Last week I posted my ‘Wonderful Wild Wales – by the sea’ blog and I’ve had lots of really great comments; like me, loads of people love the sea, love Wales and love wildlife!!!
So, this week’s blog is the ‘land version’ of my ‘wild week of Welsh Wildlife’
Ynys-hir is a nature reserve in mid-Wales and was once featured on BBC Springwatch – I can understand why they chose to feature it on TV as it is packed with wildlife. Being near the Dyfi Osprey Project they definitely see Ospreys and I also know for a fact that they get 2 species of harrier – marsh and hen.
We stopped off on our way to our cottage so could only spend a couple of hours on the reserve. It was so peaceful and tranquil and we spotted loads of birds, butterflies and I think a bank vole. It’s a great place to walk round, climb on dead trees and visit the bird hides
If I were to tell you all the wildlife they get at Ynys-Hir it would take me all day. They kindly gave me this sheet, which I ended up using all week to list all the wildlife I spotted – nearly a full house!
We have never been to the actual reserve at Ynys-hir before and this was a quick visit, but I think we will definitely be back for a longer walk round next time!
Welsh Wildlife Centre at the Teifi Marshes
The Welsh Wildlife Centre is a definite whilst we are on our holidays in Ceredigion. It is a lovely area, with a great balance of land, river and marshland. It’s so pleasant walking round the reserve and it was great to see the water buffalo, who return about this time every year to graze on the land.
I was really angry when I visited last year as some vandals had burnt down one of the hides. So, it was great to see the new replacement – it’s great!
A couple of months before our visit a bittern had been showing off to the public – there had been loads of video footage and photos on the centre’s Facebook page, but it hadn’t been seen for a while. The final bird hide on our walk is the Kingfisher hide and we spent about 10 minutes in there before my Mum asked me to come over to where she was sat. She said “George is that bittern over there?” and there it was, the bittern, which had just walked out of the reeds, you could see it’s long thick neck and beak. I couldn’t believe it, the whole bird hide went crazy as keen birders got a fantastic view of this rare and elusive bird!!!
When I returned to the visitor’s centre I felt so chuffed to be able to write ‘bittern’ on the wildlife board – what an honour! We were on an absolute high as we went for lunch in The Glasshouse – this is my Mum’s favourite café in the whole wide world, which is praise indeed cos she’s a food fanatic!
What an amazing wildlife encounter and a big tick for the bittern!
So, we’ve been going to mid-Wales for our Easter holidays for 7 years now and it’s always great to find somewhere new and this time, it’s Sculpture Heaven , which is a family run place and free to get in. It includes a garden full of sculptures, veg patch and gorgeous tearoom.
Most of the sculptures are designed and hand made by the lovely owner, Terry, who greeted us when we jumped out of our car. This was the first day of their season and we were almost the first there! Terry quickly showed us round his workshop and shop and explained how we were free to roam round the garden and enjoy ourselves, which believe me, we did!
The sculptures also blended in well with each section of the garden and I particularly loved the Japanese area with it’s very own Zen garden and here’s the thing which is great, the owners encourage you to get involved, so that’s just what I did!
The sculptures are very detailed, well presented and I liked the way that you could get involved in them, some were ‘puzzle’ themed – like the wooden box that housed, divining rods, which encouraged guests to walk forward in search of water – I loved that.
We later met Rose, who was very friendly and nice and obviously a great baker as her cakes were absolutely gorgeous! My Mum was in ‘Cake Heaven’ after trying the almond and ginger macaroons! My Dad had mint tea, which was home-grown and brewed in this special tea pot. Rose and Terry ask for a suggested donation of £4 for the cakes and brew and all profit goes to The Halo Trust.
We bought a few things for our garden and my Dad’s already hung them up at home. I really enjoyed my visit to Sculpture Heaven, it really inspired me to have sculptures in my own garden!!!
Dyfi Osprey Project
We usually visit the Dyfi Osprey Project on the way home and over the years it has really grown in popularity. Every year we go there are more people visiting and more work has been done by the volunteers – I liked the new bird hide by the way. No wonder the ospreys return here every year, it’s like a 5* hotel !
Ospreys are large raptors that have a brown back and white underside. They have strong claws to catch fish, which is their only food source. In flight they have kinked wings and when they are hunting they dive from a height in to water. It was great to see Monty and Glesni back on the nest – when I visited an egg had just been laid and another came on Easter Sunday; I believe there’s 3 now!
As you can see from the pictures, it’s not all about ospreys at the Dyfi, they also get a lot of small garden birds too. One we saw last year is called a yellow hammer, their song is very distinctive as it sounds like they say “a little bit of bread and no cheese!”
What a great way to round off a really FANASTIC holiday, but unfortunately we had to turn left out of the car park and head home (wish we could have turned right and done the holiday all over again!)
We had the most amazing time and I can’t write all of this without mentioning the most important thing……where we stayed at Penlon Farm. It’s the fourth time we have stayed there and we all LOVE IT! If you ever fancy staying in the area, then have a nosey at Gari and Debbie’s farm cottages, they are just the best.
Here’s to the next holiday, Scotland this time….bring it on!