Spec­tac­u­lar scenery and a wealth of birds in the Wye Val­ley

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding -

THE RIVER WYE forms one of the most im­pres­sive river sys­tems in Bri­tain and makes for the back­bone of this val­ley walk on the bor­der­lands of Eng­land and Wales. This sec­tion of the val­ley to the south of Mon­mouth, varies widely from wooded and steep-sided, with fast flow­ing rapids, to sweep­ing me­an­ders and ox-bow lakes among flood mead­ows. Wa­ter lev­els in the river can fluc­tu­ate enor­mously fol­low­ing heavy rains that cas­cade down from the Welsh hills. In­evitably, birds such as Dip­per, King­fisher and Grey Wag­tail are the main prizes from the river­side paths, but keep a watch­ful eye out for a Lit­tle Ringed Plover on shin­gle banks where the river bends be­low Mon­mouth. On the open fields, feral geese and swans are com­mon place, while an oc­ca­sional flock of pass­ing White-fronted Geese are not un­known. Var­i­ous view­points along the way are ideal for scan­ning sur­round­ing hill­sides for dis­play­ing birds of prey. While Spar­rowhawk, Red Kite and Buz­zard are a given, Pere­grines of­ten drift down the val­ley from their breed­ing site at Sy­monds Yat. This is also Goshawk coun­try, and early spring is the per­fect time of year to glimpse this mighty rap­tor. Even though some of this walk fol­lows the na­tional Wye Val­ley foot­path, it re­mains a quiet route. PAUL TRODD

Lit­tle Ringed Plover

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