It seems appropriate that with the Ryder Cup fast approaching and the Newport area receiving an influx of Americans that we at Newport Wetlands have received an American visitor of our own, a lesser yellowlegs on the 28th Sept, which caused quite a stir. A grey phalarope has also been seen today on the mud flats near the lagoons.
Other notable waders include a number of avocets and bar-tailed godwits passing through, a couple of little stints and a few curlew sandpipers mixed in with a flock of dunlins.
We have had great views of what looks to be a female hen harrier up and down the length of the reserve and the first sighting for this autumn of a short-eared owl yesterday.
Other migrants coming in include the first couple of fieldfares and redwings; also, the starlings have started to build in numbers. We have had regular visits to the scrape of teal recently and a couple of whinchats have been spotted flitting around the thistle heads with a good number of goldfinches. The occasional but welcomed sightings of kingfisher in the environs around the visitor centre still continue, and off the sea wall on the 25th September 6 common terns were seen flying east up the estuary.
The children are back at school and the leaves are already turning - autumn is definately here.
But while our children's play park here at Newport Wetlands might be a little quieter now the holidays are over, there's still plenty of life amongst our reedbeds and out on the water.
Despite its habit of concealing itself, skulking low in the reedbeds, Cetti's warblers have been seen as well as heard on several occasions over the last few weeks. Regular sightings of bearded tits have also continued when the wind has dropped, with a juvenile spotted down by the screen behind the lighthouse.
The little owls are still attracting a lot of attention thanks to the fact they are active during the daytime and have a habit of perching fully exposed. But they faced competition from a wheatear seen hopping across our picnic tables on Monday 7th.
Curlews are still being spotted on an almost daily basis and the secretive water rail was seen twice over the weekend. The unmistakeable blue and orange of a kingfisher has also caught the eyes of staff and visitors alike at the wetlands three times in the last seven days, even landing on the purposefully-placed branch on the scrape outside the visitor centre on one occasion.
Other sightings include green and greater spotted woodpeckers, as well as exciting birds of prey such as hobby, marsh harrier and sparrowhawk.