Wildlife to Enjoy this spring

Put a spring in your step by getting out and about in the countryside and visiting Gwent Wildlife Trusts wonderful nature reserves. There are 29 to discover, all free to visit all year round. Here, Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Sites Officer Andy Karran gives us three ideas for where to go and what to look out for this spring.

Wheatear male photo by Andy Karran“Our wintering birds are slipping away almost unnoticed to be replaced by our spring/summer visitors, making themselves known with a frenzy of display and song. Spearheading the invasion are species such as Sand Martin, Wheatear and Chiffchaff in March. These are followed by Redstarts, Willow Warbler and Blackcaps and bringing up the rear, Spotted Flycatchers and Swifts in May. These birds tend to make first land fall at the coast before spreading out in land. To see the first arrivals of these birds, I’d recommend a morning coastal walk at Peterstone Wentlooge.

Water Vole photo by Andy Karran
Unlike some of our other small mammals, the Water Vole doesn’t hibernate, but is a lot less active over the winter period. Spring however heralds a burst of activity from them and as the vegetation will not be as luxuriant on the reens yet it is a great time of year to catch a glimpse of these little beauties. The reen opposite our visitors centre at Magor Marsh is a very good site to see them.

The scarce and declining Green-winged Orchid can be seen in its thousands in our hay meadows at New Grove Meadows in Trellech. During early May it puts on a spectacular display together with Cowslips and Early Purple Orchids.

To find out more about our nature reserves and how to find them, visit www.gwentwildlife.org. Or why not join us at one of these events, to enjoy our springtime wildlife wonders:

Spring Woodland Wildflower Walk: Saturday, 28th April, Springdale Nature Reserve, Usk

Beacon Breeding Birds: Tuesday, 15th May, Beacon Hill and Cuckoo Wood, Trellech

Silent Valley Ramble: Wednesday 16th May, Silent Valley, Cwm

Beginning Wildlife Photography one day courses: Saturday, 14th and Saturday, 21st April

Visit www.gwentwildlife.org/whats-on for details and to book.