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June 2001 - Newsletter 79 PDF Print E-mail

Foot & Mouth Disease – update

Jerry Lewis

I expect that most birding activities have been severely affected by the foot & mouth outbreak, but the situation is improving. Within our recording area, several parts have remained free from infection; the county boroughs of Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and the Gwent bit of Caerphilly.  Most outbreaks in Monmouthshire (centred at Grosmont, Raglan, Cwmyoy and Chepstow) occurred at the end of March to mid April.  At the end of April/early May, there were outbreaks on the Wentlooge levels in Newport.  Even during the height of access closure, many urban/suburban parks and open spaces remained open – an ideal time to discover the avian delights of previously unpromising areas.  Other parts of Gwent are opening again, the Monmouth & Brecon canal in early May, several woodlands (Chepstow Park / Fedw woods and parts of Wentwood, Tintern Woods and Lasgarn) in mid May, and all of Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen at the end of May. Llandegfedd Reservoir is open to the public for birding, but only the area to the east of the fishermans car park, ie the island, green pool and the bank along to the sailing bay. The Sirhowy Valley Country Park is also open.  Monmouthshire is in the process of opening everywhere except within 3km of confirmed cases or on “suspect” farms.  You might wish to contact your local authority footpath officer, perhaps once a week, for the latest position in your area.  There are now more areas open than closed, so you should have a chance to get on with your birding and Atlas work –see page 7.

Gwent Levels Wetlands Reserve UPDATE

Adam Rowlands

The Reserve remained closed to the public until the end of May, due in particular to the recent cases in the St. Brides and Peterstone area.  However, The Gwent Levels Wetlands Reserve car park has re-opened and will be open daily from 9 am - 5 pm.  CCW have opened some of the permissive paths around the reedbed lagoons at Uskmouth. Please follow all on-site instructions and note that there is still no access to the Goldcliff Lagoons, where there are grazing livestock present, in respect of the wishes of the local farmers.

Recent sightings on the Uskmouth lagoons include drake Ring-necked Duck, Little Egret, Ruddy Duck and Whooper Swan (presumably feral). Cetti's Warblers are very much in evidence and there have been many dragonflies on the wing in recent days, including several Hairy Dragonfly.

WWT are in the process of completing the reports of the consultation exercise regarding future access and interpretation on the GLWR.  Summary copies of the report will be forwarded to all the consultees (including GOS) and copies of the full report will be available at the CCW offices at St Mellons and GLWR.  

BTO News

Jerry Lewis

Many BTO surveys have been affected by the foot & mouth outbreak.  Some have been postponed until next year and many of the annual monitoring surveys will be missed in 2001.  There is a chance that the second visit to some BBS squares can be done, but only if access is allowed to the whole site.

The 1999 Nightingale survey revealed East Anglia to be a hot spot for the species, and Anglian Water have funded additional research to find out why.  The answer is in the subtle differences in the structure and composition of vegetation – the ideal is a wet thorn thicket with open ground inside and thick ground cover vegetation all around the edge.  A leaflet on habitat management for Nightingales is available from BTO Nightingales, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU, and please enclose an A5 SAE.  A repeat survey of 60km x 60km in the fenlands in 2000 found 382 singing males.  Despite the success in East Anglia, Nightingales are declining nationally.  This is thought to be linked to survival rates rather than breeding success, but research is continuing.

Recent work by two BTO staff members has highlighted the value of churchyards for birds.  The most abundant species was Blackbird (an average of 12.2 pairs in 15 churchyards surveyed) with Robin and Blue Tit at an average of 6 and 5 pairs respectively.  Several species in long-term decline were also found, such as Song Thrush, Starling, House Sparrow, Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler.  Perhaps GOS members visited their local churchyard during the present foot & mouth outbreak and would like to write a short note for the next Dipper.

Constant Effort Ringing Sites in 2000 revealed adult catches going down for Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Linnet, and going up for Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, White Throat and Long-tailed Tit.  The CES also monitors the breeding performance (unlike other surveys) in the form of the proportion of youngsters caught.  Three species having a poor season were Bullfinch, Reed Warbler and Chaffinch, and those having a better season were Blackcap, Blue Tit and Willow Warbler.

A long-term analysis of the BTO’s archive of nest record cards has highlighted problems in breeding success for 8 species, including two new species * on the “alert list”.

  • Reed Bunting, the egg stage failure rate has trebled
  • Linnet, nest stage failure rate nearly doubled
  • Yellow Wagtail*, brood size falling
  • Moorhen, increasing egg stage failure
  • Lapwing, increasing egg stage failure
  • Ringed Plover, increasing egg failure rates
  • Willow Warbler, increasing chick stage failure rates
  • Red-throated Diver*, increasing egg stage failure rates

The longer run of data analysis has allowed former alerts to be lifted for Yellowhammer, Sedge Warbler, Dunnock, Meadow Pipit and Greenfinch.

Other declining species may show better breeding statistics as the species’ density declines and there is less competition.  This is happening with Ring Ouzel, Stonechat, Whinchat and Wheatear.  Other species are increasing where the birds are breeding more successfully, e.g. Chaffinch, Woodlark, Robin, Redstart, Nuthatch, and Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits.  Every bird watcher is able to contribute to the Nest Record Scheme, even single nest histories are important for analysis.  If anyone is interested, contact the BTO for a starter pack.

All of the above species’ ups and downs may seem rather complicated, and sometimes contradictory depending on the aspect of the life cycle analysed.  To give an overall view, a new booklet “The State of the UK’s Birds 2000” has just been produced by the RSPB, BTO and WWT.  It is available from the RSPB (price not known), or visit the websites:

  • www.rspb.org.uk
  • www.bto.org
  • www.wwt.org.uk

The Bird Challenge for Business 2000 was a search to find business sites that were best for birds.  Several categories for size, location and water were available, and in the medium wetland category, Llandegfedd Reservoir was top with 159 species recorded during the year.  The next challenge will be in 2002, so remember to let the Reservoir staff to have all your records so that the site is able to retain its top spot again.

Warts an'all, and Chaffinches

Trevor Russell

Once again this year I was dismayed when my recent Garden Birdwatch Survey observations found me counting Chaffinches, Fringilla coelebs, some of whom had disfiguring white growths on their legs. I had noticed these growths in previous years in about 15% of my lawn-feeding populations. It seemed to occur on only one limb and judging by the way the bird moved was not totally disabling, but obviously an inconvenience which meant that it wasn't as mobile as the others. Whether this meant it was last to the food every time and was therefore doomed is not known. A clearer view, away from the grass, revealed a white warty-like growth which enveloped the leg and foot, but only on one leg! A call to the BTO elicited a 17-page tome on infectious diseases affecting garden birds, one article of which describes exactly what I was observing. This is copied below. It would seem that improved hygiene at our feeding stations may reduce the incidence of such a disease.

Has anyone else observed such growths on Chaffinches or any other bird species?

Warts (viral papillomas)

(From"Infectious Diseases of Garden Birds, minimising the risks" published by The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts, AL4 8AN, www.users.dircon.co.uk/~ufaw3.)

Agent: The Fringilla papillomavirus

Species susceptible: Chaffinches and, to a lesser extent, Bramblings. In a large survey of birds captured for ringing in the Netherlands, papillomas were found on 330 (1.3%) of some 25,000 chaffinches examined and both sexes were affected. However, cases usually occur in clusters and quite high proportions of local populations may be affected in outbreaks.

Clinical signs: The disease causes warty outgrowths on the foot or tarsometatarsus (the bare part of the leg). Usually only one leg is affected. The growths vary from small nodules to large irregular shaped and deeply-fissured masses which almost engulf the entire lower leg and foot and which can distort the toes. Affected birds usually seem in otherwise good health but some may show signs of lameness and hop mainly on the unaffected foot and digits may be lost. The warts grow slowly and progress over many months.

Pathology: The growths have a similar structure to warts in mammals and are due to excessive growth of the keratinised layers of the skin.

Risks to human and domestic species: None known

Diagnosis: The clinical appearance is strongly suggestive but other diseases can cause swellings on the legs and feet: infestation with Cnemidocoptes mites (there is some evidence for an association between mange due to Cnemidocoptes infestations and the occurrence of papillomas), bacterial infections (bumblefoot), and poxvirus infections. Diagnosis can be confirmed by histology or detection of papillomavirus particles.

Impact on populations: It seems unlikely that this disease has an impact on population densities.

Impact on Welfare: Even birds with large papillomas often appear to behave normally so, in some cases, the growths may be little more than an inconvenience and relatively minor irritation. However lameness is sometimes observed and this clearly indicates pain.

Treatment: The outcome of the disease is unclear. Birds may die through being incapacitated or through developing secondary infections but it is possible that in some cases the lesions may regress spontaneously.

Control and prevention: The fact that cases occur in clusters suggests that the presence of affected birds presents a risk to others that are susceptible. The mode of transmission is not known but it seems likely that the virus may be spread via surfaces the birds stand or perch upon. If so, hygiene measures and steps to minimise crowding at perching or feeding sites may reduce the risk.

Charitable Status Application Update

I have received a response to our application for registration with the Charity Commission (CC).  Although we used their standard constitution the Society’s objects we submitted were those that we had in the previous constitution, and guess what, the CC have asked for them to be amended.  They have suggested an alternative which appears to cover all the things we do, albeit in a form of words more acceptable to the CC.  They have agreed to let us keep the specific reference to publishing the Gwent Bird Report, which was omitted from their first revision.

The Society needs formally to approve this amendment.  Rather than wait for the next AGM I propose we hold an extraordinary general meeting just prior to the first indoor meeting on September 22nd.  It should only take a couple of minutes.

The amended version is:

The objects as suggested by the Charity commissioners

  1. To advance the education of the public in all aspects of ornithology.
  2. To promote research into ornithology and to publish reports, newsletters and other papers of ornithological interest or as may be deemed by the management committee suitable or desirable for promoting the society's objects.
  3. To publish an annual report known as ‘The Gwent Bird Report’.
  4. To support and encourage the preservation and conservation of wild birds and places of ornithological interest.

The objects as submitted to the Charity Commissioners:

to advance the ornithological education of the public by:

  1. studying and recording all aspects of bird life in Gwent;
  2. promoting increased interest in bird life in Gwent, particularly among the young;
  3. supporting the conservation of bird life and ornithologically important habitats, particularly in Gwent;
  4. co-operating with and supporting local, national and international bodies involved in ornithology;
  5. producing an annual report to be known as the "The Gwent Bird Report".

I hope that by you all agreeing to this course of action we can finally resolve this issue.

Alan Williams, Chairman

Committee Commentary, March 2001 Meeting

Trevor Russell

Goytre House Wood.  Betty Morgan’s solicitors have received a letter from Monmouthshire County Council formally offering to sell the Wood. It comprises 12.2 acres and includes a meadow. Alan Williams had prepared a Management Plan that was accepted with the proviso that part of the perimeter must be properly fenced. We now need to decide how – and, more importantly, who – will implement the Management Plan. The foot and mouth outbreak has prevented any work on pond clearance to be carried out so this will be deferred until the autumn.  Alan has now made application for registration for charitable status.  It was revealed that we now have an opportunity to rename the wood. Any suggestions?

Gwent Levels Wetland Reserve:  Due to the foot & mouth epidemic the Reserve has remained shut since late February, even to warden staff. No monitoring has taken place except for swan hits on power lines

Birds of Gwent/Breeding Atlas: Foot & mouth has similarly stopped Atlas survey work though some urban areas might still be able to be surveyed. This message will be put on Birdline, and the website, gwentbirds.org.uk.  See elsewhere in this edition for the latest update.

Annual Report: Editor Brian Gregory faces other commitments in late spring/early summer and in anticipation of this has brought the Report to a state of near completion already. The Committee decided that we should arrange for printing ASAP rather that wait until September/October.

Early publication may result in extra external sales and may also allow Gwent records to be incorporated into the Welsh Ornithological Society Report, which we have failed to achieve for the past several years.  Since the meeting, Brian has advised us that he was unable to complete the Annual Report before his summer-time commitments started.  Anticipated publication date is now August/September.  HPJ Editor

GOS/Hamdden Birdline: Chris Hatch revealed that this facility is not being sufficiently used by the membership to justify the cost and effort involved in keeping it running. It was agreed that if the publicity elsewhere in this edition does not provoke a sufficient increase in use then the Birdline sightings facility will be withdrawn later this year.

Recent Bird Highlights

Compiled by Chris Hatch from information received on the GOS/Hamdden Bird Line

February:  The 4 Waxwings which first appeared near Usk on the 13th stayed until at least the 24th.  Similarly, the male Ring-necked Duck stayed at Uskmouth until at least the 24th.  On the 25th, a Barn Owl was seen alongside the A48 near the Wentwood Inn, whilst a Goshawk was seen over Wentwood on the same date.  On the 28th, a Red Kite was observed near Llandegfedd Reservoir.

From early March onwards, birdwatching was severely curtailed by restrictions imposed as a result of foot and mouth disease.  Nevertheless, some reports continued to be received.  On the 11th, Chiffchaffs and Sand Martins were reported from Usk, and a Bewick’s Swan was present at Llandegfedd.  Three Wheatears were observed at Caldicot Pill on the 19th, and a Swallow was recorded at Monmouth on the same date.  A Common Sandpiper was seen at Castle Meadows, Abergavenny on the 21st, whilst 3 Water Pipits were present at the same location on the 22nd.  Willow Warblers were present at Llandegfedd on the 25th.

April:  Four House Martins were seen near Abersychan on the 1st.  On the 4th, a Barn Owl was observed near Magor Services.  A juvenile Red Kite was seen over Gilwern on the 7th and a Redstart was reported from Magor on the 8th.  An early Hobby was seen at Usk on the 9th.  An Osprey was observed flying along the Usk valley on the 13th, whilst another was present at Llandegfedd Reservoir on the 19th.  A Pied Flycatcher took up territory at Llandegfedd on the 22nd, whilst Cetti’s Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat were recorded at Nash on the 23rd.  Swifts were reported from Llandegfedd, Usk, Abersychan and Pontnewynydd on the 25th, whilst Cuckoo and Tree Pipit were seen at Cwmtillery on the same date.  On the 26th, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was observed at Usk, and 3 summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebes and 3 Whimbrel were present at Llandegfedd.  On the 27th, a Whitethroat was reported at Ponthir, a Whinchat was seen at Usk, Wood Warblers were observed at Cwmavon a surprisingly, a Long-eared Owl was seen at Llandegfedd.  The month ended with an Osprey seen flying over Caerleon on the 30th.

May began with an Osprey, this time at Llandegfedd on the 1st.  Other sightings included a Little Ringed Plover at Abergavenny on the 9th and a Common Tern at Llandegfedd on the 17th.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT IF YOU PHONE IN SIGHTINGS TO THE BIRD LINE, YOU WILL ALSO NEED TO SEND WRITTEN RECORDS TO THE COUNTY RECORDER, CHRIS JONES, IF THEY ARE TO BE RECORDED IN THE ANNUAL REPORT.  THE SAME ALSO APPLIES TO ANY RECORDS YOU MAY HAVE FROM THE VARIOUS BIRD SURVEYS AND ATLAS WORK

Cardiff Bay and Redshanks

Helen Parry Jones

Building of the Cardiff Bay Barrage began in 1993, and was completed in 1999, with closure on 4th November.  The Taff and Ely estuaries were part of an SSSI and were important for wintering waterbirds.  The BTO has been monitoring the impact of the closure on the waders and wildfowl that had wintered in Cardiff Bay.  The study is ongoing, but an update was published in the May-June issue of BTO News 1.

Since monitoring began in 1989 four species, Shelduck, Dunlin, Curlew and Redshank, occurred on the Severn Estuary in numbers of international importance although only Dunlin numbers reached a nationally important level in the bay (1% of the British wintering population).  Other species using the bay included Mallard, Teal, Pochard and Oystercatcher.  Whilst all species roosted in the bay at high tide, many Oystercatchers, Curlew and Dunlin left the bay for the low tide period and only fed in the bay on ebb and flood tides. Flooding of the bay has resulted in the loss of all the inter-tidal mudflats, but has left a fringe of saltmarsh on its northern shore.

Whilst some individuals of the four key species, Shelduck, Dunlin, Curlew and Redshank, have continued to use the bay as a high tide roost, their numbers are lower than in previous winters.

Maximum numbers recorded in Cardiff Bay in the winter of 1998/1999 (pre-barrage closure) and in 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 (post-barrage closure)
Winter Period Shelduck Dunlin Curlew Redshank
1998/1999 307 786 161 344
1999/2000 39 12 15 22
2000/2001 55 7 53 91

During the 10 winters before closure of the bay, an annual average of 26.5 waterbird species was recorded whereas in the two winters since closure, an average of 17 species was recorded.  Pochard is the only species to have been recorded in increased numbers.

Two neighbouring inter-tidal areas were also studied – Orchard Ledges and the Rhymney estuary.  At Orchard Ledges, there has been a slight increase in the numbers of Curlew and Shelduck since barrage closure.  At the Rhymney estuary, Redshank numbers have increased along the river and in the area by Cardiff Heliport.  Dunlin numbers have fallen over the study period and it is not yet apparent where the birds that used the bay now winter.

A detailed study has been made of Redshanks.  Pre-closure, Redshanks were highly site-faithful to the bay within and between winters and were thought to be particularly at risk following the barrage closure 2.  Colour ringing and radio-tracking have shown the increase in numbers at Rhymney in the winter of 1999/2000 was due to an influx of birds from Cardiff Bay.  In this period, colour-ringed  and radio-tagged birds were recorded as far east as the River Usk, and three individuals were seen in Somerset, although the majority were seen at the Rhymney estuary/Cardiff Heliport areas.  The distribution was similar in the winter of 2000/2001, although no colour-ringed birds were observed at Newport.

The sightings of colour-ringed birds will be used to calculate survival rates to determine whether mortality in the Redshank population has changed since the bay’s inundation.

To achieve this, Niall Burton would like to receive details of any sightings of these colour-ringed birds.  The majority of Redshank have been ringed with unique combinations of five colour-rings, one above the metal ring on the upper left leg, two on the upper right leg and two on either the lower left or lower right leg.  In addition, some individuals, ringed prior to 1996, have been ringed with just a yellow ring over a white ring on the upper right leg.  There have also been breeding season sightings of these birds.  Any records of colour-ringed Redshank on their wintering or breeding grounds, including the site, date and time, should be sent to Niall Burton, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU, or via e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

1. Burton, NHK (2001) Displaced Redshank finding refuge.  BTO News Number 234 (May-June): 10-11

2. Burton, NHK (2000).  Winter site-fidelity and survival of Redshank Tringa totanus at Cardiff, south Wales.  Bird Study 47: 102-112

Casual Records of Breeding Birds Wanted for the Gwent Ornithological Society Breeding Bird Atlas 1998-2001

There is a general move to open up more areas in the County (see page 1), and we are hoping that members can now embark on their Atlas work in some rural areas.  June can be very productive, with plenty of young birds being fed.  However, footpaths within the 3km zones of confirmed cases and on suspect farms will remain closed.  We must stress that it is most important that you continue to be sensitive to the situation and only go to areas that you know are safe, obey all footpath closures and keep well away from any livestock.  

More than ever this year, casual recording will make a very worthwhile contribution to the Atlas Project, and anyone can do it, regardless of whether or not they have taken on a square.  Wherever you are in the county during the breeding season, simply keep a look out for the signs of breeding that are listed below.  You may have been stretching your legs in local parks instead of the countryside and seen evidence of breeding.  Send your observations at the end of the season (late August), to: Dr W A Venables, 111 Black Oak Road, Cyncoed, Cardiff, CF2 6QW.  Please include the following information: Species, Observation Code as listed below, and location - preferably with a Tetrad number or 6-figure grid reference, but a description of the place will suffice (e.g. A48 half mile west of Castleton).  Please note that observations are listed below in increasing order of proof of breeding, so if you see a pair (P) and then see adults carrying food for young (FY), send in FY as the observation rather than P.

Uncommon Breeding Species

The following species are scarce or rare breeders in the county, or may not have bred in the county at all for many years (e.g. Black Grouse).  It would be very useful to record any sightings of these species during the breeding season, even though there may be no other evidence of breeding.  In these cases, send in DATE, LOCATION - preferably with a Tetrad number or 6-figure grid reference, but a description of the place will suffice (e.g. A48 half mile west of Castleton), NUMBER OF BIRDS and TYPE OF HABITAT.

Little Grebe

Teal (inland only)

Tufted Duck

Goosander

Hen Harrier

Red Grouse

Black Grouse

Red-legged Partridge

Grey Partridge

Water Rail

Golden Plover (inland only)

Lapwing (until end of July)

Snipe

Woodcock

Curlew (inland only)

Redshank (inland only)

Turtle Dove

Barn Owl

Long-eared Owl

Nightjar

Kingfisher

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Yellow Wagtail

Ring Ouzel

Grasshopper Warbler

Firecrest

Marsh Tit

Willow Tit

Tree Sparrow

Siskin

Redpoll

A Trip to Northern Germany

Helen Parry Jones

I had an opportunity to accompany a friend to northern Germany over the recent Bank Holiday weekend, travelling to Hamburg on the 24th May and returning on the 29th.  I was persuaded to go by being told that there were lots of lakes and woodland, we would be near the Baltic coast and that it must be good for birds!

Once the decision was made to go, I tried to find out about birding sites in the area.  I was staying NE of Kiel in a small town, Shoenkirchen.  I found a couple of pages of information on the whole of Germany in a copy of Where to watch birds in Britain and Europe but when you look at the size of Germany, a couple of pages isn’t very helpful.  I couldn’t find anything in the Library so I tried the internet.  I came across a few sites but they were all in German, and my German is non-existent.  Eventually I came across a site in English which had a statement to the effect that if you need help, I’ll help if I can but if I can’t I probably know someone who can.  My query resulted in responses from two German Birdwatchers who lived in the area, giving useful information about the area and offers of trips if I wanted.  Without their help, I would have seen far fewer birds than I did.

Arriving at my destination at about 9pm on Thursday, I was taken out to a couple of sites close to where I was staying, where there was a chance of Thrush Nightingale and Corn Crake.  We didn’t get Corn Crake, but we heard Thrush Nightingale, River Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Bittern and Cuckoo, and saw Red-necked Grebe, Common Cranes and Hobby, to name just a few.  The following day I went out by bicycle and saw Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Hobby, and found 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker nests (why can’t I do that on my Atlas squares?).

On Saturday, I was collected at 10am to do some local birding and then to go over to the North Sea for waders.  We were looking for White-tailed Eagle at a number of sites, but although we didn’t see any, we saw Bittern, eight Honey Buzzards circling above our heads, Goshawk, Hobby, White Storks and heard Cuckoos everywhere.  We arrived at the site by the north sea mid-afternoon.  Here we had a wonderful show of waders, including Broad-billed Sandpiper, displaying Ruff, Little Stints, Temminck’s Stints, Curlew Sandpipers by the dozen in their breeding plumage, Spotted Redshank in breeding plumage, Black-winged Stilts and Avocets.  Overhead we had skeins of Brent Geese flying north, and around us we only saw 4 other birdwatchers.  A site like this here would be full of birders!  We then moved on to look for White-rumped Sandpiper which we failed to see, but I did see Marsh Warbler (I had missed the one at Peterstone). We eventually arrived back at Shoenkirchen just after 11pm, having had a wonderful day.

Sunday was a gardening and dog walking day, although I did manage to see White-tailed Eagle with young in a nest on our way to the beach, and Wheatears on the shore.  Monday afternoon I was picked up again to try to see Thrush Nightingale and River Warbler instead of just hearing them. We failed with Thrush Nightingale although we could hear them.  However, we eventually spent several minutes watching a River Warbler singing its heart out.  Several other species were added to my growing list, including Black Redstart and Tree Sparrow.

Although Germany doesn’t seem to exist in terms of where to go birding, I had a really good time and had excellent views of lots of birds with over 120 species seen or heard.  The two birders I went out with were excellent and I can’t praise them highly enough. One has a website in English, www.bavarianbirds.de, which has a good quiz on it if you fancy an identification challenge.

The birds that were seen or heard are listed below.  What was noticeable was that Cuckoos were everywhere, unlike here where I might only hear one or two in a season.

  • Little Grebe
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Great Cormorant
  • Grey Heron
  • Great Bittern
  • White Stork
  • Mute Swan
  • Greylag Goose
  • Canada Goose
  • Brent Goose
  • Bar-headed Goose
  • Common Shelduck
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Gadwall
  • Common Teal
  • Mallard
  • Garganey
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Red-crested Pochard
  • Common Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Common Eider
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • European Honey-buzzard
  • Red Kite
  • White-tailed Eagle
  • Western Marsh-harrier
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Common Buzzard
  • Common Kestrel
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Common Pheasant
  • Common Moorhen
  • Eurasian Coot
  • Common Crane
  • Eurasian Oystercatcher
  • Pied Avocet
  • Common Ringed Plover
  • Grey Plover
  • Northern Lapwing
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Whimbrel
  • Eurasian Curlew
  • Spotted Redshank
  • Common Redshank
  • Common Greenshank
  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Sanderling
  • Little Stint
  • Temminck's Stint
  • Dunlin
  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Broad-billed Sandpiper
  • Ruff
  • Common Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Little Gull
  • Sandwich Tern
  • Common Tern
  • Arctic Tern
  • Little Tern
  • Black Tern
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Common Cuckoo
  • Common Swift
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Black Woodpecker
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Eurasian Skylark
  • Sand Martin
  • Barn Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Meadow Pipit
  • White Wagtail
  • Yellow Wagtail
  • Winter Wren
  • Dunnock
  • European Robin
  • Thrush Nightingale
  • Black Redstart
  • Whinchat
  • Northern Wheatear
  • Eurasian Blackbird
  • Song Thrush
  • Common Grasshopper-warbler
  • River Warbler
  • Eurasian Reed-warbler
  • Marsh Warbler
  • Icterine Warbler
  • Blackcap
  • Garden Warbler
  • Common Whitethroat
  • Willow Warbler
  • Common Chiffchaff
  • Goldcrest
  • Spotted Flycatcher
  • Great Tit
  • Blue Tit
  • Eurasian Nuthatch
  • Eurasian Jay
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Eurasian Jackdaw
  • Rook
  • Carrion Crow
  • Common Raven
  • Common Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • European Greenfinch
  • European Goldfinch
  • Eurasian Linnet
  • Yellowhammer
  • Reed Bunting
  • Marsh/Willow Tit
  • Treecreeper probable short-toed

Cormorants; can you help?

Richard Clarke

The Goldcliff Ringing Group is undertaking a study of cormorants in Gwent and is looking for help from anyone who can provide sightings of birds seen in the County.

In July 2000, 26 birds were ringed in Gwent with standard BTO metal rings.  Starting in June 2001, birds caught in the County will be fitted with colour plastic “Darvic” rings and BTO rings.  We are therefore keen to receive any records of cormorants, but especially those where birds are sporting rings.  The details we are looking for are set out in the form that follows.  We would however be pleased to receive details of any sightings, therefore if you are not able to complete all the boxes on the form please do not be put off, we would still like to hear from you.

If you would prefer to telephone or e-mail the details of your sighting please contact Richard Clarke on 01633 615581 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  We will provide feedback on ringing details to anyone who identifies any of the birds we have caught previously.  

Goldcliff Ringing Group

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FileDescriptionFile size
Download this file (Dipper200106.pdf)June 2001Newsletter 7998 Kb