Lisa G Saw
In April 2017, during my Easter break, I visited Brecon for a few days and then drove on to Cardiff to visit a few friends. I was keen to experiment with my new camera (Canon 5D Mark III). Thanks to the lovely long days I was able to enjoy a little photo outing and walk on the first afternoon, after I'd checked into my hotel. I drove up to Blaen-y-Glyn, just beyond the Talybont Reservoir, within the Brecon Beacons National Park. There were some lovely waterfalls to explore and I spotted a couple of Grey Wagtails. That evening there was a pretty amazing sunset over the River Usk, in the town of Brecon itself. However, I was quite amazed at how much bigger the town had expanded compared to when I had last visited about 20 years before. Back then, I'd been standing in a field to take a photo of the Castle Hotel on the other side of the river. Now there were lots of buildings, where the town had expanded.
I started the next day with a drive along the country roads south of Brecon, at the foot of Brecon Beacons and then headed east to Crickhowell, with it's lovely picturesque stone bridge. I walked through the park on the north side of the river, admiring all the beautiful wild flowers and then noticed an Orange Tipped Butterfly. Apparently, one of the first signs of Spring! From here I drove up to Llangors Lake, but rather than park on the busy north side where all the activities take place, I parked at the little church near Llangasty-Talyllyn on the south side of the lake and walked through some fields to the bird hide. I spotted the wren and thrush in the woodland just surrounding the hide. On the walk back, I was little unnerved by all the cows that had decided they would stand right in my way of the path going through the field. I took a large detour across the field to avoid them. In the next field were some young calves - very cute. This one was hiding in a bush until he thought it was safe to come out. I took these photos hiding behind some trees on the other side of the style so it's mother wasn't too cross with me!
My hotel was lovely, but on the second night, the fire alarm went off at about 3am and it was pretty damn cold standing outside! On my last morning I enjoyed a walk for a couple of hours along the canal, which starts in Brecon. It was lovely. I then cut down to the river and decided to come back another way, which proved blissfully quiet (I didn't pass anyone, just a few sheep) and it was actually more scenic. In the afternoon, I headed south and wanted to revisit a favourite area filled with waterfalls, which I used to love visiting when I lived in Cardiff. The walk is just south of the village of Ystradfellte and since I took my time taking lots of photos and experimenting with slow shutter speeds, it took me a good four hours to do. But was worth it! I thought the water was called Angel Falls, but now it is known as Sgwd-yr-Eira (Waterfall of the Snow). So, either I got it wrong all those years ago, or its name has been changed! The whole area there is stunning and I would highly recommend it! Just before I left one of the waterfalls I spotted this dipper. Another bird I'd not seen before. It's quite remarkable, you see it's white eyelids when it closes its eyes!
When I was in Cardiff I had a lovely walk around Cardiff Bay and was lucky enough to spot a pair of Great Crested Grebes and a Pied Wagtail. I could have watched the grebe for hours, but my friend wasn't quite so tempted! I can't visit Cardiff without going to Roath Park Lake. It was very close to where I used to live. I used to rollerblade around the park when I was a student. I knew on this occasion there was a very good chance I'd see the signs of spring. It didn't disappoint! First were the goslings - so cute and fluffy with tiny little wings. There were a large number of coots and their chicks. They're easy to spot as they look like mini punk rockers! I've included one sequence of photos because it was fabulous to watch how the parent was feeding two chicks. One definitely wanted all the food for itself and seemed quite put out when it was given to another. It's intriguing how they tilt their head sideways to feed and their tiny little wings too. I included the photo of the splash of water, because I rather like this abstract image, which was taken just after a coot disappeared underwater. On my last morning I went back one more time and was rewarded with a sighting of a bird I'd not seen before, which I think is a Fieldfare (kind of thrush), a cute squirrel eating in a tree and a coupel of mallard ducklings. The third to last one is one of my favourite photos! Maybe even good enough for the Countryfile Calendar, I reckon!