Recent sightings from 24 to 30 December 2018

In a week in which many of us enjoyed close-up views of a turkey, there were many other birds to be seen at the Newport Wetlands as well. Monday brought not only a Merlin and 17 Grey plovers, but also good numbers of Black-tailed godwits and hundreds of Knot, Dunlin and Lapwing. Another highlight of the day was a Short-eared owl. There were good numbers of Wigeon and Shoveler on the sea shore all week long and on Thursday a female Hen harrier and a Brambling were spotted. Friday brought another sighting of the Short-eared owl. This time, two of them were seen from the sea wall as they were hunting over the saltmarshes between the lighthouse and the mouth of the river Usk. Another flock of Knots and a Pintail which was amongst the Wigeons were other exciting sightings that day. During the weekend, a Scaup was present on the reserve as well. Highlights at Goldcliff lagoons this week were a Black redstart which was around on Thursday, a Pintail and a Turnstone on Saturday and 200 Black-tailed godwits on Sunday. Christmas is a time to reflect and to appreciate also the little things that bring us joy and that we take so often for granted. Maybe we should also remind ourselves of the fact that while we all love to see rare birds, we should also give our “common“ birds a second look. Unfortunately, many of the birds we take for granted such as the Starling and the House sparrow have declined quite dramatically recently and they might sooner rather than later become rarities themselves. Therefore, it seems to fit quite well that the Robin is a symbol for Christmas and let it remind us to appreciate our common birds as much as some rare sights.

Black redstart, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Brambling, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall, 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, Linnet, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Mistle thrush, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pintail, Pochard, Raven, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Scaup, Shelduck, Short-eared owl, Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted duck, Turnstone, 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: Robin by Stefan Zitzmann