25th February 2012 - The Not So Common Yellowthroat PDF Print E-mail

As you will probably be aware, a very unusual visitor has flown into Newport recently and drawn in crowds from far and wide. The visitor is a male common yellowthroat, a pretty little North American warbler that has lost it's bearings, presumably whilst moving Southwards along the Eastern Seaboard and somehow ended up on the wrong side of the Atlantic.

 There have only been a handful of yellowthroat sightings in the UK so, once news got out of it's arrival, the area become a magnet to hundreds of twitchers (birdwatchers that avidly try to spot as many rare species as possible). Whilst twitching doesn't appeal to me personally, I must congratulate the sharp eyed birdwatcher that first spotted it along with those that 'managed' the twitch so that the mass of people that turned up got to see the bird whilst causing it, and local residents, minimal stress.    

Whilst all this was going on there were reports of two much more interesting (in my eyes) sightings in Newport; A bittern was seen at Newport Wetlands Reserve, and a male smew dropped in to Tredegar House Lake. Smew are a small fish eating duck, seldom seen in South Wales, and the male is an absolutely stunning bird.

Male Smew Male Smew

Nest box vandalism

Some bad news from Torfaen has reached me in the past few days; Vandals using shotguns have destroyed 66 nest boxes sited in woodland around New Inn. These boxes were made by Richard Evans and his eleven year old son as part of 'Project Nestbox', and Richard is sickened by this mindless act.

Richard has reported the incident to the Police and is appealing for information about the culprits. He can be contacted on 07970 139550 and you can find out more about his work at www.projectnestbox.co.uk

Birdwatching Events

Don't forget tonight's birdwatching talk at Goytre Village Hall, when Pete Carty will present 'Wildlife in Bulgaria – Natural History at a Crossroads'. Bulgarian birdlife is renowned for it's richness, with over 400 species – of which 20 are globally threatened. Peter's knowledge in this area is second to none and his talk will give a fantastic insight into the country and the looming threats to it's wildlife.

The next talk is in a fortnight, 10th March, when regular and popular speaker Keith Offord will be returning to talk about 'Watching Harriers in Wales'. Keith has been studying hen harriers since 1974 and can offer a unique insight into the lives of these much persecuted and elusive birds.

Goytre Village Hall is situated just off the A4042 Newport to Abergavenny road (turn off by the Goytre Arms PH). Talks start at 7.30pm and entry, which includes tea and biscuits, costs £2.

 Argus readers are particularly welcome to come along to all the events featured in this column. For more details visit www.gwentbirds.org.uk or give me a call on the number below.

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.