Birds of the Meadows

It’s interesting to compare the lists of birds seen on our two walks around the Meadows, this January and in June 2013. On both occasions, 33 different species were seen, but only 20 of those are common to both walks (cormorant, buzzard, collared dove, wood pigeon, grey wagtail, pied wagtail, dunnock, wren, robin, blackbird, song thrush, blue tit, great tit, jay, magpie, jackdaw, carrion crow, chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch).

Of the rest, seven are seasonal migrants: redwing is a winter visitor to the UK; chiffchaff, swift, sand martin, house martin, blackcap and common sandpiper spend the summer with us, though a few individuals of the last two species also migrate to the UK in winter after spending their summers further north and east. Similarly, though we do have resident snipe throughout the year many more arrive from the continent in winter, so they tend to be more obvious then. The two species of gulls change habits with the seasons: black-headed disperse across the country in winter, whereas lesser black-backed will be closer to the sea at that time.

Most of the remaining birds are actually residents, but either their numbers or their habits make it less likely that you’ll see them on every visit. That covers bullfinch, moorhen, reed bunting, sparrowhawk from the summer list and little grebe, mallard, goosander, red kite, great spotted woodpecker, dipper, mistle thrush, long-tailed tit, nuthatch, raven from the winter one. Perhaps the most worrying comparison is that two birds that were once very common – house sparrow and starling – have now declined to the ‘not on every visit’ group.


Wildlife of Castle Meadows: 17th June 2015

Meet us outside the Shopmobility Office in Castle Street, Abergavenny (SO 301 139) (Postcode NP7 5EE) at 10.30am on Wednesday 17th June for a leisurely walk lasting about 2 hours around the nearby Linda Vista Gardens and the Castle Meadows on the banks of the River Usk. Find out about the conservation work, the flowers, the birds and much, much more! The walk is suitable for wheelchairs and also mobility scooters which can be hired in advance from the Shopmobility Office (Telephone 0800 2983656). There is a £2.00 deposit for the hire of a scooter for non-members. There is no charge for this activity. There are accessible toilets near the Shopmobility Office. Barrier free route. Assistance dogs only please.

Pathworks in the Copse

newpathMuch of the undergrowth has died down over the winter, so we’ve been able to get down to ground level (and below) to clear a second path creating a circular walk around the copse. Robins and blackbirds have been enjoying the insects our digging has turned up, and they are now starting to sing to declare their territories. The primroses we planted last year are already in flower, and we hope to see some of the bulbs emerging soon. Just by walking round and enjoying the wood you’ll be consolidating the path; if you’d like to help more, come along to one of our regular work parties.