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Sun, 01 May 2016 Aberbargoed to Cwmsyfiog Wood Warbler
Tue, 03 May 2016 Oxbow the Bryn Swift
Mon, 02 May 2016 Waunavon Bog Short Eared Owl

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Don't wait any longer - object NOW to the M4 black route!
The deadline for doing so is Wednesday 4 May.  
 
This is your chance to help save the birds and wildlife of the Gwent Levels. Click here for more information.
 
Email your objection to info@m4-can.co.uk with the words 'Formal Objection - please forward to the Welsh Government' in the Subject line. 
 
The BTO's 2016 House Martin survey

This year's House Martin Nest Study allows survey sites to be self selected by participants so if you're lucky enough to have House Martins nesting on your own (or a nearby) house you can take part without even leaving your street.  If you're not that lucky just pick any area in Gwent where House Martins are nesting.

Click here to access the BTO's website where you'll find further information about this survey.  And click here to reach the resources page which includes an online video tutorial to help participants use the online data entry system.

 
GOS policies

GOS policies, as required by the Charity Commission, can be read here.

 
Reporting sightings of rare and Schedule 1 birds on GOS website
In Gwent's wide variety of habitats we have many sites of ornithological interest which hold rare and Schedule 1 breeding bird species.  Newport Wetlands Reserve, which encompasses Goldcliff lagoons, Uskmouth reedbeds and the grasslands, is a well managed site and very secure for breeding birds, but sites elsewhere in the county are unprotected and the many breeding species present there are vulnerable to threats such as disturbance and, potentially, even egg collectors.  
 
For this reason please AVOID POSTING SIGHTINGS WHICH INCLUDE SPECIFIC LOCATIONS (other than at NWR) for any rare, locally rare or Schedule 1 species that you suspect are breeding, showing signs of breeding behaviour or are in suitable habitat, on the Gwent Ornithological Society Sightings page.  
 
If you discover a rare or Schedule 1 species that you suspect is breeding, please report your sighting directly to the county recorder at countyrecorder@gwentbirds.org.uk or on 07982 719881.  
 
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.           
 
Tom Chinnick
Gwent County Bird Recorder
 
 
Schedule 1 species which may be found include the following:
 
Garganey
Spoonbill
Red Kite
Marsh Harrier
Osprey
Little Ringed Plover
Kinfisher
Merlin
Hobby
Peregrine
Firecrest
Bearded Tit 
Woodlark
Cetti’s Warbler 
Crossbill
 
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nest sites sought
If you're lucky enough to find a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nest this spring please consider contacting Ken Smith who is investigating whether low productivity could be the cause of the decline in this much sought-after species. For more information on his work, and hints on how to find LSWs, click here.  
Contact Ken on 07815 456280 or at ken.smith910@ntlworld.com
Start looking and listening now as they drum and call from mid-February but become unobtrusive when actually breeding.  
 
BTO surveys this breeding season
The second phase of the House Martin survey involves regular counts at any colony that is convenient for you to visit so if you're lucky to have one on your own, or a neighbour's, house, that would be perfect.  Visit http://bto.org/volunteer-surveys/house-martin-survey/house-martin-nest-study-2016 for details of how to get involved.
 
The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main method of tracking the fortunes of our common breeding birds.  It involves walking a 2km route (through a 1 km square) twice during the breeding season and counting everything you see and hear.  It would involve only about 2 hrs per visit.  There are always some squares available but this year several long-term participants have had to give up their squares (an effect of an aging population of volunteers).  The majority of the birds that you will record will be common species (though there may be the occasional more unusual one) so there should be no problems with identification (and I could let you have a CD of bird song to refresh your memories).  As well as getting you out into some interesting countryside, the main benefits come from tracking the year to year changes in your chosen square.  The BTO have allocated 20 new squares for 2016 so there should be a few that are convenient for you to visit.  I hope you can give BBS a try this year and help with this important survey.  
 
To give you a better idea as to which areas may be close to where you live I have grouped the available 1 km squares around five general regions of the county as follows: 
 
Newport area - ST2396, ST3482, ST2497, ST2689, ST2385, ST2097, ST3491, ST2785, ST2693, ST2292, ST3593.
Chepstow area - ST4698, ST4896, ST4585, ST4497, ST5290.
Monmouth area - SO4817, SO5414, SO5119, SO5117, SO4502, SO4708.
Abergavenny area - SO3228, SO3621, SO3929, SO3707, SO3011, SO3726, SO2318, SO3624, SO3307, SO3519, SO3728.
Western Valleys - SO2000, SO1902, SO2303, SO1402, SO2901.
 
Existing routes have already been established through some of these squares (these could be amended if you wish) but others are new and have never been surveyed before.  Please get back to me if you think you might be able to help or want more information, or visit http://bto.org/volunteer-surveys/bbs for more details and to see a map of all the squares.
 
The Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS) (the equivalent of the BBS) involves walking several 500m sections of a waterway.  The only WBBS section available at the time of writing is along the R Ebbw, at Cross Keys, where a long-term participant has had to relinquish his route.  Further details can be found at http://bto.org/volunteer-surveys/wbbs .  Please contact me if you can help.
 
Jerry Lewis 01873 855091 or jmsl2587@yahoo.co.uk
 
Gwent Bird Report 2014

Errata

Please note that:

1). Re. Gadwall:

In the species account for Gadwall, in the recently published Gwent Bird Report, the table of monthly maxima is incorrect. The corrected version of the table (included with the full account for context) is as follows -

Gadwall

Apart from the two main sites of NWR and Llanwern, numbers were generally lower that last year. Monthly maxima at sites with records in at least 3 months are tabulated below.

 

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

NWR

65

74

34

26

35

12

6

29

56

53

105

62

Llanwern Steelworks

23

20

12

14

6

14

5

17

34

24

34

1

Nedern Brook Wetlands

2

2

5

4

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peterstone Pill

 

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Otherwise there were scattered records of very small numbers at another six sites: Wentwood Reservoir, up to 6 in Jan/Feb; Ynysyfro Reservoir, 2 in Dec; The Warrage, 2 in Aug; Magor Marsh, 3 in Jan and 2 in Apr; Collister Pill, 2 in May, 3 in Sep; Llandegfedd Reservoir, 2 in July (AA, DMS, SJT, BB, C&DJ, SRS).

Breeding: At least 3 pairs bred successfully at Llanwern Steelworks (PO’D), and one pair at NWR (ND).

_____________________________

2) Re. Grey Heron

In the Grey Heron species account, the record of 28 at West Usk lighthouse on 16th Feb, is incorrect. The sentence containing this reference should be removed in its entirety.

 
Your 2015 records needed
It's that time of year again!  Make it your New Year's resolution to download the Excel spreadsheet from the GOS website and start entering your sightings – records should be submitted by 31 January 2016.  Click here to see how to do this.
 
Although we’d definitely prefer to receive records submitted using the spreadsheet, records submitted via Word documents and paper slips will still be accepted.  If you use Word, please make sure there is a new line for each record and that data is entered in the following order and separated by a Tab: 
 
Species name, location/site, date of sighting, number of birds, comments (such as age/sex of birds, breeding notes etc), your name and initials.
 
But please try the spreadsheet method – you'll find it easy and we'll find sorting and assessing your records much simpler.  
 
Please email your records to Tom Chinnick at countyrecorder@gwentbirds.org.uk or post them to me at
                   School House, Llandenny, Usk NP15 1DL.
 
Help track waders on the Severn Estuary

BTO and Wildfowl and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have recently started a project to understand more about the home ranges of three species of waders (Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin) and a range of duck species on the Severn Estuary between Newport and Cardiff.  As part of this work the Redshank and Curlew have been colour ringed and Dunlin and some ducks marked with yellow dye.  In addition, they have put state-of-the-art GPS tracking devices on some of the Curlew, Redshank and Shelduck - this is giving fascinating information about how birds use the estuary through the winter during both the day and the night.  Work is ongoing, with the aim of marking more birds of these species and additional duck species during January and February.  Click here to read more about the project.

 
Fancy helping to monitor reptiles or amphibians?

The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) needs more people to take part in their monitoring scheme – the National Amphibian and Reptile Recorders Scheme (NARRS) – in the southern half of Wales.  Sites to be monitored could include one known to you (e.g. your garden or local park) or one in a randomly selected area near your postcode, and could be for reptiles or amphibians or both.  It is essential to register before spring.  Training/mentoring is available.  All you need to know is available on http://narrs.org.uk/ .

 

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