Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The ebb and flow of a once great birding venue

Peterstone Great Wharf and associated gout was once where it was at for coastal birding in Gwent, now, apart for the odd hardy birder it seems to be largely forgotten as a birding venue, relegated to mid table by the magnetism of the Newport Wetlands. It would be an interesting exercise to assess changes, if any, in birding activity and count data post the creation of Newport Wetlands as I believe a few sites including Llandegfedd Reservoir have suffered. However, todays gloom and drizzle didn't prevent me from getting down to Peterstone in the hope I'd pick up the odd wheatear or even little ringed plover.

Access to the Great Wharf was easy via a footpath past Peterstone Church where impressive numbers of shelduck were taking advantage of a retreating tide, probably over 100. Other birds on offer included, 30 curlew, 2 oystercatcher, 1 cormorant, 2 wigeon, 30 pintail, 3 little egret, 1 reed bunting, 4 teal. Didn't manage to get to the Gout as several frisky horses barred my way - this area does seem to have its fair share of nags!

Decided to move on to Tredegar House Lake en route to see how the population of breeding wildfowl was shaping up for the coming Springtime action. Nothing unsual apart for a pair of great crested grebe which I don't recall having been here before during the breeding season. Others included a pair of mute swan, 4 pair of coot, several moorhen and numerous mallard, several goldcrest were on offer as well.

The final venue before base was Ponthir Reservoir. Here only 3 mallard and 2 female goosander were on the reservoir, but my first summer migrant in the form of a singing chiffchaff made up for the lack of waterbirds. A touch of stone turning around the reservoir side did however produced a good variety of small molluscs and my first Armadillidium pulchellum a rather small pill woodlouse.

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