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HALF a century ago, a birdwatcher might visit a site near home, meet no other people, and get distant views of birds through a pair of "field glasses" - or, if you had naval links, a drawtube telescope.

Today, with wildlife watching worth millions to the rural economy, expectations are greater, so when the hide at Point of Ayr was demolished in 2008 following sustained vandalism, there was much clamour to replace it.

After years of work, the RSPB will open a new watchpoint at the Talacre nature reserve, Flintshire, on Saturday with a guided walk and refreshments.

Two other nature reserves are planning exciting new facilities. Over the winter, RSPB Conwy will build a Nature Observatory next to its coffee shop and a new watchpoint overlooking the high tide wader roost.

While the watchpoint is a classic wooden design, the Observatory will be made from straw grown by site owners The Crown Estate.

Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, meanwhile, is working on a 360o observatory, a sevenmetre tower at eye-level with the osprey nest at Cors Dyfi nature reserve. All three should be open for next spring.

Fieldfares arrived in numbers this week, with a caller from Cwm Penmachno describing hundreds "chacking" overhead and gorging on berries.

Bramblings have been reported in several readers' gardens along the north coast and two Great Grey Shrikes are back in Clocaenog Forest for another winter; it always amazes me how faithful these birds are to the same sites.

At RSPB Conwy on Monday I found two Firecrests chasing off all-comers; not bad for a bird that weighs just six grammes!

Firecrest Pic: PETE WOOD More Firecrests were found at Wylfa Head, Porth Meudwy and Holyhead's Breakwater Country Park.

A possible Thrush Nightingale behind Bangor High Street was not relocated, but a Siberian Chiffchaff on Bardsey showed well, joining three Richard's Pipits and a Yellow-browed Warbler on this week's list.

A juvenile Osprey remains on Anglesey's Inland Sea - could this summer visitor stay if the winter is mild? GO BIRDING THURS: "Man and Nature in Extramadura", talk by Morag McGrath, St Cyngar's Church Hall, Llangefni, 2pm.

FRI: Members' slide evening and AGM, Cambrian Ornithological Society, Pensychnant, Conwy, 7.30pm. SAT: Hide opening and guided walk, RSPB Point of Ayr, 10am.

SUN: Nestbox making day, RSPB South Stack, 11am-4pm.

WED: "Birding for All" walk, RSPB Ynys-hir, 10am.

WED: "North Ronaldsay", talk by Jennifer Batten, Brambell Building, Bangor, 7.30pm.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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