Early start. Out on the Dolydd Hafren reserve with Iolo Williams soon after daybreak. Iolo is a star - and not just somebody 'good on TV' . He' a genuine star. A countryman to the core, a real expert in the field, and a thoroughly easy going bloke. We didn't see a lot today - a couple of goosanders, some teal, a distant flock of lapwing, a few curlews and yellowhammers. Oh, and we heard water rails. Iola reckons there is a spoonbill on the reserve as well, but not to be seen today. I have seen spoonbills at the Llanelli wetlands centre - but this is the first official sighting in Montgomeryshire. Highlight for me was when one of our number picked up an old bird's nest from the hedge - and with the most cursory of examination, Iolo said it was a Blackcap's nest. I thought he was having us on, but No. It was just that - and he explained how he knew. Mrs D was not able to come today - but I bet she would have been, if it had been summer - and Iolo's much vaunted thighs were on display!
And then it was off to deliver Xmas cards and buy Xmas presents. Went to Welshpool Hospital to deliver a card to a very old friend this afternoon, only to learn that he had died just before I arrived. I will be posting about this very special man tomorrow, when I'm certain that all his family know of his death. It wasn't shocking in that I'd been half expecting it - and he was a great age. But it is a very good man gone.
I feel that I've switched off politics for Xmas - but I intend to blog through the festival. It will probably be more personal stuff - with a strong strand of the countryside. A morning with Iolo has shown me that Ive been neglecting my love for 'rural' Montgomeryshire.