North is where the Wheatears go.
I saw one a few weeks ago now during a visit to Goldcliff Lagoons and it was great to see a newly arrived bird. It must have been exhausted after its monster flight. Once these migrants arrive around the coast. They don't hang about very long. The males usually arrive first a little earlier than the females because they need to establish breeding territories ready for when the females arrive.
Wheatears rarely breed on the coast . They are birds of upland moorland habitat so in Gwent the birds will head inland and to North Gwent where suitable habitat can be found.
Every spring I like to travel North and check on how the Wheatears are doing at a few of my local patches.
This weekend I found a number of good locations of Wheatears in the Blorenge area.
The Wheatears are starting to grow in numbers and fairly easy to locate. They are members of the chat family and if you listen carefully you will hear them making a "chack chack" contact call and often they will do this whilst perched on a wall, fence,stone or sign post.
I was surprised to see both male and females. They also appear to have started to pair up.
There appears to be plenty of insect food around. There are plenty of sheep and wild horses locally that graze on the moorland. There faeces attracts all kinds of insects which are food for the Wheatears.
The Wheatears are not the only birds that have started arriving in the Gwent Uplands. Meadow Pipits were showing well. They are are often found in the same areas as Wheatears. I am not sure how they compete in regards to food as they seems to have a similar diet but each species appears to tolerate each other.
Stonechats are also making an appearance. They like Meadow Pipits tend to travel to coastal areas in the Winter but they soon return to the uplands in the Spring.
I look forward to the months ahead now as all these species will be showing well and in greater numbers.
An early spring newborn I noticed was a Wild Pony fole. It was good fun watching it try and play with its mother. The mare was very patient and put up with her energetic youngster, every now and gain nudging it to calm it down or to stop it getting to close to people and the road.
The views remain fabulous when the sun is out. Its a fantastic part of the world.