Spring 2009 part 2 - the living land (but quiet skies) -
April into May


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April continued fairly dry until towards the end when a transition to generally unsettled conditions occurred, with May so far being quite stormy at times and noticeably on the chilly side, mostly due to the wind/lack of prolonged sunshine. Decent weatherpix have been hard to come by, with the exception of May 16th - which will feature in the next entry in a week or three!

To make up for that, the wildflowers along the lanes and through the woodlands in the Dyfi Valley have been magnificent this year and deserve a bit of a mention. Here are a few photos, taken on the better days - mostly it has been too windy, with them blowing all over the place - hopeless for photography and not a lot one can do to compensate!

Bee on wood anemone

Wood-anenome with a busy bee!

Greater Stitchwort

Greater Stitchwort

Wild garlic

Wild garlic (or Ramsoms) - along the river, in patches of damp alder and willow woodland, its delicate smell (compared to cultivated garlic) gives its presence away at a distance....


All sorts of colours: from the garish (above)....


...to the more delicate.....

Common Cow-wheat

...to the elusive - this is common cow-wheat - but it's not that common!

Primrose and violets

The mix of colours in places is eye-catching - from this....

Bluebell woods - Dyfi Valley Spring 2009

...to this. The bluebell-woods have been seriously on-form this year. I used an ultrawide 12mm lens for these shots and was quite pleased with the results....

Bluebell woods - Dyfi Valley Spring 2009

The  knack with this south-facing woodland is to visit around Midday, so that the maximum light is coming in from overhead, as opposed to early morning or late afternoon - the norm with landscape photography.....

Bluebell woods - Dyfi Valley Spring 2009

.... there's  a window of opportunity that lasts just a week or two: before, there are too few bluebells flowering, whilst after, the leaves have grown to the point that you start to lose the light and too much shade is present. Luckily there were a couple of decent days within the window this year!

At Tonfanau

This was at Tonfanau at Easter - no idea who had done these - we just came across them - but they made an interesting subject on a warm cloudless day!


This was taken at sunrise on May 1st at Glandyfi, with a Cambrian Coast train on its way to Aberystwyth....


......whilst this was a few hours later as a front started to move in, heralding the unsettled weather.

Weed on the fishing-line

May is the month when the fishing is normally worthwhile, but the rough conditions have scuppered it a lot this year. When the winds were less harsh, the torn-up seaweed in the water presented a problem. It gets draped over the line like this - the stuff you can't see in the water is the problem, though!

Weed on the fishing-line

This lot was wrapped on the line from just one cast! When in the water, due to its resistance, it feels like dragging in a 20kg weight! You just have to pump it in gradually - trying to wind it in directly will strip the gears of a reel very quickly!


The fish were there, as this bass caught in a weed-free half hour testifies - but when the weed's on then there's no way of getting at them, so supper has to come from elsewhere! A pity, as I like eating really fresh fish, and rod-and-line fishing is the most sustainable way of fishing that I know of. It is selective - type of bait dictates type of fish you will catch - and size of bait/hook dictates the size of fish you will catch. There are no "discards" - as in the tonnes of undersize or over-quota fish that are dumped dead into the sea by trawlers adhering to the Common Fisheries Policy rules. You only take what you need - when you have caught that you stop fishing.


Stormwise, April was a thin month. There was some intense convection on the 28th but it wasn't that photogenic - it did produce the shelf-cloud illustrated above, but that's hardly spectacular!

Looking over the Dyfi Valley from the mountain road

Taken on the evening of the 28th on the way home, this convective cloud-bank and its shadow set off the sunlit Dyfi Valley nicely....

Showers near Caersws

This was on May 15th near Caersws, looking SW towards Mynydd Llandinam, where very heavy and thundery showers were drifting along. It was the first thunder I had heard in quite some time. The following day was much better - more about that soon!


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