It’s almost time for the school holidays to begin, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to let you know about the events and activities that we are running throughout the summer weeks. Bring your children, bring your grandchildren, make the most of summer and get the kids outdoors!
We have a number of events aimed at 3 to 12 year olds, which are £5 per child (50% discount for RSPB members) and free for accompanying adults. All of these events must be booked in advance by phoning the visitor centre – they can get fully booked so do it as soon as you can!
On Saturday 26th July and Saturday 30th August it’s our monthly guided walk, suitable for all the family.
In addition to the bookable events, every day throughout the holidays there are drop-in activities for children. You can borrow a Wildlife Explorer backpack for the day, which includes a pair of binoculars, a bug pot, identification charts, and activity sheets to keep you busy for the whole day. The backpacks are £3.50 to hire for the day, or free to hire for RSPB members. What a great deal, eh?
You can also pick up an activity quiz sheet for free at the reception – donations welcome!
Now onto the wildlife sightings. Highlights for the week include Wood sandpiper, Green sandpiper and Spoonbill at Goldcliff lagoons, juvenile Bearded tits still being seen early morning by the lighthouse, and a new butterfly for the reserve: the Essex skipper.
Essex Skipper by Chris Knights (rspb-images.com)
Just a quick note to let you know that over the summer holidays we do get very busy so we may not be able to post a blog every single week. We will do the best we can to at least post the recent sightings, but it might not always happen! Apologies in advance if this is the case.
Here’s the full sightings list:
Bearded tit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Grasshopper warbler, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Green sandpiper, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, House sparrow, Kestrel, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long tailed tit, Magpie, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pochard, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Snipe, Song thrush, Swallow, Swift, Tufted duck, Water rail?, Whitethroat, Wood sandpiper, Wren.
Blue tailed damselfly, Cinnabar moth, Common blue damselfly, Essex skipper, Gatekeeper, Green veined white, Large white, Meadow brown, Narrow-bordered 5-spot burnet moth, Peacock butterfly, Red admiral, Ringlet, Scarlet tiger moth, Small copper, Small skipper, Small tortoiseshell, Speckled wood, Tortoiseshell
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!
There are so many satisfying things about spring and summer. When the sun decides to put his hat on, the weather can lift spirits. Butterflies and bees take advantage of nectar as flowers blossom with all their might and birds sing at the top of their voice. One of the most rewarding experiences however, is the journey that wildlife takes, through the trials and tribulations of raising young. Most of us are familiar with the lovely creatures on BBC Springwatch by keeping a close eye on chicks through the webcams as they grow up in the nest. Or the fox cubs as they peer out of the den once they have plucked up enough courage to take a sneaky peek of the outside world.
But there is one species, out of all the wonderful creatures that have entered the world here at Newport Wetlands this year that we are most happy with, the bearded tits. Our star species! I had previously talked about the juveniles on the reserve near the pontoon bridge (see “Big Wild and Sleepy” blog post 24th June) but it appears that the juveniles are really quite obliging. If you want to see them, the best time to be near the lighthouse is at 9am. The following photos were taken at that time on Sunday by RSPB members Tim and Rose Smith.
Juvenile Bearded tits by Tim and Rose Smith
Summer is also a time of change for some our smaller residents and many of what were furry caterpillars have now transformed into beautiful butterflies and mesmerising moths.
Not all moths fly at night and some of the day flying moths are often confused with being butterflies because of their bright colours. Here is a photo of a garden tiger moth I took on Saturday, just outside the visitor centre. Even though it does have bright colours, it is actually a night flying moth but you can see why it is easy to get confused.
Garden tiger moth by Robert Magee
Amongst the sightings this week was a Shrill carder bee, which is a very rare bee and creatures that makes this reserve unique.
Full list of sightings 1st – 7th July 2014:
Bar-tailed godwit, Bearded tit, Blackcap, Black-tailed godwit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Grasshopper warbler, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, Grey wagtail, House martin, Kestrel, Lesser whitethroat, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pochard, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Song thrush, Swallow, Tufted duck, Whitethroat, Wren.
Orchids and other flora:
Dittander, Grass vetch, Marsh helleborine, Pyramidal, Southern marsh.
Butterflies, moths, damsels, dragons and squidgy things:
5 spot burnet moth, 6 spot burnet moth, Black tailed skimmer dragonfly, Blue tailed damselfly, Cinnabar moth, Common blue damselfly, Common frog, Drinker moth caterpillar, Emperor dragonfly, Froghopper, Garden tiger moth, Gatekeeper butterfly, Grasshopper, Green veined white butterfly, Large white butterfly, Meadow brown butterfly, Ringlet butterfly, Scarlet tiger moth, Shrill carder bee, Small skipper butterfly, Small tortoiseshell butterfly, Soldier beetle, Speckled wood butterfly, Straw dot moth.
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.
Sightings 24th – 30th June
The behaviour of birds often captures our imagination. Newport Wetlands sees plenty of bizarre and fantastic bird behaviour that continues to inspire people who visit. Now and again, a member of the public captures the behaviour of other animals, which sometimes passes us by, and we like to share it. In this case, it was one of our furry friends, the weasel. Rob Miles was spending the day at the reserve, saw two weasels frolicking on the footpath, and took photos of the whole event. The behaviour turned out to be mating and for it to be happening in the open on one of the footpaths is quite a treat.
The weasel is a small predatory mammal that looks very similar to the stoat, the main difference being that stoats have a black tip to their tail. Weasels and stoats are just two of the many types of mammal present on the reserve, as well as hares, voles, rabbits and the difficult to see otters. So next time you are down, remember to bring your mammal book as well as your bird guide and maybe you will see one of our more elusive creatures.
Weasels at Newport Wetlands by Rob Miles
In other news, following on from our blog last week about the success of the Big Wild Sleepout, I would like to say a big thank you to Brandon and Katrina Stanley who raised £100 for the RSPB by doing their own Big Wild Sleepout in their garden. Their friendly garden hedgehog visited them during the night.
Brandon and Katrina Stanley with their £100 cheque for Big Wild Sleepout
Full list of sightings:
Bar-tailed godwit, Bearded tit, Black headed gull, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common gull, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Grasshopper warbler, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, House martin, House sparrow, Kestrel, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Mediterranean gull, Moorhen, Mute swan, Peregrine, Pochard, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ruff, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Swallow, Swift, Teal, Tufted duck, Water rail, Whitethroat, Wigeon, Willow warbler, Wren.
Mammals, moths, myths and legends:
Black tailed skimmer, Cinnabar moth, Emperor dragonfly, Hare, Peacock caterpillar, Small tortoiseshell, Small white, Weasel.