Recent sightings from 16 to 22 March 2020

It was another week dominated by the Coronavirus. Following the government advice the RSPB made the difficult decision to close all visitor centres, cafés and shops to visitors. The access to the nature reserves remains open for the time being. Whilst we were busy with getting everything done, nature outside the visitor centre just carried on as normal and offered some real treats. Chiffchaffs started to get very active this week and could be heard calling all over the place. The same could be said about the Cetti’s warblers which were not only very vocal but could even be seen several times. Green woodpeckers, long-tailed tits, stonechats and goldcrest were once again around and put many a smile on the faces of visitors. On Monday, snipe and a bearded reedling were seen as well. The mudflats were mainly dominated by curlews and shelducks whilst in the lagoons mute swans, little grebes, coots, moorhen, tufted ducks and gadwalls were present most days and, on some occasions, pochards were spotted. The bittern was recorded in the reedbeds on Wednesday. It was a good week for birds of prey. Up to two kestrels were perching regularly on the pylons in front of the visitor centre and on Thursday a female sparrowhawk visited us and allowed some gorgeous close-up views. A female hen harrier was a highlight on Tuesday at the reserve and was once again recorded from Goldcliff on Thursday and Saturday. Marsh harriers remained regulars and there were up to three seen on a daily basis with one of them being an immature male which seemed to move around between the reserve and Goldcliff. A peregrine flying over the reedbeds on Friday rounded off a great week for raptor sightings. Things started to get really interesting on the scrape in front of the café where coots as well as little grebes could be seen collecting nesting material. Little egret and grey heron were both present at the back of the scrape as well. Thankfully, once again our otter showed itself, too. After a sighting on Monday it was seen on Friday from the “wobbly bridge” and was spotted on Sunday from the little viewing platform in the reedbed near the lighthouse. Watching the otter could make one forget about all that is going on around, at least for a while, and it definitely lifted the spirits of those who were lucky enough to see it. It was a busy week at Goldcliff. Whilst skylarks provided the “background music”, there was a good selection of wading birds present, including small numbers of ringed plovers, oystercatchers, dunlins and black-tailed godwits as well as bigger numbers of lapwings, redshanks and avocets. A little ringed plover was recorded during the weekend and a snipe on Thursday, knots on Monday and Saturday, spotted redshanks on Friday and a ruff on Sunday added to the variety of waders. There was a good number of ducks at Goldcliff as well with wigeon, teal, gadwall and shoveler being the most numerous ones, but there were also up to three goldeneyes and a pintail on Sunday. Blackcaps, fieldfares, redwings and the first sand martin of the year on Friday were further highlights at Goldcliff where the glossy ibis remained a regular feature as well. So, despite all going on in the world right now, it was certainly a good week in regard to sightings at RSPB Newport Wetlands and it is reassuring that at least nature carries on as normal.

All our events are cancelled due to the Coronavirus up until at least the end of April. For further updates keep checking the RSPB website:

Avocet, Bearded reedling, Bittern, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Glossy ibis, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goldeneye, Great black-backed gull, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Greylag goose, Hen harrier, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little ringed plover, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pintail, Pochard, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Ringed plover, Robin, Rook, Ruff, Sand martin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Spotted redshank, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted duck, 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 aleways verified! We try to keep this list as accurate as possible but if you see something unusual feel free to comment here!


Photo credit: Marsh harrier by Jeremy White