So, I’m not quite sure if it’s spring that’s arrived or if we’ve gone straight to summer!
With such beautiful weather at this time of year it’s no surprise Perry Lane and the woodland up on the reserve are both filled with the sounds of chiffchaff. This member of the warbler family is easy to identify from its song as it simply sings its name – ‘chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff’. If only all birds did this it would make identification so much easier!
Although some chiffchaffs are residents and therefore stay in the UK all year round, the majority are migrants that arrive from Africa in late March/early April and stay here until September. As with many warblers, they are only the size of a blue tit making them relatively difficult to see, especially as their dull green, brown and dull yellowish colours mean they blend in well with their surroundings, so you’ll have to follow that distinctive song to spot them.
Great crested grebes and mute swans have been performing with their courtship displays, there have been several more sightings of wheatears passing through on their migration, plenty of stonechats, some bearded tit and whinchat sightings.
Marsh harrier and Cetti’s warbler continue to be regular sightings as well, and on March 14th we had out first swallow and sand martin sightings of the year. While sand martins can often be seen in March, most swallows arrive in April so this bird was very early and will probably have to wait a little while before it’s joined by other swallows migrating up from Africa.
On Friday 23rd March we had this year’s first recorded sighting of reed warbler – a plain looking warbler, slightly bigger than a chiffchaff and a very distinctive noisy chattering song, with churring and changes of pitch frequently thrown in for good measure. Later in the year you may well be able to hear this gem while sipping your coffee on the Visitor Centre veranda.
The same day a grasshopper warbler was spotted and yesterday kestrels were seen mating over the environs. The bittern hasn’t been seen since last Thursday but of course that doesn’t mean it’s not still here. However, it’s yet to be heard booming despite reserve managers and wardens venturing out onto the reserve in the very early hours, but there’s still time left so keep your fingers crossed.
Unfortunately, this will be my last blog for the RSPB and Newport Wetlands as today is my last day working here. I hope you’ve found my ramblings over the last year-and-a-half of some help and I hope to see some of you again as I’m sure I will be back at Newport Wetlands as a visitor ambling around the reedbeds, rather than racing through them during my lunch break!
Take care all and keep on enjoying all the wonderful wildlife this fantastic reserve has to offer!
Good luck in your next post Hannah! Your regular blogs have kept us informed and helped to bring the reserve to life . Thank you.
Good Luck for the future. Cath
Miss having you around Hana .. enjoyed all the blogs!
All the best for the future!
All the best for the future, and thanks for always making us all so welcome, both in the Blog and in person at the reserve
Thanks all. Your comments are much appreciated. Although my last day in work was Wednesday, my contract actually ends tomorrow so I guess this is the last time I'll be able to use my staff sign in but you can be sure I'll still be checking out the forum as a visitor. Ciao for now...
we miss you!! and the others that have left as well, hope to catch up with you one day! Andy Debbie & Hannah x