Recent sightings 03.04.24 – 15.05.24 Grass snakes, a weak boomer and all the warblers!

April and May saw the sunshine we’ve been so desperate for! Spring is here and so are the Spring showstoppers! There were still plenty of rainy days but with the warmer temperatures and sunshine, it has been a bumper time for the array of greens to push through the mud and puddles. Birds are now becoming harder to spot in the trees and hedges and the bumblebees and dragonflies are busy darting about from flower to leaf. The warmer weather has brought out the first of the Grass snakes, seen basking on the warm paths on the reserve. An array of bees, butterflies, moths, and dragonflies have been spotted including Shrill carder bee queens, Long-Horned Bees, Hairy Dragonflies and Brimstone butterflies.  

Credit: Kirsty Lindsay


Credit : Ieuan Evans (Hairy Dragonfly) Jeremy White (Brimstone and Brown Banded Carder bee)

As Curlew make their way inland to breed, a few are left roaming the mudflats and are joined by passing Whimbrel. Shelduck, Oystercatcher and Little Egrets are common sightings from the Wales Coast Path. Linnet have been a delightful sighting on the paths as well as Wheatear. This Grey Heron took on a challenge in the form of a gigantic Eel! Visitors enjoying their lunch didn’t appreciate this cool but slightly off putting sighting from the café!


Credit: Ieuan Evans

Marsh Harrier sightings have been few and far but other raptors like Kestrel, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Peregrine have been hunting the skies. The Little owl excitement continues with two now being spotted in the trees, braving the more visible branches when a spot of sunshine helps send them to sleep.


Credit: Ieuan Evans

House martins, Swallows and an occasional Swift have all made it back to Newport and can be seen in and around the lighthouse flying high above the lagoons catching insects. Deep in the reeds, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Wrens, and Bearded Reedling are creating a reedbed orchestra and not forgetting the loudest of them all … the Cetti’s Warbler that won’t shy from shouting at you as you wander past. We had a lovely visit from a Grasshopper Warbler outside the café who put on a song for our visitors. The whitethroat’s have been out in force with Common and Lesser, both of which were stars on the show on our Dawn Chorus walk.


Credit: Ieuan Evans (Swallow, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler)

The mammals are not to be missed with Stoats and Weasels making quick appearances as they run from one hedge to another across visitors’ paths. This one was caught by staff who got a lovely sight when it popped out of the hedge and ran down the lane until it swerved straight back into the hedge once it caught sight of humans!! On the botany front, Orchids! The first of 5 Orchid species are popping up on the reserve. Other plant like comfrey are providing a vital food source for all the pollinates at this time and we are starting to see emergence of Red Clover, Vetch and Yellow rattle.


Credit: Kirsty Lindsay (Weasel) Jeremy White (Southern March Orchid)

Lastly but not least, this year the Bitterns have been incredibly active, and the sounds of the Cuckoo was a sigh of relief and Spring really was upon us. A cuckoo call most mornings and some afternoons followed by a handful of sightings over the reserve. Watch out Meadow pipits! A lucky visitor had 8 sightings of the Bitterns one day in May and with the females now carrying out what looks to be feeding flights they are more visible than ever. Now you may wonder why the title of this blog is a weak boomer. The male Bittern this year appears to have a slight frog! He has not boomed as loud in comparison to other years suggesting it’s either a new, young male whose muscles aren’t quite strong enough yet or we have an older male who has boomed for many years and can’t quite get those powerful sounds like he used to. Despite his weaker boom, the females are feeding which are all good signs of chicks. Fingers crossed!


Credit: Liv Davies

Bird - Bearded reedling, Bittern, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-tailed Godwit, Blue tit, Brent goose, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Collared dove, Common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Grasshopper warbler, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Great white egret, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, grey plover, Greylag goose, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little owl, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine falcon, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pintail, Pochard, Raven, Reed bunting, Reed Warbler, Robin, Sand martin, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Stonechat, Swallow, Swift, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wheatear, Whimbrel, Wigeon, Willow warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren

Fish - Common eel

Insect - bee  Hairy-footed flower bee, Honey bee

Insect - bumblebee Buff/white-tailed bumblebee, Common carder bumblebee, Shrill carder bee

Insect - butterfly  Brimstone butterfly, Comma butterfly, Common blue butterfly, Green-veined white butterfly, Holly Blue butterfly, Large white butterfly, Orange Tip butterfly, Peacock butterfly, Red admiral butterfly, Small tortoiseshell butterfly, Small        White butterfly, Speckled Wood butterfly

Insect - dragonfly Common blue damselfly, Hairy dragonfly

Insect - macro moth   Angle shades moth, Brindled beauty moth, Clouded drab moth, Common quaker moth, Drinker moth, Early thorn moth, Flame shoulder moth, Hebrew character moth, Herald moth, Iron prominent moth, Lesser swallow prominent moth, Muslin moth, Pale prominent moth, Pebble prominent moth, Poplar hawk moth, Scarlet tiger moth, Small quaker moth

Insect - micro moth  Acleris sparsana moth

Mammal  Bank vole, Brown rat, Grey squirrel, Mole, Stoat, Weasel, Wood mouse

Mollusc Brown-lipped snail