Nothing to Grouse About (A Day Out in Wales)

Another day, another plan, another rubbish forecast. Today myself, Pete and john had planned to go to Goldcliff near Newport to try for the Glossy Ibis that has been around for a few days. With my aversion to paying to cross the Severn it was go the long way round via Gloucester. The first stop made was at Horsbere where we managed good views of the two Penduline Tits, a good result for me as on my previous visit I had only seen one of the them. I had remembered a previous visit to the Borenge near to Abergavenny for Red Grouse and the others were up for this but I think that we were all having second thoughts when we arrived onsite. At around five hundred and sixty metres with a cold north-easterly wind, drizzle and fog / mist none of us were keen to leave the car. Eventually we got moving and headed off along the track. Visibility kept changing from clear to fog then mist and back again. There was occasional song heard from Skylarks and Meadow pipits but little else. Over the sound of the wind I though that I heard a grouse calling. Pete had also heard it so with renewed enthusiasm we carried on searching. Leaving the main track we headed for the taller heather and by following the calls we were eventually rewarded with the sight of three Red Grouse  ahead of us in the murk. One of them was a male, the others female, we managed to watch them for a minute or so before they flew, soon disappearing into the mist. A great result considering the conditions.

Very different to my previous  visit (10th March 2012)  when it had been cold and windy but with blue skies.      From here we drove down to the Keepers Pond where we were surprised to say the least surprised to see four Indian Runner Ducks at the side of the pond. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture as they scooted off around the water when some dogs appeared. Then it was down the valley to Newport and along to Goldcliff where we headed for the Red Farm Hide,a new part of the reserve for us all. Here we struck lucky again with the Ibis putting in an appearance within five minutes.

Also seen here were good numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler. We then headed for the main reserve where along with many more duck we had eleven species of wader, the best being two Spotted Redshank, three Greenshank and ninety-five Avocets. A Peregrine was found out on the mudflats. From here we headed for the main Newport Reserve. An intersting area with large reedbeds set alongside a heavily industrialised backdrop. Here we were hoping for Bearded Tit. No joy with these but with a bit of effort we added another ten species to the daylist which totalled out at fifty-six.

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