What Warblers are at the Wetlands?
Hello. Long time no see! What can I say? I’ve been busy.
I’ve just got time in between Half Terms and Bank Holidays to bring you up to date with the Spring happenings at Newport Wetlands, it will be brief but here we go...
Swallows, House martins and Sand martins are all here. Will any Sand martins use the nesting holes? Please do Sand martins.
A Great white egret has been seen on site on a few occasions in the past month.
White wagtails, a sub-species of Pied wagtail have been seen at the beginning of April. They are easily confused.
Can you tell the difference?
Pied wagtail by Genevieve Leaper (rspb-images.com)
White wagtail by Pete Saunders (portlandbirdobs.org.uk)
On the 4th April, a visitor named Kathryn identified a Black-tailed godwit on the scrape. It’s not unusual to see Black-tailed godwits on the reserve but to have one so close to the visitor centre was a first.
A day later we heard the first Willow warbler of the year, calling from the willow trees on the edge of the scrape. It was also the first Brimstone butterfly sighting that day, Brimstones are usually one of the first butterflies to be seen in Spring but since then, Peacock, Small tortoiseshell, Speckled wood and Green veined white have been spotted.
A first summer male Pied flycatcher was the on the 10th April, feeding in a willow tree to the West of the reserve in the evening.
Now, in chronological order, the arrival of warblers according to our sightings log:
05/04/2015 Willow warbler
11/04/2015 Sedge warbler
13/04/2015 Reed warbler
16/04/2015 Grasshopper warbler
20/04/2015 Lesser whitethroat
Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs more commonly overwinter in the UK as do Cetti’s warbler, therefore it is difficult to put a date on, but take it from me, there are loads here.
If you disagree with any of the dates and you saw them early then you need to tell us or write it on the board in the Visitor Centre.
Some more dates for your info
17/04/2015 Pintail, 19/04/2015 Cuckoo and 21/04/2015 there were two Common cranes that did not have leg rings so they were not the same as the cranes we had recently.
A drake Garganey has been seen most days looking out of the hide to the left, occasionally accompanied by another.
Full sightings list 23/03/2015 to 21/04/2015
Avocet, Bar-headed goose, Bearded tit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Collared dove, Common crane, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall, Garganey, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Grasshopper warbler, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Great white egret, Greater black-backed gull, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, Greylag goose, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Merlin, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied flycatcher, Pied wagtail, Pintail, Pochard, Raven, Red kite, Redshank, Redstart, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Rock pipit, Rook, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Spotted redshank, Stonechat, Swallow, Swift, Teal, Tufted duck, Wheatear, Whimbrel, White wagtail, Whitethroat, Wigeon, Willow warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren.
Mammals and Butterflies
Bank vole, Brimstone, Common lizard, Fox, Green-veined white, Otter, Peacock butterfly, Rabbit, Small tortoiseshell, Smooth newt, Speckled wood, Stoat, Water shrew, Weasel, White-tailed bumblebee.
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!
It’s been a busy week here at Newport Wetlands with Chiffchaff and Cetti’s warblers starting to sing, Marsh and Hen harriers swooping over the reedbeds, and a few fly-by visits from a Great white egret. It’s not just the birds that have been busy though!
If you were visiting on Wednesday or Thursday last week you may have seen lots of fantastic volunteers from RSPB Newport Wetlands, Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council, and McDonald’s all working together to clean up the foreshore with Steve from Keep Wales Tidy. We only get the opportunity to do the litter pick twice a year, as the foreshore is a protected area with restricted access, so this was an intense two days of work to remove as much of the washed-up trash as possible. Thanks to everyone who helped out on this important project. Here’s a few snapshots of the day:
Foreshore Clearance at Newport Wetlands - Photos by Lisa Robinson
Friday was another interesting day as the UK experienced the solar eclipse. We decided to set up a projector to view the eclipse using one of our telescopes and a flipchart. It took a bit of teamwork and bodging but we managed to sort it all out in time to watch the eclipse in style! We were so lucky to have clear skies here (unlike a lot of the UK) so the viewing experience was brilliant. The sky did get very dark here, although the sun was only around 85% covered at the peak, and it was rather eerie the way the birds went silent. We also saw a Marsh harrier flying over (which they often do at dusk) swiftly followed by a Great white egret - my first sighting of one for over 2 years!
Eclipse projector - Photo by Lisa Robinson
This is my final blog post for Newport Wetlands as I head off to pastures new at the end of the week, so au revoir. It’s been a pleasure!
Full sightings list 17/03 to 22/03
Avocet, Bearded tit, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Coal tit, Coot, Cormorant, Crane, Curlew, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Great white egret, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Hen harrier, House sparrow, Kestrel, Lesser redpoll, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pochard, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Sand martin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Teal, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wheatear, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren.
On Saturday morning I arrived at the reserve with volunteer Jess at 8am in order to get a quick bit of birding in before we opened the Visitor Centre for the day. Aren’t we keen! It was a lovely morning for it, and we managed to get great views of two Marsh harriers. The target species was Bearded tits as Jess has never seen them here, but all we managed was to hear a few “pings” off in the depths of the reedbeds. Frustrating little birdies! Jess then continued on to the hide (I had to depart to start work!) and met up with a couple of our regular visitors there. What they all then saw from the hide was far, far more exciting than bearded tits...because they managed to spot a BITTERN hiding in the reeds on the side of the lagoon! A bittern!! And not only that, quick-thinking Garry managed to snap a photo. Bitterns do get seen every now and then on the reserve, but this is the first time for quite a while that we’ve had a photo of one. So exciting!
The reedbeds at Newport Wetlands are being managed in a way to attract bitterns, by providing a more patchwork network of reeds and water which is favoured by the beautiful herons. Hopefully the sighting on Saturday, and another on Monday afternoon, is a sign of things to come. Bitterns every day? Yes please!
Bittern at Newport Wetlands on 07/03/2015 by Garry Smith
There has also been a notable increase in sightings of Marsh harriers on the reserve. There are clearly multiple individuals, including one that is regularly flying over the scrape, usually first thing in the morning (9am-10am) and sometimes at around 5pm too. To see this incredible bird hunting so close to the Visitor Centre window is such a treat.
Marsh harrier over the scrape at RSPB Newport Wetlands on 06/03/2015 by Robert Magee.
Full sightings list 04/03 to 09/03
Avocet, Bearded tit, Bittern, Black swan, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Crane, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Hen harrier, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Lapwing, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pochard, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Treecreeper, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren.
Hare, Rabbit, Weasel.