16th July 2011 - Buzzard 'v' Jogger PDF Print E-mail

I must admit to having a little chuckle when I read a recent post on the Gwent Ornithological Society (GOS) forum about a runner being 'attacked' by a large bird of prey whilst jogging through Cwmcarn. The poor chap, namely John Airdrie, was merrily plodding along when a 'large hawk' settled on a lamp post and then swooped down on him (twice!!), scratching the back of his head. I'm sure that it wouldn't have seemed so amusing if it happened to me, but the visual image of John tearing down the Western Valley at a speed that would have left Usain Bolt trailing, with a large angry raptor attached to his neck, really tickled me.

From John's description I would imagine that this bird is probably a buzzard and that this unusual behaviour happened because the bird had young nearby.

The vast majority of birds normally give humans a wide berth, but whilst they have young to care for, may show protective parental behaviour; The national papers usually carry a story or two each year about gulls swooping on pedestrians passing their nest sites and I have a few childhood memories about being 'buzzed' by birds including mistle thrushes and tawny owls!

If you find yourself in a similar situation simply move away and the bird will cease to see you as a threat.

Buzzard Buzzard

Time for Another Brood?

Many birdwatchers think of July and August as quiet months. Certainly there aren't so many birds singing now, and many species, having already bred, are busy feeding and keeping out of sight. However I think that this is a great time for birdwatching; I particularly love seeing family parties of birds – and there are plenty around at the moment, with parents darting around taking food to scattered fledgelings. There are also many birds looking to rear another brood once their young have flown. The blackbirds, robins and house sparrows, amongst others, near me are taking full advantage of the spring and summer, and I have been delighted to see house martins using the nest cups under my eaves. I mentioned in my last column that they hadn't been used this year, but it now seems that a pair that had bred nearby earlier in the year have decided to raise a second brood outside my bedroom window.

Birdwatching Walk

The next GOS walk will take place on Saturday 6th August, when Richard Dowle will show birdwatchers around Capel Newydd, Blaenavon. I'm not familiar with this site, but would imagine that many upland species such as red grouse, stonechat, whinchat, and redstart will feature – and maybe a few surprises as well. The walk is planned to last about 4 hours and starts at 8 am from the Queen Victoria car park, Prince Street, Blaenavon (SO 252 086, or tap NP4 9BD into your satnav).

 There is no need to book places on this walk, just turn up - New faces (especially Argus readers) are always welcome at GOS events.

Walkers should remember to bring suitable clothing (boots essential), food and drink – and binoculars if you have them.   

For more information visit www.gwentbirds.org.uk or give me a call on the number below. Likewise, if you want me to send you a copy of GOS's programme of walks and talks, just let me know.

Keep in Touch

Thank you to all readers that have taken the time to get in touch.

 I always enjoy hearing from you and can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or on 01633 866470.

Late Note

I've just read (in Thursday's Argus) about another runner having a brush with a broody buzzard in Cwmcarn.....I wonder if it's the same bird?