Trip reports

Field Trip to Newport Wetlands and Goldcliff

Avocet wading in water
RSPB Images

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Always a popular destination and it showed with 25 of us venturing around the reserve.
Two Kestrels near the reserve shop was a good start. There is a good range of different habitats at Newport wetlands. An open field produced a number of redwings and a few fieldfares. These are members of the thrush family which winter here from Scandinavia. As we continued, a few people in the know, knew of where a little owl roosts. Good fortune was on our side as the owl was there. This brought a good deal of excitement as some had never seen this species before. Our first hide looking out on one of the lagoons, which had good number of tufted ducks, and a few coots. A few people had heard a water rail, with its distinctive squealing pig sound. Onwards overlooking the estuary, there was surprisingly not much activity. There was a distant flock of dunlin, with a few curlews and shelducks. The reed beds, which are a main feature of the reserve, are good habitat for bearded tits. The sound of the wind against the reeds, masked the sound of the bearded tits pinging sound. That's my excuse. Cetti's warblers are becoming a common species within the wetlands reserve. Trying to see them is another thing. We heard a loud burst of song, which made its presence known, because they are quite a difficult bird to spot. A reed bunting and stonechat had also been seen.
After a relaxing refreshment at the reserve café, we continued on to Goldcliff. During the journey a little egret was in a small pool. Later there were reports of a great white egret. As the name suggests these larger species, which have a prominent yellow bill, compared with a smaller black bill of the little egret.
Goldcliff is generally a productive in numbers of wildfowl and wading birds. You never know what can be found on the lagoons. There were quite good numbers of avocets and lapwings present. Ducks included teal, shoveler and wigeon. A welcome peregrine, more for us then the smaller birds, was perched on one of the posts. There was difficulty identifying what appeared to be a green sandpiper. There were a number of redshanks and a not so common cousin, spotted redshanks. They are larger than redshanks, with a more prominent eye strip and lacks the white wing bars. Time was not on our side, so on this occasion we did not go up to the Severn estuary foreshore.
A count had been made of 37 species. A good day at these popular wetland areas of Newport.

Craig Watson