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

Sunday, 21 April 2013


The gull colony on the pitched asbestos roof of a haulage company in Brynmawr now supports a substantial population of birds. Some appear to be sitting on nests others are carrying moss in readiness. Birds with rings take a bit of digging out but the with the help of a scope the odd one can be found. This lesser black backed gull with light blue O+M maybe a Cardiff/Flat Holm bird. By the way there was still at least one great black backed gull visible on the roof. Not sure Gwent has ever had an inland breeding record of this species.

Bryn Bach Park was the busiest I've every seen it. The first sunny weekend day of the spring brought out the family duck feeders en masse. As a result parking at the site was difficult and using binoculars in such a public place generated some lingering looks from the ill informed. Although one elderly lady and self confessed RSPB member did take the time to ask if I'd seen anything interesting.

All this duck feeding that often results in a brawl of Canada goose, coot, mallard and gull seems to attract the attention of the lesser scaup. The bird made its way from centre lake to within less that 10 metres when several children loaded with smart price bread appeared. Even so it never seemed interested in the food just in the commotion created by it.

Those followers of this natural history journal will have picked up on my interest in the standing water habitats of the Heads of the Valleys corridor. Collectively they represent a significant wetland resource and I'm sure that if this landscape scale collection of stepping stone habitats had been located in the Wye Valley or on the Gwent Levels those who seek to protect biodiversity for further generations will have taken more of an interest in their value and conservation. 

Unexpectedly an hitherto unvisited pond came to my attention whilst surfing Google Earth. Cefn Golau Pond is a small pond on the uplands above Tredegar not far from Bryn Bach Park. Its unremarkable in terms of quality wetland sites with next to no emergent vegetation but it does have a wooded central island where Canada goose, coot and mallard were residing. A few pied wagtail were flitting about but one bird that had alighted on the outer branches of an island tree caught my attention. It eventually moved to feed along the shoreline and turned out to be a white wagtail.

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