we've been experiencing in the past week or so. I've tried my best to get out in it however and sporting a new 'Weather Proof' bag, I've braced the elements to try and get some shots from the local Park. 

Below are a few of my favourites from my visit to a wonderful hidden gem of a sight called Forest Farm in Cardiff. 

Not the first time that Mink has been seen at Forest Farm. Something that is slightly, especially if 'Friends of Forest Farm' plan on releasing any Watervowl in the future. Some Mink traps may be on the list of things to do in the future as this location isn't just a hotspot for food for the Mink, but also a good spot for the Mink to breed with a Canal, Stream and River for the Mink to hunt in. 

Odd Weekend Out

If there was one thing I've learned this weekend, it's to stay with what your familiar with this time of year, if you'd like to get better pictures that is. I ventured to a few different sights this weekend, Magor Marsh, Forest Farm, WWT Llanelli and Parc Slip, all in a bid to explore new locations to broaden my species list this year. Although all these locations were beautiful and diverse, I wished I stayed home and worked my local patch. Not only would I have got better photographs but I would have had more time in the field. I really don't think I made the most of the sunlight we had on Saturday and a full rainy/cloudy day on Sunday really made me realise how much that sun makes a difference to our wildlife activity. At WWT Llanelli there wasn't a single Dragonfly in sight! That said, we spent more time exploring the place than digging. 

Wildlife Weekend @ Magor Marsh & Forest Farm

Well, April has been an eventful month! With spring bursting into action, followed by a couple weeks of really nice weather, it's almost like playing a game of catch up! I don't want to miss a thing this year if I can help it which means devoting my spare time to visit various places around Gwent, Monmouthshire and Cardiff. The weekend started with me and my partners first visit to Magor Marsh and we were instantly greeted by a Watervowl right next to our car! Apparently, the 2 by the car park are very familiar with people and don't shy away upon getting close which allowed me to get some pretty decent shots right away. We met some lovely people there on both of our visits this weekend to Magor Marsh, both of which are very nice contacts to have so I hope they get in touch for future collaboration in conservation. While exploring Magor, I managed to get 2 photos that I've been trying to get for a long time, firstly in the shape of a Cetti's Warbler which ALWAYS manages to avoid my camera, but not this time! I also managed to frame two Orange-tip Butterflies together, both male and female! 

We ended the weekend with a late visit to Forest Farm and while the majority of the time there was quite quiet, perseverance paid off while waiting that extra hour longer as we were greeted by a hunting Red Fox who was actively chasing Rabbits and Magpies.