Gaze lovingly into one another’s eyes, take romantic strolls through mysterious forests, along scenic hilltops or dramatic coasts and treat your partner to a fancy meal or bouquet of flowers. Here are just some of the many ways you can express your feelings with St Dwynwen's Day on 25 January and Valentine’s Day on 14 February. Did you also know that nature has its very own traits when it comes to showing off their affection? Here are just some of the quirky standouts…
In April at the break of dawn, male black grouse will assemble and display by fanning out feathers, strutting and uttering bubbling sounds - all in the name of love. Called ‘lekking’, this will normally take place in open areas away from woodlands and normally tends to include 10 or fewer black grouse, although up to 30 is possible! The leks will include mid-air fights, tail fanning and courtship calls before the female decides on her preferred partner. From March through to early May, you’ll have your very own chance to witness this famous courtship display as the black grouse walks return to Llandegla Forest. Find out more here.
From February to June, great crested grebes will put on their very own flamboyant show of ballet on lakes and reservoirs around Wales. With their black and orange facial colouring, the grebes will elegantly slide towards each other and flick their heads from side to side. The courtship will conclude with both birds holding tufts of water weeds in their bills, paddling furiously to maintain an upright position, chest to chest - before finally settling back down and waiting for the judges’ scorecards.
Take a day out in the uplands to witness the courtship ritual of a male hen harrier acrobatically rising and plunging repeatedly to an invisible audience, hoping to tempt the on-looking female hen harrier to take him as her mate. This spectacular sky dance display can be seen in the uplands at springtime, when the male and female chase and tumble high over the moors and forests in a frenetic dance.
Over the summer, keep an eye out at RSPB South Stack for puffins showing their affection by ‘billing’. They will romantically rub their beaks together in way humans may kiss each other. This display will usually draw a crowd of puffins to share in the excitement. However, should the males find competition, an aggressive encounter may develop. By puffing up their body to look bigger and opening their wings and beaks, stomping their brightly coloured feet to show displeasure at the competition in front of them, they will aim to entice their desired partner to make them their first choice.
Images in order they appear: Hen harrier by Mark Thomas, black grouse by Andy Lane and puffins by John Bowler.
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