Trip reports

Field Trip to RSPB Newport Wetlands and Goldcliff Lagoons

Male wigeon swimming

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Fifteen of us turned up at the car park at RSPB Newport Wetlands and we first decided to head off to Goldcliff Lagoons as high tide was at 9.00am. The clocks had gone back one hour ending British Summer time.

It turned out to be quite a pleasant day weather wise but with quite a chilling wind coming off the Severn estuary.

At the Curlew Hide, we were surprised to notice a lack of some waders such as redshank and common sandpiper, however we did record curlew, snipe and dunlin. We also noted a large number of widgeons hunkered down against the wind. There were also shelduck, canada geese and lapwing present.

Some of us saw a kestrel hovering over the sea wall, unfortunately this bird of prey has declined in great numbers in the UK in recent years. A few years ago, kestrels were a common sight to be seen, characteristically hovering over the grassy hard shoulders of our motorways.

We then moved on to the Greenshank Hide and long-tailed tit and blue tit were seen in the hedgerows. Lapwing were spotted on one of the islands in the lagoon, as well as herring gull, black-headed gull and little egret. A buzzard was also noted.

A large number of our group moved on towards the sea wall and the Avocet Hide where shoveler were seen and also good views of a peregrine which appeared to spend a lot of time in what looked like a patch of nettles!

At the Greenshank Hide, a very jubilant birder entered, he had travelled from Wiltshire to look for the rare Baird's sandpiper which had been recorded earlier at Goldcliff. He had seen the sandpiper, a very rare visitor to our shores!

The bird had flown from the sea wall towards our Lagoon. After a lot of searching with our telescopes, we spotted the Baird's sandpiper at the water's edge!

A 'lifer' for me and also for a lot of members of our group who had seen the bird by the sea wall.

We then made our way to the Reserve centre for lunch and noted moorhen and mallard from the centre. Reed bunting, wood pigeon, magpie and raven were seen as we made our way around the Reserve.

On the lakes in amongst the reeds, little grebe, teal, mute swan and gadwall were noted. On the way back to the Visitor Centre, goldfinch, wren and stonechat were recorded.

As the light faded, starlings began to perch on the pylons at the Reserve, signalling the beginning of the spectacular starling murmurations which will begin over the next weeks at the Wetlands Centre.

Viv Jenkins