Newport Wetlands

Newport Wetlands

Newport Wetlands
Do you love the Newport Wetlands? Share your thoughts with the community. Or if you're thinking about visiting and would like to find out more, ask away!

Newport Wetlands

  • There really are otters here

    Wildlife sightings October 13th to 20th

    It really is true: what I am about to tell you are real accounts of what has happened here at Newport Wetlands.

    A very common question we are asked is “Are there any otters here?”  to which the answer we always give is “There are otters here, but they are very elusive”.  To be honest, as time went by it was becoming quite taxing having to say the same thing over and over without having heard of a solid sighting of an otter within the last year. (Someone reading this might have seen an otter or even have a photo of one at the reserve but you need to come into the visitor centre and tell us what you have seen and where you have seen it or we just won’t know).

    All this aside, on Wednesday the 15th October, our volunteer was doing the rounds in the morning to see what was around, came back and said he had seen otters.  Obviously I was slightly taken aback by this and wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not, even though of course I trust our volunteer’s judgement.

    Later that day a couple who were visiting the reserve for possibly the first time, or in a long while anyway, came into the visitor centre and asked the classic question “Do you have otters here?” As usual, I answered in the normal way until they said, “Because we’ve just seen two, play fighting with a fish in the first lagoon on the left”.  Then a gentleman stood directly behind them said, “I saw a family of three near the hide”.  Well well well, I thought to myself, it is true what I have been saying all this time!

    There are definitely otters at Newport Wetlands and that was the first sighting of three this week.  The last one was yesterday, a family of three again.  All we need now is a lovely photo of them to post on the internet.  The three sightings took place at different parts of the reserve so it is difficult to pinpoint where to go but all three have taken place at around 10am.

     

    Otters Lutra lutra play fighting on the river Thet by David Tipling (rspb-images.com)

    Full bird list:

    Bearded tit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Great white egret, Greater black-backed gull, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Hen harrier RT, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little stint, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pectoral sandpiper, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Ruff, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Swallow, Teal, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wheatear, Woodpigeon, Wren.

     

    Mammals:

    Otter, 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!

        

  • Grey clouds and Yellow clouds (well, clouded yellows!)

    Over the past weeks there has been one regular sighting on the reserve that is an unexpected flash of colour and a nice reminder of summer in this dark autumnal gloom. The Clouded yellow (Colias croceus) butterfly is a distinctive orange-yellow often with a dark fringe to the wings. They are a migrant butterfly species from N. Africa/S. Europe, but individuals can successfully overwinter in the UK. Occasionally there is a great influx of the migrant species and subsequent breeding, and these have come to be known as “Clouded Yellow Years” – perhaps 2014 is one of them?

    Clouded Yellow at Newport Wetlands by Cellan Michael

    There seems to be millions* of Stonechats on the reserve at the moment, but the variety in plumage of this small bird is causing a lot of confusion amongst visitors! We’ve seen the stunning adult males, first year males with paler chests, and females who lack the black head but still have the white/pale collar. The most common confusion species for Stonechat is the Whinchat, which is unlikely to be on the reserve at the moment as most have left the UK for winter by now. See both below for comparison.

    *may be a slight exaggeration!

    Male stonechat by Jeroen Stel (rspb-images.com)


    Male whinchat by Steve Round (rspb-images.com)

    Full sightings list from 07.10 to 13.10

    Bearded tit, Black headed gull, Blackcap, Blue tit, Brent goose, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Curlew sandpiper, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Golden plover, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, Grey wagtail, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Lapwing, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Red kite, Reed bunting, Robin, Ruff, Shelduck, Short eared owl, Shoveler, Snipe, Spotted redshank, Starling, Stonechat, Swallow, Teal, Water rail (h), Wheatear, Wren

    Weasel, Clouded yellow butterfly

    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!

  • Tales of a Great Bird

    Tales of a Great Bird

    There has been many a tale of a bird at Newport Wetlands.  It has been here before, that is for sure.  It has been seen and photographed at different areas of the reserve last year.  It often is confused with its smaller counterpart or with a different member of its family, the Grey heron.  Over the past year there have been reported sightings but it has often moved on before a member of the team can get to see it.  However, on Monday 29th September a Great white egret casually waded through the lagoons at Goldcliff, then flew over to the saltmarsh near the lighthouse and then flew back again.

    As the name suggests, a large, white heron. Great white egrets can look similar to Little egrets, but they are much larger -the same size as the familiar Grey heron. Other identification features to look out for include black feet (not yellow), yellow beak (in juvenile and non-breeding plumage), and a different fishing technique similar to that of the Grey heron.

    Expanding populations in Europe mean that this species is now seen more frequently in the UK - it can turn up in almost any part of the country, with most in south-east England and East Anglia. Great white egrets favour all kinds of wetland habitats - even farmland ditches can attract them.

    Great white egrets have occurred in the UK in all months of the year, but they are most likely to be seen during spring and winter.

    There are approximately 35 wintering birds in the UK every year, so a very rare bird indeed.

    Great white egret at Newport Wetlands by Mat Meehan

    All this talk of the Great white egret has meant I have almost bypassed the topic of the male Hen harrier.  There is the occasional female seen on the reserve but a male is a real delight.  In fact, on Wednesday 1st October, an aerial battle between the male Hen harrier and a female Marsh harrier ensued.  Considering the size of the Marsh harrier, it was interesting to learn that the Hen harrier came out victorious.  Don’t worry, neither bird was injured, the Marsh harrier was just chased away.

    Wildlife sightings September 23 to October 6

    Avocet, Bearded tit, Black headed gull, Black tailed godwit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Cormorant, Curlew, Curlew sandpiper, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great white egret, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, Grey wagtail, Hen harrier, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Little egret, Little grebe, Little stint, Long tailed tit, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Moorhen, Mute swan, Pectoral sandpiper, Peregrine, Pintail,  Raven, Red kite, Redshank, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Ruff, Shelduck, Shoveler, Snipe, Spotted redshank, Stonechat, Swallow, Teal, Water rail, Wheatear, Wigeon, Willow warbler, Wren.

     

    Things that crawl, run and buzz

    Clouded yellow, Common darter, Emperor dragonfly, Grass snake, Grayling butterfly, Hornet, Large white, Marbled white, Meadow brown, Rabbit, Red admiral, Shrew, Yellow tailed moth caterpillar.

     

     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!