A Week in Wales

A week of sunshine, clouds, rain, thunder and lightning. Sometimes all in one day.

A week of hiking through Welsh woodlands, splashing through streams, trooping up and down steep slopes, carrying kit and kids, avoiding stinging nettles, branches and sheep poo. Of stopping to admire the view. From steep sloping valleys, a patchwork of woodland and fields, and the winding rivers below, to woodlands where moss grows so thick everything glows green.

A week of checking nest boxes, excitedly peeking inside and hoping for chicks, steering clear of slugs, spiders, wasps and bees.

A week of ringing tiny chicks, from brown and spotty Pied Flycatchers, blue and yellow Blue Tits, to spiky brown Starlings with huge yellow gapes.

Pied Flycatcher chicks in a nest

A week of catching adult Pied Flycatchers from the nest boxes, the brown and white of the females and black and white of the male.

A week of sitting in the comfort of a living room, watching families of Starlings flock to the feeders, the young scoffing the seed and fat balls, but still begging to be fed from a nearby adult. Of being transfixed by a pale Starling. Its feathers whitish beige rather than the usual dark brown of the fledged young. A ghost Starling.

Leucistic young Starling

A week of setting nets and catching a whole menagerie of species, from Starling, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay to Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Siskin and House Sparrow.

A week in Wales.

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