Summer in the Glaslyn Valley

As I drive down the track once more, the sun is already high and its light makes dappled patterns through the old oak trees. The breeze brings a shimmering to the shadowed world beneath the canopy, with the leaves dancing in its wake. I have my windows open, letting in the sounds of the valley and I’m serenaded by bird song from the wrens and willow warblers. The harsh light across the fields is visible before I break out into the open. The sky is a deep blue with the few clouds shadowing the tops of the surrounding hills and mountains. Summer has truly taken over from the spring now and the flowers are starting to finish their show. The irises have faded and the foxgloves are coming to their final flowers but the bramble blossom is more plentiful and there is even greater promise of autumn fruits. The day is warm and there are hours more for the real heat to grow but the breeze will be welcome high up in that fir tree.

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The three chicks have grown up over the last fortnight and they are now looking more like their parents. They try to shelter from the sun under the female’s shadow but there is really only room for one, two at most. The eldest is starting to stand up to its full height with some first tentative flaps of its wings; it will be only a matter of weeks before they are all taking their first flights. It’s amazing to think that in just a few short months, these chicks will have changed from hatchlings to intercontinental flyers – it does show how remarkable nature can be.

The valley really is full of life. From the birds in the woodland and over the open fields, to the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies searching the meadows, hedgerows and water, and the fish in the river, darting from cover to cover. Whilst the focus may be on the young ospreys, the volunteers at the protection site are surrounded by new life; there are parties of young swallows, blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, redstarts and wrens, flitting, rambling and racing around the area.

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I spent the day divided between the caravan, the bridge and a sunny spot between the two. I even sat on the river bank for a time, dangling my feet in the cool water; a spot from where I got a different perspective on the scene and I was surrounded by flying life. The swallows were collecting mud from the riverbanks and were dropping low over the river, scooping up mouthfuls of the water. A moth (well I need to look up exactly what it was) hovered by my side, about a foot above the river, then dropped to dip its abdomen into the water before returning to its hover; it repeated this process several times and then flew off out of sight.

A walker with a dog went through on the footpath today. I gave him the usual warning but he was intent on going through. He stuck to the footpath and although both adults left the next, it was difficult to tell whether they were worried by him or were simply continuing their daily battles with their crow neighbours.

So much for only ever being there in the cold, rain and wind – that’s now two shifts in a row at Glaslyn with lovely weather. This will be my last visit for a few weeks but hopefully I’ll see the chicks again before they make their way south.

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