27 November 2010 - Wind Whacks Waxwings West PDF Print E-mail

After urging readers to look out for waxwings in my last column, the obliging little devils have just decided to turn up: The first local sightings were in Ebbw Vale and Brynmawr on November 18th, by the 24th they had hit Newport....and more are likely to arrive with the Northeasterly winds that are forecast. Keep an eye out for them when you are out and about, they are striking birds, unmistakable, quite confiding and easily seen as they search out berries....the Newport birds were spotted in the retail park off Mendelgief Road!

Waxwing are a bird that you could easily go a lifetime without seeing, but this winter promises to be a very special one for them. Don't miss this rare opportunity to see them!

I'll keep you abreast of any breaking waxwing news – In the meantime please feel free to check out what has been seen locally via the sightings page at www.gwentbirds.org.uk

Interested in Birds?

If so, why not consider becoming a member of Gwent Ornithological Society? Don't be put off by the rather grand title, GOS is a friendly local bird club which can help you increase your knowledge and enjoyment of birds. As well as our programme of talks and walks GOS has an extensive library of books, videos and dvds that are available to members – plus you get access to Ynys y Fro and Llandegfedd Reservoirs. GOS membership is also a great idea for a Christmas present, and at £15 (£18 for family membership) won't break the bank. For more details call me on the number below and I'll send you joining instructions.

Birdwatching Talks

Don't forget that there is an illustrated talk tonight, Saturday 27th November, when Jerry Lewis (a jedi master of the birdwatching world) will be talking about one of our most elusive birds - the hawfinch. These colourful little finches are often referred to as 'flying nutcrackers' as they are equipped with incredibly powerful beaks. Hawfinch are rarely seen as they are both rare and notoriously shy, however they can be found locally, mainly in the Wye Valley, and Jerry has been studying them for years.....This is a talk that you don't want to miss!

The talk is being held at Goytre Village Hall (just off the A4042 Newport to Abergavenny road) and starts at 7.30pm. Entry, including tea and biscuits is £1.50. No need to book, just turn up.

On Saturday 12th December there is another talk (same time, venue and details as above) entitled 'A Wild Grizzly Adventure'. This time the speaker is Oliver Smart who will regale us with tales and pictures of his travels in search of Alaskan wildlife. Please feel free to come along to find out a bit more about the land of black and grizzly bears, caribou and bald eagle.

New faces (especially Argus readers) are always welcome at GOS events, 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 Gwent Ornithological Society'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