Recent sightings from 23 to 29 November 2020

It was the first proper autumn week this year with temperatures plummeting and with frost on some mornings. Whilst we can hide under a warm blanket and make things a bit more pleasant and cosy for ourselves, wildlife doesn’t have this privilege. No wonder that the one or the other songbird seemed a bit bigger than usual with them being puffed up. There were less fieldfares around the reserve this week, but redwings were still very common. Chaffinches were a more regular sight this week with green woodpecker and water rail being regulars once again too. The biggest draw for visitors were without any doubt once again the starlings which performed magnificently most afternoons. An estimated 45,000 to 50,000 starlings treated us to some of the best murmurations we have witnessed for quite a while.

Photo credit: Starlings by Jeremy White

A peregrine was spotted several times this week, once also showing an interest in the starlings as did the marsh harriers which were seen on various days as well. One of the highlights of the week was a female hen harrier which was flying past the scrape near the visitor centre and heading for the reedbeds on Wednesday morning. Goldcrests and long-tailed tits were amongst the favourites too and Friday brought not only a grey wagtail but also a kingfisher which was fishing successfully on the scrape in front of the café before having a longer rest on the raft. Once more there were a few snipes dotted all over the edges of the reedbeds in the lagoons. Flocks of linnets were a daily sight along the coast whilst stonechats and lots of reed buntings were jumping around in the reedbeds.

Photo credit: Reed bunting by Stefan Zitzmann

Wading birds on the mudflats weren’t always easy to spot in the sometimes dark and misty conditions this week. Curlews could often be heard, if not seen, with their distinctive haunting calls. Lapwings – another not less iconic species – were seen flying around with their unmistakeable rounded wings. On Wednesday some grey plovers could be identified as well whilst black-tailed godwits and redshanks could be spotted the following days. The most numerous wading bird along the coast was without any doubt once again the dunlin. With high tide approaching, there were some great aerial displays which matched the ones of the starlings. Sometimes it is good not even trying to explain everything, but just to watch and enjoy.

Photo credit: Dunlins by Stefan Zitzmann

At Goldcliff lagoons the two glossy ibis were seen on Tuesday. A black redstart was recorded on several occasions from Thursday onwards and on the lagoons was a good number of wigeons, shovelers and teals. A flock of avocets, a spotted redshank and some knots were highlights amongst the waders and there were still four barnacle geese around as well as a white-fronted goose and one brent goose during the weekend.

Car park and visitor centre are open daily from 9am to 5pm with café and shop open between 10am and 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.

Avocet, Barnacle goose, Black redstart, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Brent goose, Bullfinch, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Glossy ibis, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Grey plover, Grey wagtail, Hen harrier, Herring gull, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Spotted redshank, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Water rail, White-fronted goose, 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!