Something to look forward to in the New Year. Steve Butler will be leading a bird walk in the Meadows on Saturday 13th January. Meet at 10am in the Byfield Lane car park, wearing clothes and footwear appropriate to the weather.
Thanks to Steve Butler for guiding a group around the edges of Castle Meadows (edges are often more interesting places for wildlife) to look for butterflies. A good range of species were spotted: speckled wood, large white, red admiral, comma, meadow brown, ringlet, tortoiseshell and green-veined white. However, for the second occasion on our walks this year the highlight was a moth – this time a magnificent elephant hawkmoth found in the copse.
Many thanks to Sheelagh Kerry of the Monmouthshire Meadows Group for taking us around the meadows this morning and demonstrating just how varied “grassland” can be. Three species of clover, three of buttercup and more than ten of grass can be found in what might look, at first sight, like a uniform habitat.
A large crowd gathered in the copse adjacent to Abergavenny’s Castle Meadows on the last Saturday in April to witness the planting of the 100th oak tree in an area specially devoted to the commemoration of Abergavenny’s 364 war dead, a century on from the conflict.
Following a welcome and introduction to the event from the Friends of Castle Meadows, retiring Cllr Doug Edwards, whose Grofield ward incorporates the meadows, commented on his proud assocation with the Friends group and the efficacy of their working relationship with Monmouthshire County Council’s Countryside Service in co-promoting and managing the site. Before planting the oak (with assistance from five year old Joshua, see photo) he concluded by remarking on the human sadness and tragedy of the war, Continue reading
A dozen of us joined Mark Langley from Monmouthshire Countryside Services for a dusk walk around the Meadows to look and listen for bats. First stop was the river, but there was too much wind to spot the Daubenton’s bats that can sometimes be seen skimming low over the water in search of insects. We had better luck by the copse where there were plenty of pipistrelles flying around. Mark’s bat detectors brought their calls down to human hearing range, so we could listen to them both navigating and hunting for small insects using high-frequency sound. Working out whether their squeaks were loudest at 45kHz (common pipistrelle) or 55 kHz (soprano) kept us happily – and inconclusively – occupied till well after dark.
Eighteen of us joined Steve Butler for this morning’s walk around the meadows. The birds managed an equally good turnout, with a record of 44 different species seen or heard. Highlights were a kingfisher flying down the Gavenny and up the Usk, and the first spotted flycatcher that any of us had seen this year. It was great to see one of these declining migrants, which only returned to Gwent a couple of days ago.
Full list: Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Sandpiper, Dipper, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kingfisher, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Raven, Red Kite, Robin, Sand Martin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Spotted Flycatcher, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Treecreeper, Woodpigeon, Wren.