28 March 2006


A post-work dash resulted in a first-winter Med Gull at Caerleon plus a few Swallows and Sand Martins. Sounds OK dunnit? Unfortunately, I also stopped at Goldcliff Point for an hour during which time I saw nothing more exciting than a dead sheep moving (surprisingly swiftly) up-channel. On returning home and checking the GOS website, it would appear that I failed to see both a Common Scoter and a Little Gull... DOH! Either I need to sit higher up or stop watching dead sheep, arse. The total is now 112 but it feels like it's all going to pot.

25 March 2006

The first few signs

Finally, migrants have begun trickling into the county. I managed to dip a Black Redstart during the week and have yet to catch up with Wheatear and Sand Martin. However, bagged four Avocets today taking the total to 109, the plan was 120 by the end of March, might be a bit hard pressed to get that now.

13 March 2006


Two Goshawks kept the numbers ticking over, neither view was great but got a brief close look at a male and a prolonged distant look at a female.

12 March 2006

Famous Grouse

This morning found me up the Blorenge in search of Red Grouse, a potential Gwent tick due to the fact that I'd never bothered going looking for them. As far as I could tell, most of the mountain was covered in grouse poo, which was lucky, as this, and the odd feather, was all that was keeping my spirits up after the first hour or so of searching had resulted in exactly zero grouse. However, on the third traverse of the summit, a cracking male and his missus leapt from the heather and whirred off down the slope in the vague direction of Abergavenny (ka-ba ka-ba kabak kabak kabak karrrrrrrr). Unfortunately all the action was a tad rapid for photography, however, if you are into poo and feathers see below.

I spent the afternoon partaking of a sort of ornithological penance for the morning's good fortune; a dead 45 minutes of seawatching from Goldcliff Point was followed by a pretty uneventful hour at the pools. Only the first seen (as opposed to heard) Little Owl was new for the year.

05 March 2006

Wild Swan/Duck Chase

Went looking for Bewick's Swan and Scaup today, I saw neither, the swans weren't there and the 'scaup' wasn't a Scaup. Whilst searching through the Mute Swans in the Usk valley, I did manage to add Common Sandpiper to the year list, so the total plods onwards.

Having given up on the swans I dropped in at Uskmouth to look for the reported Scaup. Unfortunately, what I assume to be the bird in question, is a Pochard hybrid (pics below). This individual has been around for a while now and is quite striking when seen briefly, however, the bill pattern, grey wingbar, solidly dark mantle/scaps, Pochard-like head shape, dull iris and the shape of the pale patches on the head all point to a whole lot of Pochard genes (presumably inter-mixed with Tufted Duck?).

Ho-hum, another day birding in Gwent.