Recent sightings from 05 to 11 October 2020

Autumn has well and truly arrived with chilly mornings and earlier sunsets. The week started promising with lots of curlews and shelducks along the foreshore. They were joined on Monday by a small flock of dunlins. Later that day a mixed flock of waders including black-tailed godwits and redshanks was seen flying over the reserve towards the coast. Whilst sparrowhawk and buzzard were regular sights, a hobby on Tuesday, a red kite on Wednesday and a peregrine on Thursday were welcome additions to the list of birds of prey. Ravens were flying over frequently with their distinctive deep croaking calls. Little egrets were often seen on the saltmarshes and on Wednesday a great white egret was flying past as well. Water rails were heard from the reedbeds several times. Wigeons were seen along the coast and gadwalls, little grebes and a male shoveler were on the lagoons.

Photo credit: Shoveler by Jeremy White

At the beginning of the week there was a big number of chiffchaffs all over the reserve. There was also an influx of pied wagtails which have started to gather for their nightly roosts in the centre of Newport. Once again there were plenty of stonechats around as well and bullfinch, green woodpecker, linnet and blackcap were all recorded too. Bearded reedlings were heard not only on Wednesday but also on Sunday when a bittern was seen from the hide as well, flying from one side of lagoon to the other. Kingfishers were a prominent feature fishing in the lagoons throughout the week. Some thrushes were spotted, including mistle thrushes and fieldfares. Flocks of blue, great and long-tailed tits were busy feeding and there were also sightings of our smallest birds, the wren and the goldcrest.

Photo credit: Wren by Jeremy White

Migrant hawkers were on the wing in good numbers and there were still common darters buzzing around in tandem flight. A few emperors and southern hawkers were also spotted. The number of butterflies was noticeably down in comparison to the previous weeks but some large and small whites as well as red admirals, speckled woods and one individual each of small copper and comma were still seen. Wednesday also brought a clouded yellow. Thursday and Friday brought a few interesting moth sightings. First, a simply stunning herald was spotted and in the moth trap, which was out in the night to Friday, we found beaded chestnut, lunar underwing, large wainscot and green-brindled crescent.

Photo credit: Herald moth by Rhiannon Munro

Goldcliff lagoons were once again a great spot for wading birds. Amongst the usual suspects such as black-tailed godwit, dunlin, lapwing and knot also avocet, greenshank, little stint, ruff, grey plover and bar-tailed godwit were spotted. Some pintails were seen flying past from the seawall on Tuesday and the same day a few little gulls and two merlins were recorded. Whinchat, wheatear, house martin, common redpoll and siskin were highlights in regard to songbirds.

The visitor centre with toilets, café and shop is now open but the playground will remain closed for the time being. The café is operating with a limited menu and both the café and the shop are open between 10am and 4pm whilst the car park is open daily between 9am and 5pm. Please follow the government guidelines regarding social distancing and face masks which have to be worn inside the visitor centre. Please be also aware that local lockdown restrictions still apply to Newport and check the Welsh government rules before your visit. Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

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, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common redpoll, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Great white egret, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, 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, Little gull, Little stint, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Merlin, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pintail, Pochard, Raven, Red kite, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Ruff, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Swallow, Teal, Water rail, Wheatear, Whinchat, 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!