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28 June 2019

Every now and then I come across some truly inspirational people. People who have gone above and beyond to unselfishly help our wildlife. Our wildlife certainly needs all the help it can get with new build developments popping up all over Wales and in particular on my doorstep. 

At present we have a new state of the art hospital, huge new secondary school and a sixth form block all being built in Cwmbran. Just up the road in Sebastapool is a huge housing development with over 1000 new houses being built. However the developers have totally disrespected the natural area by not including Hedgehog highways, Bat, swift bricks or House Martin clusters. As long as there is a huge profit and the CEO`s just about manage to feed their families then all is well. This particular lady has worked with a group who rescue hedgehogs. The image opposite is a hedgehog who is using one of her nest boxes. 

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28 Mai/May 2019

I was so relieved to find that two pairs of Redstarts had returned to my Redstart/Pied Fly site. Disastrously following the 2016 season when I had 6 Pairs of Redstart. Its a complete mystery how I lost 6 pairs for 3 years.

Anyway that is for the history books Im just so relieved that I now have 2 Pairs of this magnificent bird nesting back where they belong here in Wales. Hopefully they will have a healthy clutch each so the offspring can return next year and also start the cycle of life themselves.

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May 27 2019

To raise money for my project I get pallets from a friend and turn them into things. My friend Lisa asked me to make her a kennel for her beautiful Labrador. So i broke down several pallets and over laped them to make the kennel waterproof. This is Indian hard wood so will take a while to rot. Lisa could paint or stain it at a later date.

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The European Pied Flycatcher feeds mainly on insects caught from a perch. The bird hovers and captures the prey in flight or on the ground after a light dive. During the nesting period, it favours the caterpillars to feed the young. 
It gleans among leaves, but also on tree-trunks and branches, and on the ground where it takes non-flying preys such as caterpillars and some earthworms. It also consumes snails and may occasionally hammer them on hard surface to break open the shell, as the Song Thrush.    
It also takes some plant matter such as fruit and berries, and seeds. It picks berries from the bushes while hovering.

5 Mai/ May 2019

Thought I would share my amazing encounter I had with 6 stunning little Fox Cubs. Mum and dad must have been out hunting and these brave little cubs decided to have a snoop just outside of the den hole.

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5 Mai/May 2019

It was an amazing feeling when I found out that Redstarts had returned after a two year absence. The past two years have been considerably negative in terms of Redstart numbers. Last year I saw 1 male Redstart and thought that they had almost vanished from the area. But when I checked on my Pied Flycaycher nest box site I was so relieved to find 2 Redstart nests with one nest having eggs.

I am hoping that this will be a successful year for them and hopefully with good size clutches of 6-7 eggs in both nests would be great. I will make sure we ring these chicks along with my Pieds.

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4 Mai/ May 2019

Last years breeding season for me was a complete disaster. I only has 18 Pied Flycatcher pairs nesting and tragically 2 of them were predated by wood mice. We did manage to ring most of the chicks thought on a brighter note. But considering the year before I had 26 Pied Flycatcher pairs nesting, so with the two predated nests I was 10 nests down from the year before.

So that brings me to 2019 season. Whilst monitoring and looking for returning female Pied Flycatchers I can honestly say my heart sunk and I thought this season was going to repeat last years disaster. My first initial thoughts were that returning male numbers looked very good indeed and for a while I was hearing numerous single males singing away on trees with nest boxes on. So my first count was about 16 nests built or in the process and I thought well at least its not going to be any lower than last year.

So after leaving it for a couple of days I thought I would venture out and try and get a more accurate acount of numbers in total. What a magical day it turned out to be for me and a day I will probably remember for years to come. After monitoring all nest boxes in this particular area I counted 28 Pied Flycatcher nests either nearly finished, complete or with eggs in. The day got even better with the discovery of two Redstart nests in boxes which was amazing considering all my 6 pairs of Redstarts from a few years ago had completely disappeard.It was so exciting for me because I love this species an absolutley stunning bird. So I thought the day couldn`t possibly get any better but it did. On my way home I checked on my Pontypool nest box site which did have 2 Pairs of Pieds a few years ago. Cut a long story short Booom !!! 2 more Pied Fly nests. Total 30 nests.

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1 Mai/ May 2019

Unfortunately I recieved some devastating news today by my good friend and fellow project volunteer David Tew. David had been to check up on my nest box site up at Blaenbran Community Woodlands in Cwmbran. As you can see in the image opposite we had several nest boxes vandalised. This was not the first time unfortunately so its not classed as an isolated incident. Blaenbran is a beautiful part of our Borough of Torfaen and it used used daily by walkers, dog walkers, Mountain bikers, Scouts, cubs, Brownies and bird watchers. It basically caters for all. 

If i am being brutally honest i did think at the time of erecting them even at ladder height we might get one or two vandalised. So i have made the decision to remove all nest boxes at the end of the breeding season.

23 Mawrth/ March 2019

.We had a very productine day today by erecting 2 Barn Owl nest boxes. Our first nest box of the day was  in beautiful Bwlch which is set in the Brecon Beacons national park and near Brecon. Our second nest box was fitted on top of cut down conifer trees and situated just outside the beautiful town of Talgarth. I must mention my good friend Nathan Jones who gave up his Saturday to help me out. Nathan is a great person who never moans and just gets on the the task at hand.

Diolch yn fawr lawn Nath

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2 Marwth/ March 2019

To help me take my mind of my little Owain I with the help of my friend Stuart Smallwood managed to erect this nice looking Barn Owl nest box on Stuarts land situated near beautiful Llandegfedd Reservoir in Monmouthshire. We know there are Barn Owls on the land because they are using an old Oak tree with a huge cavity, This cavity is starting to rot and thr roof of it has now got a hole in it. So we may have erect this nest box at the right time.

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1 Mawrth/ March 2019

This morning my wife and I had to make that dreaded decision to have our beautiful Spaniel Owain put to sleep. It's the end of an era for us and especially for our children who grew up with two Springer Spaniels. Obviously we are all heartbroken and will need time to adjust without our boy. We take a little comfort knowing Owain had over 14 years of fun and happiness although we know it will never be the same without him. Fly high over rainbow bridge and run free of pain with Celsey beautiful boy

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20 February 2019

I promised myself a