News archive

The walk advertised for 24th April from Brynmawr is still expected to go ahead under social distancing and the ‘Rule of Six’.
If attendees exceed six, smaller groups will be set up under a leader for the walk(s) to take place.
See the walk details for meeting arrangements and time.

Sun 4th Apr 2021

Inland Curlew sightings

GOS is collecting data on Curlews at possible breeding sites in Gwent. If you’re lucky enough to see or hear Curlews at inland sites please send the following information to Curlew@gwentbirds.org.uk : the date, number of birds, any vocalisation (call or bubbling song), any interaction between birds, the habitat and location (grid reference as well as nearest town or village).  All information, no matter how little, will be helpful.

Fri 1st Jan 2021

Stephanie Tyler MBE

Congratulations to Steph Tyler on being awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours List.
The award was made for services to nature conservation in the UK and Africa.

If you haven’t already signed up to take part in the survey then it’s not too late as there are a few remaining opportunities, but please get in touch with us soon.

Since the river and roost survey was announced there has been a fantastic response with people wanting to take part. Coverage for the main rivers has already been agreed and given the level of interest we have also started to recruit people to take part in surveying the western valley rivers. There are some opportunities remaining to help with sections of the Rhymney, Sirhowey, Ebbw and Monnow rivers. The Afon Lwyd is not currently included, but if sufficient people come forward we will add the river to the survey.

There has also been a good response to the roost survey with many reservoirs/ponds already allocated. There are however still some sites available – mostly in the heads of the valleys but also Ponthir Reservoir. If you would like to take part in a simple evening survey of a local site then please get in touch.

Finally, we would also like to hold a reserve list of potential surveyors – people to “come off the bench” if necessary.

Most people should be able to take on a roll in the survey. The good news is that these are not difficult species to identify and therefore you don’t need a great deal of birding experience. Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to spend considerable time in the field. For example, the Goosander evening roost project might only require up to 90mins of your time per monthly visit. With this survey it’s also great to be out birding at a different time of the day.

The river survey will require more effort, but it will ensure that you have time to fully appreciate the fantastic waterways of our county. The rivers will be divided into sections of 3-5 km so you do not have to walk far.

Survey work gets underway next month with the river survey on the 14th and the first roost visit on the evening of the 15th November. By taking part you will be contributing to an important survey, the results of which will help inform future policy decisions about fish-eating birds.

Where can I find out more?

Steph Tyler (river survey) and Richard Clarke (roost survey) are co-ordinating the survey work, so why not get in touch to learn more about how you can help with this important survey.

Contact details:

Richard Clarke (roost survey) – surveys@GwentBirds.org.uk or Tel: 01633 615581

Steph Tyler (river survey) – steph_tyler2001@hotmail.com

We are pleased to advise you that GOS Members no longer require a permit to visit Llandegfedd Reservoir in the closed season. (October 1st to March 1st.)

The Society has negotiated a Group Permit which the Society will fund. Your membership card will act as your permit if you are asked to present it. Membership cards from 2021 will have details printed on the reverse side.

In order to gain access at the north end of the reservoir during the closed season you will require a code for the new combination lock that is now on the gate. If you hold a key from past years this will no longer be suitable.

In order to obtain the combination code please initially email chairman@gwentbirds.org.uk with your full name & membership number (if known) as we have to maintain a list of members having access to the reservoir. The combination is likely to change each year so you will have to ‘renew’ your access each year.

We hope that this new benefit of society membership will be welcomed.

Petition to Safeguard Kenfig Nature ReserveOne of the finest nature reserves in Wales is under threat.
The internationally important sand-dune habitats at Kenfig need to be managed, otherwise they will lose their exceptional value. Bridgend council carried out this work for many years but has had to withdraw due to financial pressures.

The sites owner, a secretive and unaccountable body called the Kenfig Corporation, has not been prepared to agree any future plans. Compulsory purchase may be the only option left.

Kenfig’s sand-dunes are recognised as a Special Area of Conservation, Europe’s highest nature conservation designation.
The Kenfig Corporation has charitable status and so is required by law to take decisions in the public interest. Natural Resources Wales, the country’s public nature conservation agency, has ben trying to negotiate with the corporation to secure the site’s future but these discussions have reached an impasse. The corporation has not been willing to agree to any of the proposed options, for reasons that are unclear. It is time for the decision to be taken out of their hands.

In exceptional cases, where there is clear public interest, the Welsh Government has the power to undertake compulsory purchase to protect a site like Kenfig. Compulsory purchase need not be costly, the site has no commercial value and so there is no reason why the Kenfig Corporation could not sell it to the Welsh Government for a nominal sum.

The link to the petition is: https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/244222