Wales

Rare goshawks nest at Cwmcarn Forest site

A "nest-cam" has been set up for birdwatchers in a south Wales forest after the arrival of a rare bird of prey.

Known as "the phantoms of the forest," only 500 breeding pairs of goshawks exist in UK.

But one pair have made Cwmcarn Forest in Newport their home and have laid four eggs at a secret location.

The RSPB camera has been set up so visitors can see the birds without disturbing them.

It is also aimed at deterring poachers.

The goshawks made their big screen debut at Cwmcarn this month and visitors will be able to watch the pair hatch and rear their chicks until the end of August.

Laura Reynolds from RSPB Cymru said: "So far we have been able to see both the male and female goshawk strutting their stuff in the nest and carefully incubating their beautiful pale blue eggs - which in total numbers four.

"With only 500 breeding pairs estimated across the UK, to see this bird of prey up close and personal in the wild through the nest-cam is an amazing experience.

"We are looking forward to educating visitors about the goshawks plight and to give them a close-up viewing of the otherwise secretive forest dwellers."

Image caption Most British goshawks do not move far from their breeding sites.

Due to a reduction in forests, goshawks became extinct as a breeding species in Britain at the end of the 1800s.

The current breeding population is now increasing in the UK and originates from birds that have either escaped captivity or were deliberately released. Recent forest management has also helped the rare species to survive.

Male goshawks, which range from 46cm to 62cm in height, are grey-brown with a striped tail, close-set yellow eyes and a white "eyebrow", giving the birds a fierce expression.

Most British goshawks do not move far from their breeding sites. Young birds disperse in all directions in late summer, while some northern populations move south in autumn.

Cwmcarn Forest manager Michael Owen said staff were "thrilled" to find the rare birds nesting on the site.

"The RSPB, in partnership with the Forestry Commission Wales and Caerphilly Council, are able to transmit live images back to the visitor centre, making this the best seat in the house to follow the progress at the nest site," he said.

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