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8th October 2011 - My Vote's for the Risca Cuckoo PDF Print E-mail

I like the idea of a sculpture being erected to welcome visitors to Risca, and with due respect to all the sculptors competing to have their work commissioned, hope that the Risca Cuckoo is the chosen design.

The cuckoo was said to have sung in the town years ago, much to the delight of the locals who tried to build a wall around it to stop it flying away (not a very well thought out plan to be honest) - and the town's rugby club is also known as 'The Cuckoos'.

I think the cuckoo should be chosen because, as well as recounting a charming local tale, cuckoos can still be found in Risca; During the Spring and Summer their distinctive call can be heard on the hills above the town. There aren't many places where you can hear cuckoos nowadays and the town should celebrate it's association with this strange and fascinating bird.

Birds and other animals are powerful symbols which indicate the natural importance and beauty of an area, and in turn make people want to visit. 

Cuckoo   Cuckoo

Birdwatching Events

Don't forget that GOS have arranged a guided birdwatching walk tomorrow, Sunday 9th October, to Brean Down, near Weston. This is a smashing site to watch migratory birds and is less than an hour's drive away. There is a lot of activity at present with birds leaving the UK for warmer climes, whilst our winter visitors are starting to arrive (small flocks of redpoll have been spotted locally). If you are interested, meet Craig Constance at Magor Services at 7.00am (for more details call 07970 558583).

GOS's excellent season of indoor talks continues at Goytre Village Hall (just off the A4042 by the Goytre Arms) on Saturday 15th October, when GOS's  geriatric heart throb Mick Bailey will be on hand to guide us through the basics of bird song. Mick says “Don't worry if you can't tell your chiffchaff from your chough, learning bird song isn't as difficult as you think” - Why not pop along and let Mick teach you something new?

Two weeks later, on Saturday 29th October, Peter Howells will be presenting his talk, 'Bird Observatories of the UK'. Most UK bird observatories are situated on headlands that jut out into the sea. These sites attract weary migrant birds that are flying along the coast – and are great places to see unusual birds that you would normally be very unlikely to encounter. I went to Portland Observatory in Dorset a few autumns ago and it was brilliant; ring ouzel, turtle dove and firecrest were among the highlights – and the local pub was smashing too!

There is no need to book places on these walks and talks - just turn up. New faces (especially Argus readers) are always welcome at GOS events.

Talks start at 7.30pm and entry is £1.50 - including tea and biscuits.

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.

                                                                           Mark Stevens