Recent sightings from 14 to 20 September 2020

It was a very good week for some of the absolute favourites of our visitors. Up to three kingfishers were seen every day flying over the lagoons or perching on the reeds. Often you could also see them hovering over the water before diving into the water to catch fish. Spectacular! Bearded reedlings were heard and seen in the reedbeds from Monday till Thursday before windier conditions made it much more difficult to hear them. The number of stonechats has also been on the up with plenty of them jumping around in the reedbeds and on the paths.

Photo credit: Stonechat by Stefan Zitzmann

There were still a few reed and sedge warblers present but they were easily outvoiced by the Cetti’s warbler. Linnet, goldcrest, grey wagtail and wheatear were further highlights amongst the songbirds. Curlews and shelducks were plentiful along the coast and during high tide some wigeons and a snipe could be seen there during the weekend whilst a common sandpiper was spotted on Friday. Sparrowhawk, buzzard, peregrine and marsh harrier were all seen but the highlights in regard to birds of prey were a red kite on Sunday and a male hen harrier which was flying past on Monday. On the lagoons the number of teals were on the rise and a quite massive grass snake was swimming next to the “wobbly bridge” on Thursday.

Photo credit: Grass snake by Stefan Zitzmann

Dragonflies put on a fascinating nature spectacle. Lots of migrant hawkers and some southern hawkers were seen circling around in the sky looking for flying insects to hunt for. The emperor dragonfly was the undisputed ruler of the coast path and was also often seen “patrolling” the bridge towards the lighthouse. On the paths were some ruddy darters and a huge number of common darters. Plenty of the common darters were spotted in tandem flight or in the wheel formation and they could also be seen laying their eggs in the lagoons. Taking some time to give these dragonflies and their behaviour a closer look was a special treat.

Photo credit: Common darter by Stefan Zitzmann

 Stoats and weasels have once again been seen running across the paths all over the reserve. There were noticeably less bees around than in previous weeks. Honeybees and common carder bees were still seen fairly regularly and there was also still the one or the other sighting of the rare shrill carder bee. The sun brought out quite a lot of butterflies. Small and large white were seen on a daily basis as were red admiral, speckled wood, small copper and the brightly coloured common blue. Commas were spotted as well and on Saturday a clouded yellow was a further highlight. The same day a silver Y-moths was also seen.

Photo credit: Common blue butterfly by Stefan Zitzmann

 Thursday had a surprise in store at Goldcliff lagoons when our resident glossy ibis was joined by a second glossy ibis. We have to wait and see whether we might have to get used to seeing two of them on a regular basis. The same day also brought a great white egret which was once again spotted on Sunday. There were still hundreds of black-tailed godwits present at Goldcliff lagoons and those were joined by plenty of other wading birds. Dunlin, redshank, ringed plover and lapwing were seen in good numbers and greenshank, ruff, knot, little stint and curlew sandpiper were also regulars. Avocets were recorded from Thursday to Saturday, a golden plover was spotted on Friday and bar-tailed godwits and grey plovers were around during the weekend. Marsh harriers and peregrines spooked the waders on more than one occasion whilst a hobby was far more interested in the dragonflies. 

We are making good progress behind the scenes in getting everything ready for the reopening of the visitor centre but at the moment toilets, shop, café and playground are still closed. Check here or on our Twitter page for the latest updates.  The car park is open daily between 9am and 5pm and the majority of paths is open as usual.

Avocet, Bar-tailed godwit, Bearded reedling, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Common sandpiper, Common whitethroat, Cormorant, Curlew, Curlew sandpiper, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall, Glossy ibis, Goldcrest, Golden plover, Goldfinch, Great black-backed gull, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Great white egret, Green woodpecker, Greenshank, Grey heron, Grey plover, Grey wagtail, Greylag goose, Hen harrier, Herring gull, Hobby, House martin, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little stint, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Raven, Red kite, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Rook, Ruff, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Skylark, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock dove, Stonechat, Swallow, Teal, Water rail, Wheatear, Wigeon, Willow warbler, 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!