Home Articles Mark's Argus Column 9th April 2011 - Avian Therapy Keeps Me Smiling
9th April 2011 - Avian Therapy Keeps Me Smiling PDF Print E-mail

Like many other people I tend to feel a lot more cheerful when the days become longer, the weather warms up and the trees start to regain their leaves. However, it's birds that really raise my spirits in the spring.

The increased singing, the appearance of summer visitors and watching  them court and build nests really put me in a good mood...and it's just as well they do; Over the past week I've had to fork out a small fortune getting my car through it's MOT - plus I had to tax it. I've also had to part with a similarly significant sum for an operation on my pet cat. Luckily these irritants have been soothed by watching a pair of treecreepers build a nest and spotting a pair of red grouse in a place I've long hoped to see them whilst out running.

My mood was lifted even higher by the recent arrival of a house martin to the nest cups under my eaves. This bird turned up nearly three weeks earlier than previous years and as I write this is making it's chattering call from the nest entrance. I was so delighted to see it that I even managed to see the funny side when discovering my garage and it's contents were covered in stinking apple pulp following an explosive mishap during my teenaged children's secret attempt to make cider!

Red Grouse House Martin

Migrant Update

Lots more birds are arriving every day. Recent sightings include ring ouzel, sedge, reed, willow and  garden warblers, tree pipit, redstart and whitethroat - Keep abreast of whats happening, and record the birds you have seen on the sightings page at www.gwentbirds.org.uk

Birdwatching Events

There are a number of birdwatching walks coming up:

On Saturday 16th April you are invited to come on a short out of county trip to Craig Cerrig Gleisiad. This Nature Reserve, situated between Merthyr and Brecon off the A470, is a great place to see elusive upland birds such as ring ouzel. The 3 – 4 hour walk is being led by affable local birder Rob Parsons and starts at 8am from the second layby after leaving Libanus on the A470 (SN 989 249).

On Saturday 7th May the very edge of North Gwent is the venue with a trip to Llangattock Quarries; Meet Paul Kelly at 8am at the Bridgend PH car park, Brynmawr (just off the roundabout) for this 4–5 hour walk that takes in local mountain and moorland - There is no need to book, just turn up.

New faces (especially Argus readers) are always welcome at GOS events.

Walkers should remember to bring suitable clothing (boots essential), food and drink – and binoculars if you have them.   

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 GOS's programme of walks and talks, just let me know.

For readers in Newport who fancy something a little closer to home, The Countryside Council for Wales have arranged a free two hour walk at Newport Wetlands Reserve on Saturday 16th April to check out breeding wading birds. The reserve is an important site for lapwing, avocet, redshank and oystercatcher and if you would like to see how they are faring, meet the  Wardens at the Farmers Arms car park at 9.30am.

For more details please call  01633 636363.

On Saturday 30th April there is another guided walk taking place at the Reserve, This leisurely one and a half hour stroll starts at the RSPB visitor centre at 10am and involves looking around the reedbeds for breeding birds such as coot and the beautiful great crested grebe.  This is a free event, but  walkers are asked to call the number above to book a place.

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.