Recent sightings from 20 to 26 May 2019

Reed, sedge and Cetti’s warblers remained very active in the reedbeds and there was also the one or the other sighting of bearded reedlings. The star of the show in the reedbed this week was, however, a Savi’s warbler which appeared during the weekend and attracted a big number of birdwatchers to the reserve. Its characteristic song could be heard Saturday and Sunday morning. Usually this species makes an appearance every two years at the wetlands, as it wasn’t recorded last year it was indeed overdue. There were also nice views of the Marsh harrier which on two occasions flew past right in front of the café window. A female pochard with three ducklings was seen on the lagoons and one otter was spotted on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The mudflats held some oystercatchers, the odd curlew and whimbrel and a decent number of shelduck. It was great to see flocks of sand and house martins alongside some swallows and swifts hunting for insects over the reedbeds and lagoons. Kestrel, cuckoo and lesser whitethroat remained regulars and a peregrine was flying over on Friday. Sunday brought four wood warblers and a willow warbler. Goldcliff Lagoons were – as usual – a hotspot for wading birds. Some of the highlights were a good number of grey plovers, a turnstone and a knot on Wednesday, bar-tailed godwits on Thursday, two sanderling on Friday and there was still a remarkable number of several hundreds of dunlin around as well. This week saw also the return of orchids which started to blossom all over the reserve now and added a splash of colour to the scenery. Some bee and common spotted orchids have been found, but most of the orchids on the reserve are the southern marsh orchids which are hard to overlook on a walk and are appearing either side of the paths.

If you are interested in moths then look no further and join us on one of our Moths Walks on 15th June and 16th June. Still the most sought-after bird with our visitors is the bearded reedling. Get up early and come with us on the Bearded Reedling and Breakfast Walk on 19th June and maybe you will be lucky to catch a glimpse. Don’t forget the unveiling of the new bronze relief model of the Gwent Levels on Saturday 8th June. Not only will Miranda Krestovnikoff, the TV presenter and president of the RSPB, be on site but there will also be a wide range of activities as well as an exhibition about the Gwent Levels. Details of all those events can be found on our website:

Avocet, Bar-tailed godwit, Bearded reedling, Bittern, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Collared dove, Common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunlin, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great black-backed gull, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Grey plover, Greylag goose, Herring gull, House martin, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little ringed plover, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pochard, Raven, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Sand martin, Sanderling, Savi's warbler, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Tufted duck, Turnstone, Water rail, Whimbrel, Wigeon, Willow warbler, Wood warbler, Woodpigeon and Wren.

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: Southern marsh orchid by Jeremy White