Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Newport and Cardiff - American gull to see - eventually.

Another early rise to cycle around the Newport Wetlands reserve. Lots of cetti's calling, blackcap, willow warblers and chiffs as well. Met a local birder, Nathan and 2 'wardens - Chris & Keith. It turns out that the huge reedbeds are not RSPB but there is a cooperative going over the superb visitors centre. Was chuffed that an ex pupil from my Wolverhampton teaching days had come down all the way from the same place. Thanks Steve - great to see you. Not many birds but did have a bearded tit flying over the reeds.

Was photographed for the local newspaper, the Newport Argus, by Dave from Berkhamstead. Afterwards chatted with a very enthusiastic young RSPB warden; a would be twitcher whose name I think was Matthew.

More rain now as I made my way to Cardiff. Found Cardiff Bay and what a difference to when I was last here. Then it was a huge dirty estuary with massive rectangular pits full of seawater and jellyfish. I'd been visiting a friend from college, Susan potter from Penarth. I wonder if she's still there? Met Phil Bristow, another birder but no sign of the hoped for Bonapart's gull despite searching until dark.

Bed & Breakfast in a hotel with an oldie world decor including original Edwardian fittings. Great goal by Ashley Young won the game for the Villa against Bolton and fabulous to see United beaten by Chelsea. OK so the first goal was offside but how many decisions go United's way? Remember Vidic in the League Cup Final? I digress.

Back to Cardiff bay in the morning, late due to 2 [!] punctures. the tiniest piece of grit was the culprit. 11.00am to 3.25 then the gull was found. Worked for that one with it being sunny but cold in a very strong west wind. Bonapart's gull UTB [167].

The rest of the day was spent cycling into the strong wind to try to get as close to kenfig as possible before dark. Met a lovely couple, Chris and Karen from Nottingham at a prehistoric burial chamber. Saw another such chamber as well a couple of miles later and settled down in the tent along a footpath about 3 miles before Bridgend.

All the best everyone

Gary x


  1. Hi Gary,

    It was lovely to meet you at the burial chamber on Sunday - I'll email you the photo's in a few days, once I've sorted through the hundreds we took in our few days in Wales. Good luck with the rest of the bike ride, & I hope the weather is kind to you in Wales. You have some spectacular countryside ahead of you.

    Best wishes,

    Karen (& Steve....not Chris!)

  2. Oops, sorry Steve! Boat ride to Grassholm tomorrow. Can't wait. The weather beautiful at last. Great to meet you two too. ATB Gary