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12 June 2010 - Wandering Warbler Woos Watchers PDF Print E-mail

I'm sure that you will be aware that hordes of twitchers have descended on Gwent recently, hoping to see the Marmora's warbler that was sighted on the Blorenge.

This little bird has patently lost its bearings as Marmora's Warblers are normally confined to North Africa and some Mediterranean islands. How it ended up coming to South Wales is a bit of a mystery (faulty satnav. maybe?), but it's causing quite a stir as it's only the fifth ever recorded sighting in the UK.

I've got to say that I am always pretty impressed when birds such as this are identified. This species is very similar to the Dartford Warbler, and I would have assumed that's what it was if I had seen it.

However, whilst birdwatchers from the length and breadth of Britain are making the journey to see it, I won't be going to take a look; I just can't see the appeal of setting eyes on this unfortunate lost bird so that I can add it to the list of species that I have seen..... I'd very much like to see Marmora's Warbler, but would much prefer to do so in its own native habitat.

Although twitching (spotting as many rare birds as possible) doesn't float my boat, I wouldn't want to put anyone else off going to see this bird. If you want to see it – Visit the sightings page at www.gwentbirds.org.uk to find out the best place to get a view.

Garden Nesting Survey

Many familiar garden birds such as Starling, House Sparrow Greenfinch and Song Thrush are in decline. Some of these are currently trying to make the most of the breeding season by rearing a final brood before the summer ends.

If any birds are nesting in your garden the British Trust for Ornithology would like to hear from you. Don't worry if your identification skills aren't great – a wall chart to help you recognise birds, their nests and eggs is available to all participants.

Visit www.bto.org.uk and click on the 'garden nesting survey' link for more details.

Guided Walks

There are a couple of guided birdwatching walks coming up that you might want to put in your diary; On Saturday July 10th a day of raptor (bird of prey) watching is planned in the Neath Valley. I'm not familiar with this area, but imagine that some pretty special birds might be seen including the elusive Honey Buzzard!

If you would like to come along, meet local expert Steve Roberts at the MacDonald's car park on the A465 (SN 868 055) at 9.30am.

On Saturday 17th July the venue is Goytre House Wood, a little gem of a reserve situated just off the A4042 Newport to Abergavenny road. This 3 hour walk is being led by affable local birders Alan Williams and Rob Moeller, and starts at the Goytre Arms car park at 8.00am. Alan and Rob know this area inside out, and will lead you to see a host of species as well as being on hand to help you identify your sightings and enjoy the walk.

New faces are always welcome at GOS events – Please wear suitable clothing, bring refreshments and binoculars if you have them.

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 who have taken the time to get in touch. I 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