During the bad weather we have unfortunately had to reduce our Visitor Centre opening hours.
While the snow and ice continue we will be open from 10.00am – 4.00pm, instead of our usual 9.00am – 5.00pm. The coffee shop will be open until 3.00pm.
As some of you will probably know, we have been forced to close the Visitor Centre for a few days recently due to staff either being unable to travel in or, in the case of Monday, having to escape before West Nash Road became impassable.
If you want to check we are open before coming down please just give us a call on 01633 636363. We always make sure the phone is answered so if there’s no answer it’s safe to assume the centre is closed.
If you are coming down make sure you check out our Christmas sale in the shop – some great gifts and Christmas essentials all half price.
It’s all been happening here at Newport Wetlands over the last few days with not one but THREE sightings of the ever elusive bittern.
And as if that wasn’t enough, there have also been two sightings of the rare Dartford warbler.
The copse on the eastern side of the reedbeds has proved a popular spot with both these species seen there over the weekend.
Not only are bitterns a red-listed species, making them one of the most threatened species in the UK, they are also incredibly secretive and difficult to see moving silently through the reeds looking for fish.
Dartford warblers are more commonly associated with lowland heathland with gorse and heather and are usually only seen in southern and eastern England. They have suffered in the past from severe winters and the population crashed to just a few pairs in the 1960s. But since then has climbed back up to around 3,000 pairs today and they are now an amber-listed species.
But just in case you still have an appetite for more, it seems waxwings have finally landed at Newport Wetlands. There was a sighting of five of these enigmatic birds in our car park yesterday afternoon, presumably making the most of the hawthorn berries. Until now, waxwings appear to have been seen everywhere in the area except Newport Wetlands so it’s good to know we haven’t gone completely unnoticed by them.
Other recent sightings of note include redwings, goldeneye and marsh harrier, with large numbers of dunlin, curlew and wigeon still on the reserve. The starlings are still putting on a great display most evenings as well, so make sure you come down for one of nature’s must-see events.
Here at Newport Wetlands we might have escaped the worst of the early wintry weather, but the scrape, ponds and lagoons have been more suitable for ice skates than webbed feet over the last two weeks!
While we may not be wading our way through several feet of snow, the sub-zero temperatures have meant many birds have had to swap swimming for crash landings and walking as best they can over the frozen water – as these prints on the snowy scrape this morning show.
The thick frosts and light dusting of snow also provided the perfect opportunity for us to get out with the camera and show our artistic streak with some snaps of a Wetlands winter wonderland.
But this picturesque scene can also pose a serious risk to many of our birds here in the UK, leaving them without water and making feeding very difficult with the ground completely frozen.
To ensure the survival of birds in harsh conditions, put out food regularly and ensure there is a fresh supply of unfrozen water. Meal worms, fat balls, crushed peanuts, dried fruit, seed and grain help to compensate birds' natural food. Leftovers like grated cheese, porridge oats, cooked rice, unsalted bacon, soft fruit and pasta are also a good source of energy for garden birds.
Newport Wetlands Visitor Centre shop has a full range of bird food and staff and volunteers are always on hand to offer advice on feeders as well as bird food so make sure you come down and stock up on food for our feathered friends this winter.