Latest Sightings        

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 Coed-Y-Canddo Wood , New Inn Pontypool Great Spotted Woodpecker
Sat, 25 Feb 2017 Mynydd Llangatwg Skylark
Fri, 24 Feb 2017 Cwmbran Peregrine

Latest News

Join us on Saturday, 4th March to hear Mike Leach

'Beneath the Dark Canopy'- A tropical rainforest is the richest terrestrial habitat on earth.

Mike Leach, full time author, photographer and professional naturalist, will take us to various rainforests around the world and give a glimpse of the animals and creatures that call it home. He has travelled to all seven continents and worked with the worlds most charismatic animals.

Come along to enjoy and be amazed at locations that most of us are unlikely to visit.   7:30 pm Saturday March 4th, Goytre Village Hall. Entry £2.00 

M4 Corridor around Newport
It is not too late to have your say on the proposed M4 Black Route around Newport.
The Public Inquiry begins at Lysaghts Institute, Newport on February 28th, when it is hoped that a demonstration against the proposal will take place outside of the Institute building.
You can also write to your AM to voice your concerns regarding the environmental impact the proposed route would have on the Gwent Levels and associated SSSIs.
You can easily e-mail your AMs and MP by logging on to www.writetothem.com
Also check out the Gwent Wildlife Trust pages regarding the M4 proposals, http://www.gwentwildlife.org/how-you-can-help/m4-relief-road-help-us-protect-gwent-levels
Gwent Wildlife Trust are also inviting those concerned to show their strength of feeling and concern over the current proposals for the Black Route, by joining them at the opening of the Public Inquiry on 28 February 2017 at the Lysaght Institute, Orb Drive, Newport, NP19 0HE (next to B&Q). A crowd will gather from 8.30am, dispersing at 9.45am as people leave or go in to join the Public Inquiry, which starts promptly at 10am.
Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers
 For those observers lucky enough to have seen Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers recently we would draw your attention to the following link
         http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=6194 which highlights a current research project that you may wish to be involved in.
Avian Flu - period further extended

The Welsh Government has announced a new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, in place from 28 February until 30 April.

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has also confirmed there will be some important changes to the measures that will apply within the new all-Wales Prevention Zone.

The current Prevention Zone requires all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors or take all appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds, and to enhance biosecurity.

This follows a number of confirmed cases of avian flu across the UK, including in a backyard flock of chicken and ducks near Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire. 

The new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone requires all keepers to complete a self assessment of biosecurity measures on their premises. The objective being to keep domestic flocks totally separate from wild birds by continuing to keep birds housed or using other measures, which may include permitting controlled access to outside areas, subject to the introduction of additional risk mitigation measures. 

Avian Flu


Reports of Avian Influenza in wild birds, poultry and captive birds are continuing with several new EU countries affected (Finland, France, Romania and Sweden). There have now been 35 outbreaks in domestic poultry, five in captive birds (Germany and Netherlands), one in captive wild birds (France) and over 150 reports of wild bird die-offs.  The viruses associated with these events share high genetic similarity but may have been introduced via different migratory pathways/species.  No cases have been confirmed in the UK at present.

The risk to the UK has been raised by Defra to ‘medium’ based on how likely it is that avian influenza may reach the UK in wild birds.  The migration season is expected to peak between December and January.

As a result an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone has been declared. It introduces a requirement for all bird keepers to put in place, where practical, additional biosecurity measures to protect their birds from the risk from wild birds.  The Zone covers the whole of Wales and requires the immediate and compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks, or where this is not practical, their complete separation from contact with wild birds. For farmed geese, gamebirds and other captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep these birds separate from wild birds.  This zone will remain in place for 30 days from 6th December 2016.

What you need to know and do

As a result of new cases in Europe last week, both Defra and Welsh Government have issued the following guidance.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, you should report them to the DEFRA helpline on:03459 33 55 77 (preferred option), or email: defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk.

Please adhere to this guidance.  If you receive calls from the public please make sure they are referred to the Defra helpline. 

Further information can be found on the Welsh Government and Defra websites.

Llandegfedd Reservoir permits and keys

As you know, during the winter months (from 1 October to 1 March) a permit is required to access the north end of the reservoir.  This may be bought at the Visitor Centre near the dam at the south end of the reservoir (ST328986) at a cost of £8.  Keys to the gate, which is locked during this period, are now available again and may be also be obtained here – a key costs £6.  Phone Welsh Water on 01495 769281 for Centre opening times.

WOS Lifetime Achievement Award 2016
Many congratulations to GOS President Steve Roberts, the recipient of the 2016 WOS Lifetime Achievement Award.  
Iolo Williams presented the well-deserved award to Steve at the recent WOS Conference in Myddfai.  The citation reads: 
Steve was introduced to a lifetime of ornithology by Bert Hamar, the founder of the Gwent Ornithological Society. Steve's father had died when he was young and Bert took him on his birdwatching walks.  Bert showed him a Mallard's nest full of eggs and young Steve was immediately hooked. He has spent the rest of his time seeking out and researching birds and, particularly, their nests.  His work has been mainly on the rarer raptors: Hobby, Goshawk and Honey-buzzard.  Steve's long-term monitoring of these species has added considerably to the accumulated knowledge of what had been thought of as difficult birds to study. 
Steve, with others, has undertaken a long term study of Honey-buzzards, leading to two landmark papers published in British Birds in 1999 and 2014.  For decades, the secrecy surrounding this special woodland raptor made it difficult to bring together such knowledge, yet understanding of the species’ habits and behaviour during the breeding season is a critical step towards their effective conservation.
Steve has not worked alone.  Jerry Lewis is often his collaborator and Steve has shared his knowledge with others willing to help, including WOS President Iolo Williams.  Steve is an accomplished and apparently fearless climber.  The work at the nest is almost always Steve's.  This makes him a much sought-after specialist and he travels worldwide to climb to, study and photograph iconic species, however fearsome their reputation.
Steve is also an accomplished artist, having taught art at a local comprehensive school, and his line drawings and paintings appear in many bird reports and books.  This award is to a man who has pushed the boundaries of our knowledge, usually from high in the canopy of a tree.
Colour-ringed Great White Egrets

A Great White Egret ringing programme has been initiated this year in the Somerset Levels and the RSPB would like to hear from anyone seeing a colour-ringed bird, so they can understand more about the birds' post-breeding dispersal and movement around the country.  Birds have a white three-letter code on a red ring on the left leg.  Please report any sightings via the EURING website, www.cr-birding.org or directly to Amy or Alison at Amy.King@rspb.org.uk or ajm@alisonmorgan.co.uk . 

GOS policies

GOS policies, as required by the Charity Commission, can be read here.

Reporting sightings of rare and Schedule 1 birds on GOS website
In Gwent's wide variety of habitats we have many sites of ornithological interest which hold rare and Schedule 1 breeding bird species.  Newport Wetlands Reserve, which encompasses Goldcliff lagoons, Uskmouth reedbeds and the grasslands, is a well managed site and very secure for breeding birds, but sites elsewhere in the county are unprotected and the many breeding species present there are vulnerable to threats such as disturbance and, potentially, even egg collectors.  
For this reason please AVOID POSTING SIGHTINGS WHICH INCLUDE SPECIFIC LOCATIONS (other than at NWR) for any rare, locally rare or Schedule 1 species that you suspect are breeding, showing signs of breeding behaviour or are in suitable habitat, on the Gwent Ornithological Society Sightings page.  
If you discover a rare or Schedule 1 species that you suspect is breeding, please report your sighting directly to the county recorder at countyrecorder@gwentbirds.org.uk or on 07982 719881.  
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.           
Tom Chinnick
Gwent County Bird Recorder
Schedule 1 species which may be found include the following:
Red Kite
Marsh Harrier
Little Ringed Plover
Bearded Tit 
Cetti’s Warbler 

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