Recent sightings from 09 to 15 November 2020

The first week back after the firebreak lockdown in Wales brought plenty of great wildlife with the one of the other rarity mixed in. Since we went into lockdown quite a few things have changed in nature and winter is well and truly on its way. One sure sign for this is the arrival of thrushes in big numbers. There are plenty more blackbirds around and flocks of fieldfare and redwing were feasting on the berries all over the reserve. Song thrush and mistle thrush were also present. Another clear indication of the changing season are the flocks of waders on the mudflats. Depending on the tide times it could get really busy there with well over 500 dunlins, around 200 black-tailed godwits and hundreds of curlews alongside lapwings, redshanks and oystercatchers. At the beginning of the week some knot could be spotted in amongst them as well and on Wednesday and Thursday some grey plovers were identified. There were huge numbers of shelduck which might well have added up to close to a thousand. Linnets were jumping in sizeable flocks over the saltmarsh and a brambling was spotted along the coast path on Tuesday.

Photo credit: Redwing by Jeremy White

Snipes were seen daily sitting on the edge of the reedbeds in the lagoons. On Thursday morning four were sitting together and another one was resting on the “wobbly bridge” towards the lighthouse. On the lagoons were regularly a few wigeons, shovelers, tufted ducks and the one or the other teal in amongst the gadwalls, mute swans and little grebes. Stonechats weren’t quite as numerous any longer but were spotted some days as were reed buntings. Starling were often seen during the day along the coast and came flying into their roost in the afternoon. Often, they went down straight into the reedbed without any murmuration which made it quite difficult to estimate the total number but judging by the display on Friday there might well be 25000. The kingfisher still did regular “fishing trips” to the lagoons. Speaking of fishing trips, the same was surely in the mind of the otter which made a brief appearance on Wednesday and Friday. A few dragonflies were still hanging on and both migrant hawker and common darter were seen on Tuesday. Friday brought another highlight, when a bittern was seen flying from one side of the lagoon to the other.

Photo credit: Tufted ducks by Stefan Zitzmann

Kestrels were a regular sight this week with up to three of them seen together. Buzzards and sparrowhawks were spotted as well. Marsh harriers were reported on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and two female hen harriers were seen going into the reedbeds on Monday afternoon. A peregrine on Sunday rounded the week off regarding birds of prey. Around the visitor centre and along Perry Lane there were groups of bullfinches and chaffinches. Very often you could hear the water rail squealing and on Thursday morning it was for a short while out in the open on one of the puddles. The same day also brought a chiffchaff and a treecreeper in Perry Lane. Green woodpeckers often greeted us first thing in the morning. Tuesday brought a surprise visitor opposite our welcome marquee in the form of a firecrest. The moth trap revealed three species on Friday morning, the large wainscot, the attractive December moth and the rather spectacular feathered thorn.

Photo credit: Feathered thorn by Stefan Zitzmann

The number of waders at Goldcliff lagoons was noticeable down in comparison to before the firebreak lockdown but avocets were spotted on Monday which is always a treat and the weekend brought some knots, black-tailed godwits, turnstones as well as ringed and grey plovers. There was a good number of ducks around, especially shoveler, teal and wigeon. A white-fronted goose was found on Monday and four barnacle geese were seen throughout the week. Further interesting sightings were a peregrine and a barn owl on Monday and a ring-necked parakeet on Tuesday. Two glossy ibis were seen from the Red House Barn hides.

The car park and the visitor centre are open daily 9am to 5pm with café and shop being open 10am to 4pm. 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, Barn owl, Barnacle goose, Bearded reedling, Bittern, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Brambling, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Firecrest, Gadwall, Glossy ibis, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Grey plover, Greylag goose, Hen harrier, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Ring-necked parakeet, Ringed plover, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Skylark, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Treecreeper, Tufted duck, Turnstone, 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!