Gales at Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad
Strange to think that the day before this had all been covered in snow, a far cry from the warm sunshine which greeted my arrival at Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad on Sunday. In its place were near gale force winds, the effect from which was to make the surrounding cliffs roar like nothing I've ever heard. My main reason for visiting was to try and unearth a Ring Ouzel or two but with conditions such as they were I was having trouble picking out even a Stonechat. Clearly I needed to find some shelter and ended up tucking in behind the wall of this ruined farmers hut.
Protected from the worst of the wind I had a prime vantage point from which to scan the hillside but alas couldn't pick out my quarry. Instead I was treated to one of the local Peregrine Falcons giving a Raven a serious piece of its mind. The first pass sent its larger rival diving to the ground following which the Peregrine headed off as if giving up. In fact what it was doing was just gaining a run up for its next attack which involved climbing slightly before diving back down with wings swept right back and talons hanging low. Only at the last minute did it pull up, just missing ground and Raven alike. Clearly this was warning enough as the Raven chose its moment and scurried away from danger, its own partner not far behind. Following this show of strength the Peregrine did a lap of honour before returning to its perch, completely oblivious to this open mouthed wanderer sat far below. What a sight to have witnessed.
I stuck around for a while longer and saw the Peregrine once more before setting off for the summit of Fan Frynych. As can be seen above the views in all directions were spectacular but with every meter gained I became more and more exposed to the wind. I dread to think what conditions were like up on Pen y Fan but it certainly wasn't stopping hundreds of visitors from making the ascent.
The summit trig was much as I remembered it though those Welsh dragons have faded somewhat over the intervening months. About the only birds I could find were Skylarks, somehow still managing to sing from up high despite the blustery conditions. Slightly more sheltered though clearly frost damaged were several clumps of Frogspawn before I decided that enough was enough and headed back down for lower altitudes and hopefully some calm. On days such as this it's often hard to find an image to portray the wind but I think these trapped strands of grass do a pretty good job. There were plenty more blowing through the air.
In the end no Ring Ouzels then but give it another couple of weeks and I'll try again.