Goshawk, Wentwood Forest, Gwent


Iberian chiffchaff was my intended target but it wasn’t until I met another birder that I even found the right location for it. BirdGuides had that down as 80m right of the car park. Duh! That put it in any direction, so I wandered aimlessly for about an hour before my saviour arrived.

Just getting to the Forest was a challenge. I knew to come off the A449 at Usk, where I sought Llantrisant signs. No deal. I was over the river in double quick time – wrong, wrong, wrong. The map showed that, even before the Abergavenny junction, I needed to turn south – at a corner by a church as it happened. This led into a sort of square with a clock tower, from which there was a sign.

It was then easy to go back under the A449, ignore the actual turn-off to Llantrisant and head up to Wentwood. I knew I wanted Cadira Beeches car park, so I headed south at the first crossroads into the Forest. And soon found myself out again.

None of the parking spots I’d passed had a name, so I turned back and picked the most likely looking one. Fortunately, one person there was able to point out that I should have carried on at the crossroads. So, I backtracked further and finally reached ground zero.

I suppose I should join the 21st century and satnav myself. Or maybe GPS. Whichever is more suitable for rural route-finding.

So, chiffchaff spot identified, I waited with my new friend. And waited. And we heard a couple of chiffchaffs, pretty normal like. A couple of cuckoos. Plenty of stuff really.

Then a bulky great hawk flew over our heads. No doubt about that one – pure goshawk. Year bird 173 and the chiffchaff never did show. But, hey, what a consolation prize.

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