Recent sightings from 10 to 16 December 2018

It was a great week in regard to birdwatching at the Newport Wetlands which delivered one or another early Christmas presents! The week started off with a bang on Monday which brought some rare owl sightings. A Short-eared owl circled over the picnic area near the visitor centre in the afternoon in search of some early dinner and the Little owl made a welcome return to the same spot where it used to be seen regularly a few years ago. Let’s hope it will become a regular feature again, at least for the rest of the week it kept on bringing “joy to the world” of birdwatchers. At Goldcliff lagoons two Merlin and two Garganey were seen on Monday, rounding off a great start to the week. There were more exciting sightings coming in on Tuesday with the female Scaup being spotted again on the lagoons where it eventually got company from a female Hen harrier (which made further appearances on a quite wet Saturday and on Sunday) and an Otter. The mudflats were full of life all week long as well with up to a thousand Lapwings, huge flocks of Dunlin as well as good numbers of Shelduck and Curlew being present for most of the week. In amongst these regulars, four Turnstone were recorded on Wednesday, two Grey plovers were seen on Thursday and up to five Knot on Thursday and Friday. A Brent goose made a rare appearance on the mudflats on Wednesday before it was eventually chased away by a Lesser black-backed gull which for whatever reason didn’t seem to be very happy with this unusual visitor. Other highlights on Wednesday were sightings of Rock pipit, Water pipit and Lesser redpoll and on Thursday a Pintail was seen flying past on the coast. From the visitor centre itself, up to eight Snipe could be seen on the other end of the scrape and Friday brought some lovely close-up views of a female Marsh harrier and a big flock of at least 150 Black-tailed godwits flying low over the building. There was still a good number of Starlings around, but it has become more unpredictable where and in what form murmurations are going to happen. On some days, they seemed to split up in several smaller groups and on other days they performed nicely together. Wednesday brought the nicest murmuration when a group of around 15,000 Starlings performed for around 20 minutes over a field near the visitor centre. With all the exciting sightings this week, it went nearly unmentioned that the Bittern had been spotted flying over the reedbeds once again. On the Christmas wish list one can only ask for more of the same in the coming weeks!

Bittern, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Brent goose, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Garganey, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greater black-backed gull, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Grey plover, Greylag goose, Hen Harrier, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser redpoll, Little egret, Little grebe, Little owl, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Mistle thrush, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pintail, Raven, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Rock pipit, Scaup, Shelduck, Short-eared owl, Shoveler, Siskin, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted duck, Turnstone, Water pipit, Water rail, Wigeon, Wood pigeon, 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: Little owl by Jeremy White