Recent sightings from 30 November to 06 December 2020

December has begun and Christmas is just around the corner. The starlings certainly had the one or the other present in store when they once again delighted visitors with their magnificent murmurations this week. Up to around 50,000 were painting the sky with swirling formations that every snow globe would be proud of. Bullfinches were heard on a daily basis along Perry Lane and could be seen quite often as well although they remained very hard to photograph. Blue, great and long-tailed tits were raiding the feeders together with one chaffinch whilst dunnock and robin were competing for the scraps on the floor. The tiny goldcrest and wren were also regular additions to the wildlife around the visitor centre where water rail and Cetti’s warbler provided the musical background. Some redwings were still picking the last berries of the hedgerows. Tuesday brought also sightings of a grey wagtail, a treecreeper and a chiffchaff. Regarding birds of prey, marsh harrier, kestrel and sparrowhawk were recorded this week. Kingfishers were seen from the hide and on the scrape near the café. The café decking was stage for a stoat on Tuesday which was seen jumping into one of the “wet floor” cones which seemed a rather peculiar behaviour.

Photo credit: A hungry blue tit by Stefan Zitzmann

The busiest part of the reserve was without any doubt the coast and the mudflats held a good selection of wading birds. Curlews were joined by numerous dunlins and a few oystercatchers. There were also flocks of lapwings and redshanks were searching for food in the reens at low tide. A group of up to 20 grey plovers was regularly among the dunlins, Friday brought in some knots as well as five turnstones – which were once again spotted on Sunday – and on Tuesday and Friday up to 150 black-tailed godwits joined the party of wading birds. Snipes could be seen on the edge of the reedbeds, but on Tuesday a rather impressive flock of 29 of them was flying over the saltmarshes. Wednesday brought rare sightings of two of our most sought-after species. In the morning a bittern was spotted flying over the reedbeds and dropping down again on the other side of the reserve and at lunchtime a bearded reedling was flying over the path close to the first viewing screens on the way to the lighthouse. There was another sighting of a bearded reedling on Sunday. Two woodcocks circling over the car park ended an otherwise rainy Thursday in style.

Photo credit: “Our” swan family next to the viewing screens by Stefan Zitzmann

Goldcliff lagoons treated us to some magnificent bird of prey action. A merlin was seen several times sitting right next to the hide posing nicely for a photo. The peregrine was a regular once again as well and had some hunting success when it was feasting first on a dunlin and a bit later on a lapwing on Tuesday. The four barnacle geese were still around as well whilst the two glossy ibis were again seen at Red House Barn. Two black redstarts were still present throughout most of the week. Further highlights included an array of ducks, a whimbrel and some avocets from the seawall.

Our car park and our visitor centre are open every day from 9am to 5pm. The café and the shop are open from 10am to 4pm. The playground remains closed for the time being. Please follow the government guidelines regarding social distancing and face masks which have to be worn inside the visitor centre. Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates. This year the visitor centre (including toilets) will be closed over Christmas from 24th till 26th December. 

Avocet, Barnacle goose, Bearded reedling, Bittern, Black redstart, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great black-backed gull, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenshank, Grey heron, Grey plover, Grey wagtail, Greylag goose, Herring gull, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Merlin, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine falcon, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Treecreeper, Tufted duck, Turnstone, Water rail, Whimbrel, Wigeon, Woodcock, 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!