An Avocet Arrival
Our Bring on Spring board seems to have worked! Yay! Our winter tree has transformed into a spring tree thanks to our young visitors’ effort and enthusiasm towards nature over half term and beyond. The tree is now covered in leaves with messages of support for nature and nature experiences. But what has it made work? Well, it has brought a flock of Avocets back to Newport Wetlands. That’s right! The Avocets must have got wind about our half term activity tree and the attempt to Bring on Spring and so obliged by settling down onto the saline lagoons ready for another successful year let’s hope. Well that’s what I’ll be telling any children that ask anyway.
After a highly successful breeding season last year we are hopeful that this ultimate symbol or the RSPB’s success will have another good year. After breeding season in the UK, British Avocets or Pied avocet Recurvirostra avosetta join flocks in the Netherlands in order to moult. After moulting many move to south and south-west England for the winter, but some fly on to Spain, Portugal or even Morocco. British breeding birds generally return to their colonies during March.
Avocet walking on shingle by David Osborn (rspb-images.com)
On Saturday 28th February we had another bird ringing demonstration held by Goldcliff bird ringing group and there were some very good results. The stars of the show were the Lesser redpoll but the other birds were a welcome sight and provided a unique opportunity for the public to get a close look at some of our most treasured birds, even if some of them are a bit feisty (Great spotted woodpecker). Keep an eye on our website for details on future bird ringing events.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser repoll by Richard Clarke
Full sightings list 24/02/2015 to 03/03/2015
Avocet, Bearded tit, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Grey wagtail, House sparrow, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser redpoll, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Merlin, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pochard, Raven, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Short-eared owl, Shoveler, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren.
Tomorrow we will be expecting a very special visit from an avid cyclist and fundraiser.
Gary Prescott (aka The Biking Birder) is undertaking the challenge of visiting every RSPB and WWT reserve in the UK during the 2015 calendar year, and hoping to raise money for four charities, including the RSPB. Not only that, but he is hoping to bring the European Green Year list record back to Britain, and reach the magic 300 bird species in one year of cycling. Gary cycled to all RSPB and WWT reserves back in 2010 and five years on, is revisiting his challenge.
Tomorrow he will be coming to Newport Wetlands, and we look forward to give him a warm RSPB Cymru welcome!
If you’d like to support and follow Gary’s amazing challenge, visit with his Facebook page or blog for updates.
And if you’d like to donate, clock on his JustGiving page.
We will be sharing photos of his visit tomorrow too.
And remember, if you’re inspired by Gary’s mission to fundraise for nature, we’d love to hear from you.
Hello! We’re back with recent sightings after a short break due to the half term holiday. There were plenty of families enjoying the nature reserve over the last week, and it seemed that the muddier the children were, the more fun they had! One of the half term activities was to help us turn our bare-limbed wintery tree into a beautiful spring tree with leaves all over. We asked visitors to write or draw something that they love about nature and stick it on the tree, and here’s the finished result:
Bring On Spring at Newport Wetlands! Photo by Mathew Meehan
There have been plenty of birds to see over the past two weeks, although some people have been luckier than others! Robert had a magic half-hour one day at dusk when he saw a Sparrowhawk chasing finches, a Kestrel hunting across the scrape, and a ring-tailed Hen harrier that flew right past the cafe window. Pretty awesome stuff! Dusk is often a good time to watch birds before they go to roost, or if you can manage to crawl out of bed in time then wildlife is also more active at dawn. You also get fantastic scenery as the light changes – check out these beautiful photos by John Lawton at dawn here at Newport Wetlands. Excellent pictures as always, John!
Other sightings this week include 27 Tufted ducks chilling out on the scrape first thing yesterday morning, and 2 Common cranes flying over last Tuesday.
Common crane pair in flight, November. These birds are part of the reintroduction program headed by the RSPB on the Somerset Levels, England. Photo by David Kjaer (rspb-images.com)
Full sightings list
Bearded tit, Black headed gull, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Collard dove, Coot, Cormorant, Crane (2 flying over), Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greater black-backed gull, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Grey plover, Hen harrier, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser redpoll, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pintail, Pochard, Raven, Redpoll, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Treecreeper, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wigeon, Wood pigeon, Woodcock, Wren.
Fox, Otter, Rabbit, Weasel.
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!