Recent sightings from 17 to 23 February 2020

The week brought more wet and very windy weather which weren’t the perfect conditions for birdwatching, especially along the coast. It was a challenge to keep the binoculars relatively still which might well be one reason why fewer wading birds were recorded this week than usual. There were, however, still a decent number of curlews and dunlin, oystercatcher, redshank and up to about 50 lapwings were spotted by some visitors braving the elements. Shelducks remained another regular feature along the mudflats and linnets continued to “jump around” the salt marshes in sizeable flocks. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the visitors opted for a prolonged visit to the café. Fortunately, there were some nice sightings even from the café window. Goldfinches, up to around 20 greenfinches, house sparrows, blue tits and great tits tried to make the most of the bird feeders whilst regularly two kestrels could be spotted on the pylons. There was also some sparrowhawk action going on and on Wednesday morning it landed on the far side of the scrape, chasing off at least four snipes which were hidden in the cover of the vegetation. Whilst buzzards could also be spotted from the warmth of the café, marsh harriers didn’t seem too fazed by the windy conditions and were seen hunting over the reedbeds and along the foreshore on several occasions. Green woodpeckers, bullfinches and jays could be seen around the visitor centre and added a splash of colour to some rather grey days. On the fields, there was a good number of more than one hundred fieldfares with mistle thrush and redwing also being recorded. Most of the reedbed species stayed well in the cover during the week and whilst Cetti’s warblers could be heard regularly, only the stonechats came out of the cover every now and then. A small group of around 50 starlings still continued with their mini-murmuration in the late afternoons before going down in the reedbeds for the night. Two species that are usually well out of sight did get spotted this week though. On Thursday a bittern was seen flying over the lagoon and on Saturday a water rail was seen near the hide. A flock of siskin was spotted in the woodland area and some stock doves were flying over on Saturday. Goldcliff lagoons were tricky to get to in these muddy conditions and with the water levels being high the peregrine, wigeons and shovelers were some of the highlights. From the Goldcliff coastline once again avocets were recorded in Tuesday. No blog post has been complete in the last few months without the mentioning of the otter and thankfully we can keep this tradition going. After sightings on Monday and Tuesday, it got really active towards the weekend and was seen on several occasions fishing in the lagoons during the weekend. It was noticeable that it stayed under water for longer than usual which is probably an indicator that the fish were avoiding the unsettled water surface and retreated to the deeper areas where many of them still weren’t safe from the otter though. A grass snake made a surprise appearance on Sunday to round the week off. So once again a wild week in more than one sense.

On Sunday 8th March we allow you an insight in an often hidden underwater world during our Pond Species ID Guided Workshop. This event is aimed at adults as we got lots of requests for an adult pond dipping event. At the end of the month spring will (hopefully) be on its way right in time for our Spring Birdwatching Walk on Saturday 28th March. During the Easter holidays we will have something special on each Wednesday. Our Wild Wednesday on 8th April will be all about Pond Dipping and on 15th April we will go on a Bug Safari. On Friday 10th April and 17th April, we will have special toddler events for the Pond Dipping and the Bug Safari aimed at the younger kids. Details of all our events can be found on our website:

Avocet, Bittern, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock dove, Stonechat, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wigeon, 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: Jay by Jeremy White