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September 2002 - Newsletter 84 PDF Print E-mail

Reports of Field Trips

Brian King

Blaenavon and Varteg, Sunday 26th May.

With rain easing, we moved along the wooded disused railway track where we had good views of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, and Blackcap a prolonged sighting of a Garden Warbler, and Treecreepers were also noted.  Moving to the mountainside we watched Peregrine carrying prey. Sightings of Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Wood Warbler, Tree Pipit, Linnet, Redstart and Cuckoo, together with large groups of feeding starlings made for a very enjoyable morning.

GLWR Uskmouth, Saturday 1st June.

Travellers taking over the car park made changes necessary at the start of the walk on a very pleasant morning.  A good species count built up with the following noted: Kestrel at a nest on a pylon, Peregrine, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Reed Bunting, Reed, Sedge, Willow and Cetti’s Warblers. Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Curlew, Whimbrel, Cuckoo and Mute Swans with cygnets provided interest along the walk, contributing to a successful visit.

Ebbw Valley Nightjar Watch, Saturday 15th June.

A Small group met on a wet and dismal evening for this mountainside vigil.  Conditions kept most birds well hidden but we persisted until dusk merged in to darkness, rewarded only with distant churring.  We heard Tawny Owls on our torchlight descent through deep woodland.  Not the best of walks, it deserved high marks for effort!

The Blorenge, Sunday 23rd June.

Unusually fine weather greeted a good group for this mountain top walk.  The party moved to the quarry and was rewarded with views of two Peregrine chicks on the rock face.  The agitated cries of a parent bird were a signal for us to move on our way.  Ravens, Stonechats, Redstarts, and Wheatears were watched during the walk and at the furthest point, two Peregrines were seen at altitude.  Watching with binoculars, I followed one as it stooped at great speed and went out of sight - the highlight of an enjoyable morning.

Llangorse Lake, Sunday 7th July.

A large raft of Canada Geese was watched before we moved to the ringing station to see if any early catches had been recorded and found that a Great Tit and Blackcap had been held for us to see before release.  Hobby and Water Rail had been seen on the previous day, and with high hopes we moved to the hide.  During the walk, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, young Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Little Ringed Plover provided interest.

Llanthony, Sunday 21st July.

Early arrivals were fortunate to watch a Peregrine for some time before returning to the car park to start the walk.  Large numbers of House Martins and Swifts were in flight around the Abbey, presumably indicating a good breeding season.  We decided to climb through the woodland to the hilltop behind the Abbey, and we started through the fields in fine, warm, weather.  Although large numbers of birds were not seen, the following were noted from time to time: Whinchat, Redstart, Chiffchaff Willow Warbler, Linnet and Yellowhammer, with some presenting good views.  Nuthatches were heard, and Ravens and Buzzards were frequently seen.  We were all glad to reach the top where a well-deserved rest was enhanced by the excellent views.  The return downhill was taken at a brisk pace, with a cool beer at the pub very much in mind!

The Bryn to Gobion, Sunday 11th August.

The car shuttle went well, allowing us to follow the river without retracing our steps.  The weather was pleasant and we were pleased to welcome some prospective members to our group.  Bird-wise, the walk was quiet with some disturbance caused by campers at an important vantagepoint.  However, a Hobby was seen on three occasions and good views of Goosander were obtained.  Nearing the end of the walk, a Kingfisher was spotted and, unusually, remained still for close observation providing a fitting highlight to the morning.

Surprisingly, the tetrad including Llanvihangel Gobion has not been covered during our current atlas surveying.  This is a popular bird-watching area, so if you have noted any evidence of breeding birds whilst walking here, please send your records to Al Venables (details page 12)

GLWR Goldcliff, Saturday 24th August.

At the start of the visit, we saw good numbers of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Long-tailed Tits and Whitethroats in the large willow trees and elder bushes.  The lagoons were fairly quiet but 13 Little Egrets had been counted earlier.  The sunny morning was made more interesting by the presence of Steve Butler with his newly acquired state-of –the-art scope, and I am sure we all made more use of it than he did!  The morning progressed with the following seen: Little Egret, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Teal, Shoveler, Little Ringed Plover, Little Grebe and Greenshank.  On the shoreline, Oystercatcher, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit were noted.

Recent Bird Highlights

Compiled by Chris Hatch from information received on the G.O.S./Welsh Water Bird Line with additional records reported on the Website*

Mick Bailey suggested that the Bird Highlights in a table may be easier for people to digest what’s about, where it is and when.  Is he right or do you prefer the narrative style used previously?  Please make your views known.

Location Date Species
  May  
Off Goldcliff Point 25th High winds produced a remarkable 860 Manx Shearwater, 14 Storm Petrel and 6 Pomarine Skua
  29th 120 Manx Shearwater
Monmouth area 25th Possible Montagu’s Harrier
Llandegfedd Reservoir 30th 2 Hobby
*Ynysyfro Reservoir

30th

First summer Hobby chasing, but not catching, Swifts
 

June

 
GLWR Goldcliff From 1st

*4th

 

*7th

25th

*28th

Up to 23 Little Egret

1 Avocet, Curlew Sandpiper, Greenshank, 4-6 Little Ringed Plover

Pair of Ruddy Duck, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits

1 Wood Sandpiper

1 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 7 Bar-tailed Godwits

High Cross area 5th & 16th A Black Kite
Peterstone 11th Storm Petrel
Sugar Loaf 21st – 24th Up to 2 Quail calling
*Milfraen Bog 28th Female Hen Harrier
Goldcliff Point 30th 2 Arctic Skuas
 

July

 
*County Hall, Cwmbran 11th 1 Hobby
Goldcliff Point 19th 1 Arctic Skua
GLWR Goldcliff *3rd

*18th

*18th-20th

20th

*24th

1 Common Sandpiper. 1 large grass snake

7 Black-tailed Godwit 3 Yellow Wagtail,

1 eclipse Garganey (and on 24th)

A Little Tern

Juvenile Goshawk mobbed by Kestrel

GLWR Uskmouth 22nd Small party of bearded tits
*GLWR Saltmarsh

24th

5 Green Sandpipers, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 14 Little Egret, 6 Yellow Wagtails
 

August

 
GLWR Goldcliff *5th

*6th

 

8th

9th

*10th

Marsh Harrier, Hobby, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank

6 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 imm Kestrel, clouded yellow butterfly

Spoonbill and Wood Sandpiper

Juv red-necked phalarope (until 11th), *1little stint

Garganey, Wood Sandpiper

GLWR Uskmouth 14th Aquatic Warbler was trapped (Goldcliff Ringing Group)
*GLWR Saltmarsh

9th

1 juv Wood Sandpiper, 5 Green Sandpiper
Llandegfedd Reservoir 20th – 24th

*21st

 

22nd – 24th

*24th

Wood Sandpiper

6 Little Egret, 4 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Common Tern,

Osprey and Black Tern

3 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper

  September  
GLWR Goldcliff *3rd – 5th 1 Temminck’s Stint, Pectoral Sandpiper, 15+ Little Egret

News from the Gwent Levels Wetlands Reserve

Kevin Dupé, Assistant Warden

Tony Pickup started as the new Warden on 8th July. He visited the Reserve several times before he started in order to see the site during the breeding season. He thought that the number of breeding waders was  “tremendous”. However, “it’s not the numbers of adult pairs that is important, but the number of fledged young. This is much more difficult to monitor”. We are still waiting for the results of our breeding birds survey which is in preparation as I write.

Management is going well, with the emphasis on getting the sward right for the wintering wildfowl, particularly wigeon. At Goldcliff we have cut a lot of rank grass and rush which was bailed ready to be taken away for bedding. Sheep are now grazing the cut areas. This should produce the short sward favoured by grazing wigeon. We have also been successful in trying to increase the salinities at the Goldcliff Lagoons by letting on the spring tides. We are also manipulating the water levels to create areas of very shallow flooding and wet mud for waders to feed. This appears to be working with up to 18 snipe feeding and over 40 black-tailed godwits.

Adrian Hickman, a Voluntary Warden, spotted a red-necked phalarope at Goldcliff whilst doing a bird count for us. This is only the second for the county and sparked a bit of a local twitch.

Viewing platforms have now been installed at Goldcliff and these have greatly improved both safety and comfort for viewing the lagoons. We intend to install screening over the next couple of weeks.  Could I ask GOS members to be careful when going up onto the sea wall at Goldcliff where we do allow access. If you go up near the gate, which goes onto the lagoons, you are likely to lift most of the birds as you are silhouetted against the sky. If you go up carefully nearer to Goldcliff Point you will have just as good a view, but will be less likely to lift the birds. In the long term we are exploring ways of providing screening and good viewing of the lagoons.

In the Saltmarsh Grasslands area, the Sea Defence Improvements are in full swing. Unfortunately this means that Boat Road and Saltmarsh Lane are closed to both vehicles and people.  At Uskmouth we have made and installed four benches made predominantly from timbers recovered from the tide. When the visitors are gone they also make good perches for the starlings!

We have lowered the water levels in the reedbeds. This is to stress the reeds, which causes them to send out runners which then root and send up new shoots. This is to close the gaps between the original reed clumps. Some of the reedbeds have closed over and we are now buying a pedestrian mower to open up areas for the bittern to feed in.

We are working with the Environment Agency, Fisheries section to look at the numbers and species of fish in the Uskmouth Reedbeds and in the reens and ditches in the Saltmarsh Grasslands area. We need to know the potential food supply for bitterns and also our resident otters. If necessary we may introduce or transfer fish to the reedbeds. We will definitely be improving the access for elvers into the reedbeds ready for next spring.

For the first time we attended the Newport Festival of Wildlife on August Bank Holiday Monday at Tredegar House, Newport. A great deal of interest was shown in the Reserve and the events that we run.

Many of you will have been sad to learn of the death of Brad, the landlord at the Farmers Arms. He was a good friend to both the Reserve and GOS.  I have spoken to the new tenants and they are just as keen to continue the good relationship. They are willing to allow bird watchers to park at the Farmers Arms to visit the Goldcliff Lagoons and they are putting the notice board and leaflet rack back up, but in a more prominent position.

BTO News

Jerry Lewis

I am eagerly awaiting the return of your survey forms.  This year there have been rather more surveys than usual: Breeding Waders of Wet Meadows, Breeding Bird Survey, Lowland Grassland Survey, Waterways Breeding Bird Survey and single species surveys for Peregrine and Grey Herons. Many observers have returned their forms and I would like to thank them for being so prompt. If you are one of the few who has not yet done so, please return them to me before I resort to phoning you up. Every return (negatives are as important as positives) is valued and I think that my time could be better spent than being on the phone!

In the last year or so the numbers of different surveys involving farmland birds have been increasing. This is because they are generally the ones in most serious decline though the declines are not uniform.  Some species are affected more than others and some parts of the country show declines whereas others do not. The aims of the farmland surveys are to identify particular factors affecting different species across different parts of their range.

It has been known for some years that mixed farming systems are important for birds, but recent research has started to pinpoint the reasons why. Specialisation in livestock/arable farming results in a severe shortage of winter food for seedeaters that need either seed rich stubbles of specially planted winter crops.  A mix of kale, quinoa and seeding cereals (especially triticale) seems to be best.  With further research, the BTO hopes to be able to find out exactly how many winter feeding habitats will be needed for seedeaters, such as Tree Sparrow, to recover.  So while some of you have been flogging various fields without seeing much of interest, the end result should be borne in mind - to understand what has happened (and in some cases is still happening) to our farmland birds and to find solutions to reverse the declines. If the surveys are successful, one day we may see winter flocks of Tree Sparrow in the county again.

This winter will see the final season of the Winter Farmland Bird Survey, postponed from last winter due to the after effects of foot and mouth restrictions. I am hoping that those who previously helped will be able to revisit their square(s) this winter. There are also 30 other 1km squares that have never been covered and anyone willing to visit one would be able to contribute some important data to help our farmland birds. If anyone is interested (a square will be close to where you live) give me a ring on 01873 855091.

Business Bird Challenge. 19 of the 102 sites taking part have over 50 breeding species present.  Initiatives taken at different sites to increase bird diversity include artificial islands for nesting terns and bank creation for Sand Martin and Kingfisher. Hanson have 5 of the top 11 sites but none of the Gwent quarries are included.  Is this because of their low number of species or because they haven't registered with the scheme?

Though often undervalued, gardens are an important habitat for many birds and the Garden Birdwatch has been operating in Wales since 1995. Throughout the year, householders keep simple records of birds visiting their gardens. As expected, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Robin and Chaffinch are the most commonly recorded species. However Great Spotted Woodpeckers are increasingly visiting gardens (especially in June), and last winter there was a dramatic increase in the numbers of Nuthatch (probably associated with the failure of the beech mast). Although over 400 gardens in Wales are registered, more sites are needed.  For an information pack write to GBW, Room R3, BTO, Freepost, IP24 2BR.

A new report, Breeding Birds of the Wider Countryside, brings together the results of many BTO surveys involving some 30,000 volunteers per year. The amount of information gleaned from the various surveys is impressive as can be seen for Song Thrush.   Common Birds Census data indicated massive declines through the 1970's and 80's reaching a low point by 1992.  A 57% decline between 1974 and 1999 (greater on farmland than woodland) warranted the species being red listed. Data from Constant Effort Ringing Sites showed a greater decline in juveniles than adults from 1984 to 1994.  The Breeding Bird Survey is showing a recovery since 1998, especially in Wales. Nest Record Scheme data show fewer nest failures, at both egg and chick stages, and no change to clutch size or time of laying.  Current data therefore suggest that poor juvenile survival is the main cause of Song Thrush decline and this knowledge will allow research to be directed to find out why.

Proposed Develpment at Hendre

Stephanie Tyler

The Hendre Estate lies just to the north-west of Monmouth. Although there is an existing golf course here, much of the estate comprises pastures and a large area of woodland on the slopes and on top of the high hill, visible from the dual carriageway from Monmouth to Raglan. This woodland was once a fine area of ancient broad-leaved woodland but much of it was cleared and re-planted with conifers in the early 1960s. Remnants of the old woodland remain, rich in wildlife and there are many magnificent old oaks and yews scattered throughout. Along the rides and edges of the conifers there is still much of interest in the way of plants, butterflies and moths and birds.

A planning application to considerably extend the golf course and to build a new car park and many houses will soon be put to Monmouthshire County Council. Almost 200 acres of the woodland will be converted to golf course.  Whilst most is conifer, managed on a 999 year lease by the Forestry Commission (FC), the trees are on an ancient woodland site and the development would represent a huge loss of woodland. Once the conifers are felled it is the plan of the FC to return the site to native broad-leaved trees, a much better option for the wildlife of the estate.

GOS together with many other voluntary conservation organisations met in Monmouth earlier in the summer to discuss the proposal and to form an alliance to oppose the development. Amongst the bodies on the alliance are CPRW, the Woodland Trust and Gwent Wildlife Trust. I represented GOS at the meeting and my 'job' was then to gather together information on the wildlife interest of the Hendre (summarised by HPJ in list below).

Not only are some scarce raptors breeding in the woodlands, but also there are records of Turtle Dove and Grasshopper Warbler. Dormice and Lesser Horseshoe Bats occur, as do many butterflies including the scarce Wood White and Silver-washed Fritillary, and several rare moths. One moth is only known in Gwent, indeed in Wales, from the Hendre. There are also many scarce plants.

The Alliance is seeking a meeting with Monmouthshire C.C. to discuss the proposal and members are working together to defeat the planned development.

Mammals BAP priority Dormouse, Lesser Horseshoe Bat
W&C Act, Badgers Act of 1992 Badgers
W&C Act Pipistrelle and Brown Long-eared Bats, Hedgehog, Pygmy and common Shrews
Local interest Fallow Deer

Birds

> 60 species recorded

National interest Turtle Dove, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch, Linnet
Welsh interest (declining population) Turtle Dove and Spotted Flycatcher
Local significance Raptors, Woodcock and Grasshopper Warbler
Reptiles W&C Act Adder, Slow Worm, Common Lizard

Amphibians

BAP priority Great Crested Newt
W&C Act Common Frog, Common Toad, Palmate Newt
Butterflies BAP conservation concern Wood White, Silver-washed Fritillary
  Local interest White Admiral, Green, Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks, Dingy Skipper
Moths Only site in Greater Gwent, possibly Wales Marbled Pug. Other scarce and restricted species are also present.
Other Invertebrates   Not much known, but due to the large number of ancient trees, might be very interesting

Plants

(no details for lichens or fungi)

Rare Plant Register for Monmouth Bird’s-nest Orchid, Greater Butterfly Orchid. Only present in 12 and 20 sites respectively
Other local interest Elecampne, Columbine, Herb Paris, Autumn Crocus or Meadow Saffron,, Marsh Lousewort, Wood Vetch, Broad-leaved Helleborine, Adder’s Tongue Fern

Goytre House Wood

Andrew Baker and Alan Williams

On the afternoon of 7th July, Alan Williams, Steve Butler and I checked the contents of the nest boxes we had erected in the wood.  Twenty-one of the 31 boxes were occupied, 20 by tits (16 blue and 4 great) but the star prize went to the Spotted Flycatcher in one of the open fronted boxes at the far end of the wood. It certainly looks as if 2 pairs of bred as we also saw the ones by the fallen tree near the pond. Considering this bird’s 78% decline between 1972 and 1996 and further declines since, this is very good news.  A number of insects were also observed: a beautiful green moth later identified as a Scarce Silver Lines Moth was found in one box.  In another of the boxes, Hornets were found in the top and Bumblebees at the bottom - Steve Butler’s Fire fighter training came in handy here as he descended the ladder at about 60-mph.

GOS has been awarded a £500 grant by Monmouthshire County Council as part of their Local Agenda 21 Scheme. This is to allow the purchase of bat boxes and a Kestrel box for the wood.  Monmouthshire County Council has also agreed to make the footpath running through the wood more easily accessible by fitting gates instead of stiles, improving the surface in a few areas and the placing of a few small resting points.  Many thanks to Jerry Lewis for his advice on the above two matters

On the evening of 28th August, Ian Rabjohns, the Gwent bat recorder, and his wife Jessica, Alan Williams, and I took a walk through the wood. Ian surveyed the wood and believes that it is an excellent habitat for bats with many mature trees containing crevices and also the presence of the canal is a positive factor. Using bat detectors, Ian and Jessica identified Noctule, Common Pipistrelle, Pipistrelle Pygmaeus, Daubentons and possibly Whiskered bats along the canal bordering the wood.  This made the news of the grant for bat boxes even more welcome and we shall be siting them within the wood during the winter to increase the roosting sites for these and possibly other bats.

Bay of Biscay Trip 27th - 30th August

Phil Thompson & Helen Jones

A small group of friends from the Gwent Ornithological Society set sail on the P & O Ferry "Pride of Bilbao" for a birding and whale-watching trip from Portsmouth to Bilbao across the Bay of Biscay. The boat sailed from Portsmouth at 8 p.m. on Tuesday 27th August so did not allow for any birding on this initial part of the trip, although prior to arrival in Portsmouth the afternoon had been spent at nearby Farlington Marsh Reserve.   A “first” for some of the group and it was very productive.

The 28th found us on deck soon after 6 a.m. but some other birders got there before us including a group of Austrian birders with whom we soon struck up a good relationship. The day gradually warmed up as is witnessed by the photos of George and Ian on page 13 & 14.  A large number of Gannets were seen particularly in the morning, gradually being replaced by Shearwaters in the afternoon but in smaller numbers. A small number of dolphins and whales were seen from late morning onwards. The strangest sighting was a female Red Crossbill followed 45 minutes later by a male Red Crossbill. Watching continued until soon after 7.30 p.m. when a shower and dinner were desperately needed.

The 29th started with arrival at Santurtzi, the port for Bilbao, at 7 a.m. where we quickly disembarked and headed for a hill behind the town where several hours good birding was enjoyed by all before getting back on board for an 11.30 a.m. departure. Watching continued with whales being spotted at varying distances from the boat. We also had a short-eared owl fly over the boat! This evening we saw sunset at about 8 p.m. after a wonderful day.

On the 30th we arrived on deck to find ourselves surrounded by fog, which persisted for most of the morning. Eventually there were a few breaks but then some drizzle set in as we approached the Solent. A relatively quiet day, giving plenty of time for "socialising". We docked at about 4p.m. after a very enjoyable trip which we very well may repeat next year.

We saw Orca, Fin, Pilot, Cuvier’s Beaked and Minke Whales, and Common and Bottlenosed Dolphins.  A Sun Fish and a Basking Shark were also seen by some of the group. 

Birds of interest were Great, Cory’s and Sooty Shearwaters, Sabine’s Gull, Great Skua and possible Long-tailed, Arctic and Pomarine Skuas.  On land, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Serin and Zitting Cisticola provided extra interest.

The Cost of the trip was £120 though you can apparently get good deals through offers in  Newspapers, and apparently with Tesco Club Card!  So it pays to shop around.  I also believe that costs come down in September.  Additional costs are travel to Portsmouth, car parking (£19.50 for the duration of the mini-cruise) and refreshments on board.  There is a reasonable selection available to suit taste and pocket

Committee Commentary for June & August

Trevor Russell

The June meeting heard that the fencing work at Goytre House Wood is now complete. It will be interesting to monitor the impact that the lack of grazing will now have on the undergrowth in the wood.

Following the resignations of Membership Secretary, Gill Jones, and Field Secretary, Brian King, Helen Parry Jones and Steve Butler volunteered to fill the posts temporarily until formal elections are held at the AGM in January. It was later realised that because the GOS Programme for 2003 must be printed before the AGM elections, these contact names should be shown as ‘temporary’ holders on the Programme.  If elected as Membership Secretary Helen would stand down as Editor of The Dipper and this post will also be filled at the AGM elections.

In her new role as Membership Secretary (temporary), Helen has received a letter enquiring whether GOS has a different fee for disabled members. Clearly we do not and a long discussion questioned whether, and which, disability might prevent access which was any different to that available to OAP’s  A “Scale Charge per Disability” loomed! Heaven forbid! Helen was asked to consider the issue and report back at the October meeting.

Andrew’s request in The Dipper (June) to assist with Atlas work by counting birds along a 2km route elicited an encouraging 6 responses and 2 further allocations of Atlas squares. Any further contributions will be very welcome.

A new Warden has been appointed at the Gwent Levels Wetland Reserve; Tony Pickup started on July 1st.  Vandalism by gypsies in the GLWR car park has resulted in the erection of a height restriction bar at the entrance to the car park as a deterrent.

Ian Smith proposed increasing the font size and changing the layout of The Dipper to make it more accessible to those members who find the current format too difficult to read. Unaware that such a problem exists further discussion was deferred to the August meeting in order to assess some sample pages. Unfortunately Ian was unable to be present at the August meeting.  However preliminary calculations suggest that, using the June Dipper as an example, at the proposed new font size, the number of pages would double even if some content was lost, postage would nearly double which would cause membership fees to increase sooner rather than later. Some of this increased cost could, perhaps, be deferred if members were willing to receive The Dipper electronically, i.e., by e-mail. Discussion will continue at the October meeting.

Stephanie Tyler attended the August meeting to outline the Planning Application at The Hendre, Monmouth. (See page 7). There is insufficient bird interest to enable GOS to vociferously protest but rare butterflies, moths and badger setts will enable CPRW, GWT and the Woodland Tust to make a strong protest. GOS will be a supporter of the protest but will defer a decision whether to commit any funds to the protest until a later date.

Goytre House Wood continues to attract interest with the exciting news that, of the 31 nest boxes installed in the Spring of this year, 20 were occupied by tits, (16 blue Tits, 4 Great Tits) and one occupied by Spotted Flycatcher.  Building on this success we have now applied to M.C.C. for a Grant for Kestrel and Bat boxes. (See page 8)

Our appeal for GWT members to help the Atlas project has so far produced 10 casual records and 10 transect counts, an increasingly successful and useful outcome.

The BTO is looking for more volunteers to assist with a Winter Farmland Survey. This and other survey appeals will be made elsewhere in this issue (See page 6 & 5).  Also, Al Venables is awaiting the return of Atlas Cards.

Car Lifts to Indoor Meetings

There are several members who no longer attend the indoor meetings because they do not want to drive to Goytre in the dark but would be grateful for a lift. If these people would make themselves known to any Committee member we will publish brief addresses in The Dipper and ask for driver-members to respond, again via a Committee member, to arrange lifts. In this way, anonymity and security should be maximised.

Volunteers Wanted!

Trevor Russell

Reluctantly, we had to cancel our attendance at both the Monmouth Show on Thursday 22nd August and Newport Wildlife Event at Tredegar House on Bank Holiday Monday because we couldn’t find sufficient volunteers to help man our stand for a few hours. This was because our traditional band of helpers - too often Committee members - were unable to make it and I ran out of likely contact names.

I am sure that amongst our membership there are many who would be willing to help, if you only knew that help was required! I need to know who you are so that I can contact you nearer the time to see whether you are available to attend for a particular event.

  • Let me stress that it is good fun, you will meet lots of friendly people and I am confident that you will enjoy the occasion.
  • Admission to the show is often free for stand attendees.
  • Attendance on the stand works in a loose shift system and your presence is required for only two or three hours, though longer if you like. Provided that we have sufficient cover this would allow you walk around and see the rest of the show during the day.
  • You would be required to help administer our Bird Quiz (it’s easy, even I can do it) and sell Annual Reports, Atlases etc.
  • No previous experience is necessary and there is no age limit for volunteers however young or old!

We attend local shows in order to promote the Society and recruit new members if we can.

The Monmouth Show is usually held on the last Thursday in August (though not this year) and the Newport Wildlife Event at Tredegar House on August Bank Holiday Monday. Given sufficient volunteers we could even consider extending our presence to include the Chepstow Show and the Usk Show (not possible in the past due to volunteer ‘burn-out’)

If you feel you would like to be involved, please let me have your name and telephone number, together with preferred event(s), so that I can draw up a (hopefully) long list of volunteers that I can contact when I know show dates.

Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you,

Library Update

George Noakes

We have acquired a new video, which will be available at the indoor meeting on 21st September:

  • Gulls: the gulls of Europe, Asia and North America (Bird Images Video Guides)

Felicity Branigan has kindly donated the following videos to the library:

  • Kingfisher and Short-eared Owl (RSPB)
  • BBC-RSPB Video Guide to British Garden Birds
  • The Living Isles (A Natural History of Britain and Ireland) (BBC)

I would welcome any suggestions of books, videos, CDs or DVDs that might be of interest to members.

Bert Hamar Memorial Trophy

As in previous years, the Society would like to award a bursary of up to £100 for an ornithological project in Gwent in memory of Bert Hamar.  The grant is available to GOS members only, and a condition of the grant is that a short article on the project would be written for the annual report.  Applications, including details of the project, estimated expenses and any other funding should be sent to Trevor Russell by 15th October.

A small sub-committee will consider applications, and the successful applicant will be announced at the AGM in January.

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