Recent sightings from 21 to 27 September 2020

There was plenty going on along the coast this week. Especially the numbers of curlews and shelducks were rising. Up to at least 150 curlews and 650 shelducks could be seen on the mudflats which was quite spectacular. Some oystercatchers and little egrets were around as well and especially during high tide you could also spot a few wigeons. On the lagoons, teal, gadwall and little grebe were present and once again several kingfishers were regularly seen fishing. A few water rails could be heard calling from the reedbeds and stonechats were quite active jumping around in the reedbeds and on the paths. Swallows and house martins continued flying over in small flocks whilst linnets were seen over and on the salt marshes. The little woodland area gave shelter to mixed flocks of songbirds including long-tailed, blue, great and coal tits as well as Britain’s smallest bird, the goldcrest. Sparrowhawk and buzzard were seen on several occasions and a marsh harrier was spotted on Tuesday. Bullfinch, raven and green woodpecker were seen from our welcome marquee as was a hobby on Thursday which was flying past in an obvious hurry at a low height, probably looking for the one or the other dragonfly.

Photo credit: Hobby by Jeremy White

Autumn has arrived and with it lots of insects have departed. There were still a few hoverflies, common and shrill carder bees to be seen and some butterflies were making the best of the sunny conditions. A total of nine different butterfly species is rather decent for the end of September. There were good numbers of small and large white as well as of speckled wood. Some common blues and small coppers were hanging on although it was clear that they were past their prime. A clouded yellow was spotted on Tuesday, some red admirals were still going strong and during the weekend small tortoiseshell and peacock were added to the list.

Photo credit: Worn small copper by Stefan Zitzmann

It was, however, another really good week for dragonflies. Lots of migrant hawkers were seen circling around, especially during the afternoons and some showed an interest in the smaller common darters which were present in good numbers as well. Migrant hawkers were especially interested in common darters flying in tandem, hoping for them to be too distracted to notice them but on most occasions the darters managed to take off in time. In windy conditions sheltered places were in high demand and you could see some migrant hawkers making the most of them resting close to each other. Ruddy darters and the one or the other southern hawker were seen as well as the large emperor dragonfly.

Photo credit: Sheltering migrant hawkers by Stefan Zitzmann

Goldcliff lagoons were again the go-to-place for wading birds. Big numbers of black-tailed godwits and curlews were joined by lapwings, dunlins, snipes, knots, redwings and ringed plovers. A golden plover and several grey plovers were seen as well as were ruff and little stint. Monday brought a rarity to the lagoons when a vagrant from North America, a lesser yellowlegs, made an unexpected appearance. There were quite a few songbirds around as well such as yellow wagtail, wheatear, stonechat, whinchat and lots of meadow pipits on the move. A spotted flycatcher was recorded near the car park on Monday. Another highlight on the same day was a merlin which was seen taking a dunlin in the morning. Two fieldfares were spotted from the sea wall on Wednesday.

Photo credit: Wader flock (mostly black-tailed godwits) by Stefan Zitzmann

We are planning to reopen the visitor centre with the toilet facilities, shop and café soon. The playground will remain closed for the time being. Please be aware that local lockdown restrictions apply to Newport and check the Welsh government restrictions on travelling before your visit. The car park is open daily between 9am and 5pm. Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit , Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Coal tit, Collared dove, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Golden plover, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Grey heron, Grey plover, Herring gull, Hobby, House martin, Jay, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser yellowlegs, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little stint, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Redshank, Reed bunting, Ringed plover, Robin, Ruff, Shelduck, Shoveler, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Spotted flycatcher, Stonechat, Swallow, Teal, Water rail, Wheatear, Whinchat, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren and Yellow wagtail.

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!