RSPB Newport Wetlands

Cardiff Bay, 1990

That was easy. Off the M5 at junction 24 to take the A48 (not the A455, as some authorities have it) into town. Then the brown signs take over and finally the RSPB signs. There was even a Tesco on the way, although we found that the reserve actually has a café.

And entrance is free, even to non-members, probably because the whole deal is mitigation for the destruction of Cardiff Bay. The concept is that the developers throw a relatively minuscule wad of their profits to create reedbeds and pools. So, the waders that used the old mudflats can go to the Wetlands instead.

Is it just me? Or does that logic sound screwy to you?

The facts appear to be that the waders died. Proponents of the Severn Barrage tell us not to worry about the same happening because of that monstrosity.

Like fuck.

The big draw of these reedbeds is bearded tits. We didn’t manage them but we did manage lesser whitethroat, distantly calling cuckoo, loads of Cetti’s and one overflying little egret.

Now, best saved for last: on the way over, we detoured up the hill to Wentwood Forest again. This time the Iberian chiffchaff started singing after about five minutes and very distinctive it was too. It only took another five to locate the bird but the distance was always too great to pick out field marks. Never mind, job done. World lifer number 1066 and all that; British bird 282 (that well-known steam locomotive wheel formation); and year species 174… which is the size in hectares of the nearby Llandegfedd Reservoir. (Isn’t Google a wonderful thing?)

Wentwood is truly wonderful too. To my Sunday haul I added tree pipit, raven and a sparrowhawk that I tried desperately to turn into another gos. No deal. Nature doesn’t do deals like that.

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