A walk down Plas Crug Avenue

As a counter-balance to all this hard-nosed politics, here’s a piece about the bird life found in one of the jewels of Aberystwyth – Plas Crug Avenue, a place I walk or cycle through several times a week. It’s taken from the just-published newsletter of the Greener Aberystwyth Group who, in turn, took it from the Ceredigion Bird Report by Harry Pepper.

"I‘m a firm believer that birds can be found almost anywhere. Like many people interested in birds I like to visit the hotspots, but also get a great deal of satisfaction from my local patch. For me, Plas Crug Avenue fits the bill. It has a variety of birdlife to maintain my interest and is small enough to cover during a lunch break. Blackbirds are present all along the avenue, often accompanied by a few Song Thrushes, while Redwings are sometimes found in the trees at the cemetery, with occasional Fieldfares preferring the adjacent playing field. The mature trees, bushes and hedgerows hold Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Great and Blue Tits, while the commonest bird is the Robin. Wrens can be seen at close range foraging the low vegetation, with parties of Long-tailed Tits and Goldfinches preferring the area between the Rheidol Retail Park and the Crown Building.

"Less regular, are Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Goldcrest, while the tall trees near the cemetery provide occasional sightings of Coal Tit and Siskin. Each autumn I await the first Kingfisher, when a careful approach to favoured stretches of the ditch will provide good views. It was on one of these approaches that I flushed my first Jack Snipe, but during a cold snap Common Snipe may turn up. During spells of cold weather a Little Egret has taken up residence, providing interest even among non-birders. On one occasion it brought work in a Crown Building office to a standstill as it struggled for 20 minutes trying to swallow an eel.

"A new bird was added to my Aberystwyth list in February 2008 when, approaching the far end of the ditch, I was surprised to find myself looking at a Water Rail, which stayed for another two weeks. This was a very productive period. During one lunchtime walk lasting only half an hour, I saw Little Egret, Kingfisher, Water Rail and Snipe as well as the usual small birds and even had a Kestrel flying over to finish off.

"Not all visits produce such birds, but even on the quietest of days it is good to get out in the fresh air to have a look, before returning to work refreshed and wondering what the next day will bring."