Recent sightings from 29 July to 04 August 2019

One of our most spectacular summer visitors, the swift, started to gather for their way back to their wintering grounds in south Africa. On Tuesday, we could see a group of at least 40 of them flying over the reserve. Swallows, house martins and sand martins could be seen in small numbers over the water as well. Once again, the reserve was full of insects. Lots of butterflies such as brimstone, gatekeeper, red admiral, common blue, comma, ringlet and meadow brown were seen regularly and from Friday onwards there was an influx of painted ladies with more than 50 feeding on the thistles close to the hide. Ruddy darter and emperor were also around in good numbers as were brown-banded, common and shrill carder bee. A garden warbler showed itself nicely on Tuesday. Café guests were treated to a sighting of a kingfisher flying past on Friday and there were also two juvenile sparrowhawks in the woodlands the same day. The weekend brought plenty more butterflies, a yellow-tailed moth and a stoat which came very close to the visitor centre. On the mudflats, curlew and shelduck were about in good numbers. Wader migration was in full swing at Goldcliff lagoons. Wood, green and common sandpiper as well as greenshank were seen most days. On Tuesday, there were also a few knot and bar-tailed godwit in amongst them and on Wednesday ruff and turnstone were recorded. There were two avocets, a spoonbill and a peregrine present on that day too. The glossy ibis was seen Monday, Friday and Sunday. Yellow wagtails, more than 300 black-tailed godwits and a juvenile redstart were other great sightings from Goldcliff amongst good numbers of oystercatchers and dunlins. A bittern was spotted at Red Barn on Friday. A merlin made quite an unusual appearance for this time of the year at Goldcliff on Saturday, chasing after some linnets. A Mediterranean gull and a whimbrel at the lagoons on Sunday rounded off a truly exciting first real week of autumn migration although the butterflies and bees reminded us that summer is by no means over yet.

Fairies & Folklore is the title of this week’s summer holiday event. Kids can make their own wacky wand and create smelly potions as well as a fairy garden out of natural materials. On a minibeast hunt they can also go to explore magical creepy crawlies. In the coming weeks, Dino Dig, Mr Birds Restaurant and Wild Woods will be on the programme. Events run from Mondays to Thursdays and on Fridays there will be special events for toddlers. Don’t forget to book your space on the Big Wild Sleepout which will take place on 17th August. Details of all our events can be found on our website:

Avocet, Bar-tailed godwit, Bittern, Black swan, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Common sandpiper, Common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Garden warbler, Glossy ibis, Goldfinch, Great black-backed gull, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green sandpiper, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, Greylag goose, Herring gull, House martin, House sparrow, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little ringed plover, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Mediterranean gull, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Redshank, Redstart, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Ruff, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Spoonbill, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Tufted duck, Turnstone, Water rail, Whimbrel, Wood sandpiper, 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!


Photo credit: Greenshank by Andy Hay (