Each year I’m always caught off guard by the rapid greening of our landscape. After months of nothing but barren browns it’s as if we wake one morning to discover that the decorators have paid a visit and given the whole place a fresh lick of paint, green the dominant colour of course but with details picked out here and there in pink, yellow and blue. Nowhere have I found this rapid transformation more impactful than on my own local patch, an area which I’ve visited significantly less often this year than I’d have liked. Last time we walked this way for instance, en-route to the fallen trig, there was still a cold wind blowing and our first Swallows had just arrived. Last night numbers had swelled considerably and joining the aerial display I was delighted to see a pair of Swifts passing high above, their screaming calls surely the sound of summer and one of my top wild experiences to seek out at this time of year. I just can’t help but smile every time I hear them. Perhaps they too were enjoying this revitalised landscape.

P1150577 - Cwm Dulais

Over on Gopa Hill I paused for a while beneath the deep shade of ancient Beech trees to watch a Blue Tit dart amongst their great boughs, its beak stuffed with a plump green caterpillar. Its reluctance to travel very far must have meant that a nest was nearby so I moved on, ragged plumage a sure sign that this adult was already working hard enough as it was. Higher up a glimpsed Willow Warbler tried to tempt me into a chase but I’ve learnt the hard way that I’m no match for these crafty passerines and besides, it was far too hot anyway.

Thankfully a slight breeze lessened the humidity up at Bryn-bach-Common where Meadow Pipits and Skylarks flitted across the Bracken, their own precious families discretely hidden within. The rattling of a Mistle Thrush alerted me to the presence of a flock of Starlings in the distance but my focus was on a pair of Linnets nearby. Feeding from one of the few remaining Gorse bushes here they pulled that classic Linnet trick of fleeing just as you raise the camera, the result being this somewhat distant effort.

P1150583 - Linnet

Raptor wise I had to make do with a lone Buzzard drifting overhead although this gronking Raven looked suitably impressive, silhouetted atop one of the electricity pylons which march across this valley like giants.

P1150579 - River

All in all then a successful four mile ramble for day four of 30 Days Wild, but for day five, today, I wanted to keep things even closer to home. Last year we sowed a small selection of wildflower seeds in our garden and the resulting display was impressive and has seen a few returnees this spring. We could do more though, a whole lot more, so have spent the last hour or so predominantly being eaten by midges but also managing to sow this little lot.

P1150587 - Wildlflower Meadow in progress

The hope is that in the next few weeks we should be able to offer our visiting bees a much greater variety of feeding opportunities and who knows, we might finally get a few butterflies popping in too.


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