Recent sightings from 23 to 29 March 2020

As all the RSPB reserves are now closed until further notice due to the Coronavirus, this week’s recent sightings blog will be the first one that comes in a slightly different form. We asked the RSPB Newport Wetlands team to have a watchful eye on what wildlife they can find on their doorsteps, be it in gardens or during their exercise walks near their homes. The response and the variety of sightings we got from staff and not least from our great team of volunteers was absolutely, amazing! A big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed! So, this week’s recent sightings blog will give you an insight into the wildlife in gardens and green spaces in South East Wales from Cardiff to Chepstow. Not only the number of sightings was impressive but also the fact that they included all different kinds of wildlife, from insects and mammals to birds, butterflies, moths and plants.


Photo credit: Crane fly (Limonia nubecolosa) by Stefan Zitzmann

Some bird species seemed to be nearly everywhere. The – scientifically proven – clever jackdaw was one of those and magpie, robin and blackbird were amongst them as well. Quite a few of us were woken up by the fluty tones of a male blackbird singing from a rooftop – undoubtedly the best alarm clock one could ask for (even though not everyone would have put the alarm clock to the early morning hours…). Those of us with a bird feeder in the garden usually were rewarded with sightings of blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits and on several occasions even coal tits. Great spotted woodpeckers also showed a big interest in the feeding stations. Goldcrest, treecreeper and nuthatch were further great sightings and goldfinch and chiffchaff brought some colour and persistent singing to our green spaces. Speaking of great voices, some of us living close to reedbed areas were lucky enough to be serenaded by a Cetti’s warbler, whilst blackcap, song thrush and mistle thrush did their bit to lift our spirits. During a walk along a river, mallards with ducklings could be spotted as well as moorhen, dipper and goosander. Sand martin and skylark were reminders that spring has well and truly arrived. Buzzards were seen flying over, even in the middle of Newport, and sparrowhawk, kestrel, peregrine and red kite were also spotted by our team. Green woodpecker, siskin, wheatear, and little egret were amongst the more exotic sightings, but the rarest bird recorded this week was probably the common crossbill which made a surprise appearance in a garden.


Photo credit: Great spotted woodpecker by Jeremy White

But it wasn’t all about birds. Common toad, weasel, pipistrelle bat and even some gorgeous badgers were all reported as well. There was also a good number of butterflies on the wing including brimstone, comma, peacock and small tortoiseshell and wasps, honeybees and bumblebees visited our gardens as well. Not least by looking under some flowerpots, creepy crawlies such as spiders, millipedes and lice could be found. Having a moth expert in our team certainly helped to boost the sightings list further with species with poetic and unusual names such as brindled pug, clouded drab, common quaker, early grey or Hebrew character. Let’s not forget the plants: primrose, celandine, herb robert, purple and white violet, wood anemone and even the first bluebells filled the landscape with bright colours, intriguing smells and delicate shapes. This list of sightings proves impressively that nature and wildlife is indeed all around us, all that we must do is keep our eyes (and ears) open. Have a look for what lives around you and it will certainly lift your spirits as well!


Photo credit: Primroses by Aileen Wallen

Badger, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Brimstone, Brindled pug, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Centipede, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chestnut moth, Chiffchaff, Clouded drab, Coal tit, Collared dove, Comma, Common crossbill, Common quaker, Common toad, Coot, Crane fly, Dipper, Diurnea fagella (March dagger moth), Dunnock, Early grey, Earthworm, Feral pigeon, Gadwall, Garden bumblebee, Garden spider, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Grey squirrel, Greylag goose, Hebrew character, Herring gull, Honey bee, House sparrow, House spider, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser black-backed gull, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow pipit, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Nuthatch, Peacock butterfly, Peregrine, Pied wagtail, Pill millipede, Pipistrelle, Raven, Red kite, Robin, Rook, Sand martin, Siskin, Skylark, Small quaker, Small tortoiseshell, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Treecreeper, Wasp, Weasel, Wheatear, White-tailed bumblebee, Wolf spider, Woodlouse, Woodpigeon, Wren and Zebra spider

Please note that we take our recent sightings list from members of our team. We try to keep this list as accurate as possible but if you see something unusual feel free to comment here!