This Sunday at the RSPB Newport Wetlands shop we’re having an Optics Demonstration Day between 10.30am and 3.30pm. It’s the perfect opportunity to come and try out our range of telescopes and binoculars with options for every budget.
Our team of experts will be able to answer questions and give advice to help you find the perfect pair of binoculars or telescope for yourself, or as a gift for a loved one this Christmas.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a wildlife watching beginner or an expert looking for an optics upgrade, we have a great range of high quality products to suit every need.
We stock the full range of RSPB binoculars including Puffins, a great beginner binocular (priced from £54.95 to £79.95), up to the new HDX binoculars (from £649.00 to £699.00). We also stock Viking binoculars and a selection of Swarovski optics, including the EL Swarovision 8.5x42 and 10x42 (£1699 and £1779 respectively).
If you’re a serious wildlife watcher why not consider a telescope? We have a great choice of kits for AG60 and AG80 scopes which include the body, case, eyepiece (fixed or zoom) and tripod, with prices ranging from £249 to £329. It’s everything you need to get going straight away, and makes a fantastic Christmas gift for the birdwatcher in your life. For a smaller solution, Viking AV50 spotting scope is portable and affordable, and the kit comes with a case, hand strap and monopod all for £163.95.
We also stock the RSPB HD scope (£999) which is top of the range, with a large 82 mm HD objective lens for maximum light transmission and full multi-coating on the glass. The 25-50x eyepiece provides wide angle viewing across the entire magnification range. The magnesium alloy body reduces the weight, yet provides rugged protection. The scope body is waterproof and dry nitrogen-filled to prevent the lenses from fogging. The scope has two focussing wheels for fast and fine focus up to 5m, to help capture the image as quickly as possible.
So come along on Sunday to try out these products and more, to find the perfect pair of binoculars for you, a family member or a friend this Christmas.
If you didn’t see the penduline tit last week, do not despair! There’s still lots to see here at the wetlands. Many visitors had their first views of bearded tits this week, with most sightings being on or around the wibbly-wobbly bridge (the technical name for it), and in the dead-end section nearby. The reserve wardens from Natural Resources Wales have put out a few grit trays for the beardies, which the birds use to help digest and grind down seeds which is their primary food source in the winter.
The starling roost has now reached at least 20, 000 birds, if not more, and they’ve been putting on magnificent shows all week. If you haven’t popped down to see them, I recommend visiting within the next week or two, as historically the starlings haven’t stayed here over the whole winter as they do in other locations. They tend to move on from the reserve at the end of November, so if you want to see a murmuration here, make haste!
The starlings have been murmurating as dusk falls and obviously this gets earlier throughout November, but also I’ve noticed that if it’s a particularly dull or overcast day the murmuration happens slightly earlier still – so I would recommend arriving at around 3.30pm to be in good time to see the spectacle.
Other sightings of interest include the classic winter birds redwing and fieldfare, flocks of long-tailed tits on Perry Lane, a sighting of a merlin, 2 pairs of gadwall on the scrape, and a green woodpecker around the car park.
Redwing by Steve Round (rspb-images.com)
Full species list:
Avocet, Bar headed goose, Bearded tit, Black headed gull, Black tailed godwit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Cetti's Warbler, Chaffinch, Coot, Curlew, Dunlin, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, Grey plover, Grey wagtail, Jay, Kestrel, Knot, Lapwing, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little owl, Long tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow pipit, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pintail, Pochard, Redpoll, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Spotted redshank, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wigeon, Wren.
Please note that we take our recent sightings list from the visitor sightings board that anyone can contribute to. This is great as everyone can get involved, but obviously can lead to potential errors too as they aren’t always verified! We try to keep this list as accurate as possible but if you see something unusual feel free to comment here!
What an exciting day! We have a first for Gwent here, not just on the reserve but right next to the Visitor Centre! A chap came in and said he needed help identifying a bird with strange mask-like black face markings. I had no idea, I was thinking “It’s probably a funny looking sparrow” (oh dear!). So I asked the resident expert (Mat) and he graciously abandoned his desk to have a look, since the bird in question was just outside the visitor centre.
Approximately 10 seconds later, I heard a cry and running feet and Mat burst back into the centre screaming “IT’S A PENDULINE TIT!!!”. Action stations – I grabbed the camera, and Mat sent out the emergency tweet then we ran back out to have a look:
Penduline Tit at RSPB Newport Wetlands. Photo by Lisa Robinson
Awesome bird. I’m sure there will be many more photos on the community pages today, and the bird is still showing well if you want to pop down before it gets dark. Stick around, you might also see some starlings!
Starlings update: There’s been approximately 10,000 starlings seen most nights this week – more than last year! On days when the weather has been clear we’ve had fantastic murmurations, and even when it’s been drizzling they’ve still been swooping around doing a great display. I especially enjoyed yesterday’s “show” which wasn’t as elegant as usual due to very blustery conditions but was very dramatic, almost frantic.
We’re hoping the starlings will stick around throughout November, and maybe even longer. Feel free to phone the Visitor Centre (01633 636363) to hear the latest news, or just risk it and show up at 4ish on a nice day.
I've uploaded a few photos and videos to the Newport Wetlands Facebook page too.