Thursday, August 12, 2004

Gryf Rhys-Jones and other ancient monuments

On Thursday we had planned to visit Fishguard, but frankly, when we got there it didn't really seem up to much and despite nearly running Gryf Rhys-Jones over in our hurry to leave we managed to pick up some grub and head for Pentre Ifan burial chamber. This remarkable set of stones dates from about 3500BC and it is impossible not to wonder at the effort involved in moving the enormous slabs, which still appear to teeter precariously despite remaining solidly in place for five and half thousand years. The collosal capstone rests on the pinpoints of three uprights and walking through and around the structure it frames stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

We saw none of the fairies that local legend speaks of but a Raven was just one of what must be a thriving local population. One party of 9 we saw from the road was bettered by an astonishing flock of 17 on the slopes of Mynydd Caregog; comfortably the most I have ever seen gathered together. A Hobby dashed past us not far from there as we headed back north to Cilgerran and its fabulous castle. The steep, wooded hillsides of the Teifi here are packed with woodland birds and we explored the precipitous parapets of the ruin to the tune of Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay.

Back at the house a Greenshank was added to the Whimbrel, Curlew, Common Sandpiper and Oystercatcher that were regular along the estuary and a Little Egret was feeding just below on the mud. We also watched a Little Egret from the extreme comfort of the Ferry Inn later that evening and as many as 20 Common Sandpipers flew in a noisy group together up and down the river as high tide approached.

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