As the acres of dense green reeds now start to give way to their golden brown of winter it becomes easier to see the numerous birds who call Newport Wetlands home.
And now the lull of August and early September have slipped away, there’s plenty of wildlife on the reserve to get excited about.
Bearded tits are being seen by the dozen and in the calm, still weather of the last week it’s been difficult to walk through the reedbeds without hearing their unique ‘pinging’ sound.
The songs of Cetti’s warbler, willow warbler and chiffchaff can still be heard throughout the reserve, though the latter two have already started to leave our shores, heading south for the winter.
Several stonechats can be seen in the southern reedbed of the environs near the Visitor Centre at the moment and a pair of little grebe continue to entertain out on the scrape. And speaking of entertainment, it seems our mute swan Bad Bob has made his way back to the scrape and environs with his mate.
Treecreeper and nuthatch were seen on Saturday, whinchat was spotted on Sunday and there have also been plenty of sightings of little owl on the reserve. In fact, last week some fresh blood was injected into the reserve’s little owl population, when City Wildlife Care released a bird in Perry Lane.
But the two birds of the week were scaup and woodlark. The scaup was first seen on Friday and was also spotted on Saturday and Sunday on the lagoon near the hide. This diving duck is best seen between late October and March, so it’s great to have one on the water here at this time.
But the star species has to be the woodlark. Spotted on the ground near the pylons on the eastern side of the reedbeds, this bird caused a bit of a stir at the Visitors Centre. It can usually only be found in eastern and southern England and there are only around 3,000 breeding pairs in the UK. You can check out the photos taken by one of our regular visitors who found the woodlark on our forum.
Don’t forget, if you want to improve your bird identification skills, we have Beginner’s Bird Identification on Saturday between 10.00am and 12.00pm. The charge is £5.50 per adult or £3.00 for RSPB members. Give us a call on 01633 636363 to book you place.
I'm sorry to say that the 'scaup' I saw on Sunday turned out to be a Pochard hybrid :(
Thanks for emailing me your other photo showing the hybrid Cath. I want to do a blog on it but it's going to have to wait as I've fractured my elbow and not in work. Hoping I can get something up next week though.
Hope it's mending well - a not-so-funny bone!
Wondered where you were last week! ;o)