Recent sightings from 30 September to 06 October 2019

There was definitely no shortage of great sightings this week. The colourful kingfisher could be spotted on most days and was once again seen hovering over the lagoons (see photo below) while fishing. A truly spectacular sight! Some of the migrating passerines were still about as well. There were regular sightings of wheatear along the seawall and a yellowhammer was spotted on Tuesday there as well. Along Salt Marsh Lane, redstart and common whitethroat were seen the same day and a tawny owl made a surprise appearance. Swallows and house martins were still passing through in good numbers. Goldcrest and flocks of long-tailed tits and stonechat were seen on the reserve and a whinchat didn’t go unnoticed at Goldcliff lagoons on Thursday. The reedbeds held more surprises, where on Wednesday not only was a relatively late sedge warbler recorded, but also a late grasshopper warbler was heard singing by several visitors. Water rails are getting more and more vocal and could be heard squeaking all over the reserve. Bearded reedlings started to get really active from Wednesday onwards and were recorded every day until the end of the week. At least two pairs could be seen flying low over the reedbeds either side of the lighthouse. One of our wintering duck species, the wigeon, came back to the shoreline in good numbers this week. The mudflats held plenty of shelduck, some oystercatchers and a good number of around 100 curlews. Huge flocks of up to 250 black-tailed godwits flew over the reserve on Friday and Saturday, and on Saturday a small flock of ten knots where seen heading towards the coast. Some dunlin, a bar-tailed godwit, and a grey plover rounded off a good selection of waders along the mudflats. It was a good week with regards to birds of prey as well. Marsh harrier, buzzard, and kestrel were seen both at the reserve and at Goldcliff, and hobby, sparrowhawk, peregrine, and merlin were recorded at Goldcliff lagoons. The glossy ibis was spotted at Goldcliff lagoons on Wednesday and Saturday. Two spoonbills and a red-necked phalarope on Monday, and a great white egret on Friday were other highlights from Goldcliff. Apart from the birds, it was still a busy week for the dragonflies with migrant hawker and common darter being the most prominent, whilst a vagrant emperor was spotted at Goldcliff on Saturday. A weasel was seen on several occasions on the reserve this week and on Friday a stoat was running up the bridge towards the visitor centre allowing some rare close-up views. This can also be said of the hummingbird hawkmoth which flew inside the visitor centre, but we managed to release it soon after. A week full of different sightings is drawing to a close and we can’t wait for what next week will bring!

There are still some places available on our Autumn Birdwatching Guided Walk on 16th October on which we will try to find migrants and winter visitors and with some luck we might also get a sighting of a kingfisher or a bearded reedling. During half-term we run our event Wild Things at Halloween which has something to offer for all kids interested in spooktacular activities such as den building, mini-beast hunting or smelly potions. It is only a few more weeks until we expect the starlings to come back in big numbers and we have already got quite a few bookings for several of our Soup and Starlings guided walks which will take place every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday throughout November. Details of all our events can be found on our website:

Bar-tailed godwit, Bearded reedling, Black swan, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall, Glossy ibis, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Grasshopper warbler, Great black-backed gull, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Great white egret, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Grey plover, Herring gull, Hobby, House martin, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Merlin, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Red-necked phalarope, Redstart, Reed bunting, Robin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Spoonbill, Starling, Stonechat, Swallow, Tawny Owl, Teal, Water rail, Wheatear, Whinchat, Wigeon, Willow warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren and Yellowhammer.

Please note that we take our recent sightings list from the visitor sightings board that anyone can contribute to. This is great as everyone can get involved, but obviously can lead to potential errors too as they aren’t always verified! We try to keep this list as accurate as possible but if you see something unusual feel free to comment here!


Photo credit: Hovering kingfisher by Jeremy White