Recent sightings from 24 February to 01 March 2020

The week started like the last one ended, with plenty more rain and wind. The weather stayed rather on the wild side for the coming days as well, however there was plenty to be seen. Tuesday morning began with the melodious tune of the song thrush and had plenty more in store. A really high tide brought nearly 100 wigeons close to the lighthouse in the morning and a bearded reedling was seen near the first viewing screens “pinging” in the reedbeds. The unmistakeable sound of a bittern and a merlin were also recorded the same day. Throughout the week, a substantial flock of more than 40 linnets remained very active along the foreshore. Another regular was once again the stonechat. There was a good number of stonechats around in the reedbeds and along the coast. Often, they were following you on your walk, hovering in the air and posing nicely on the top of a reed or along the paths. Marsh harriers were spotted on several occasions and on Thursday a female flew over the scrape right by the visitor centre allowing some great close-up views. Earlier that day a sparrowhawk was seen circling over the scrape as well. Flocks of fieldfares were present on the fields with some redwings mixed in. The feeding stations proved to be very popular in inclement weather conditions and attracted a mix of blue tits, great tits, house sparrows, reed buntings, chaffinches, goldfinches and up to 20 greenfinches. There was also the odd long-tailed tit visiting the feeders and there were some flocks of them seen jumping from tree to tree in various parts of the reserve. On Wednesday, six snipes were spotted taking off from the back end of the scrape in front of the café and near the lighthouse some bearded reedlings were once again heard and seen. A film team was lucky to get some recordings of the otter on Wednesday morning and in the afternoon a visitor came into the visitor centre, all excited about his first ever sighting of a wild otter – and well and truly exciting it is indeed! It made a further brief appearance on Thursday before storm Jorge took over with relentless rain on Friday and high wind speeds on Saturday which didn’t deter the otter from showing itself once again. A little egret got blown in on Friday afternoon whilst the bittern was spotted on Saturday. Highlights at Goldcliff lagoons were the glossy ibis seeking shelter from the wind on Wednesday, the resident peregrine and one avocet on the lagoons the same day. Another week that proved that those who are braving the conditions are most likely to be rewarded with some exciting nature encounters.

Our Pond Species ID Guided Workshop on Sunday 8th March is aimed at adults. Let’s see which creatures we can find in the pond and let us tell you a bit more about their lives and habits. If you are more interested in birds, then our Spring Birdwatching Walk on Saturday 28th March will get you in the right mood for the upcoming season. There are lots of activities on offer for the kids during the Easter holidays and we have special events on the Wednesdays for the bigger children (Pond Dipping on 8th April and Bug Safari on 15th April) and on Fridays for the toddlers (Pond Dipping on 10th April and Bug Safari on 17th April). We expect the cuckoo back from Africa around the middle of the months and will go looking for this iconic bird on our Cuckoo Experience guided walk on 24th April. One day later, we will go in search of an equally iconic group of animals during our Bat Walk in the evening. Details of all our events can be found on our website:

Avocet, Bearded reedling, Bittern, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Glossy ibis, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Merlin, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Water rail, Wigeon, Woodpigeon 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: Stonechat by Jeremy White