Newport Wetlands

Newport Wetlands

Newport Wetlands
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Newport Wetlands

  • Indispensable insects

    Summer is finally upon us, albeit a rather changeable and unpredictable one - and it’s a really busy time for wildlife on the reserve.  Most will have offspring to nurture, feed and protect.   The adults will be working overtime to keep up with the endless round of feeding and fending off predators.

    Flowering plants are at their best at this time of the year, which is just as well as they are so important for the emergence of the vast array of insect life. As you stroll around the reserve you will see good displays of comfrey, common vetch, birds-foot trefoil and St John’s wort snatching what sunshine they can between bouts of rain! These blooms attract pollinators which are a vital source of food for birds to feed their young. One out of every three mouthfuls of our food also depends on pollination taking place, so without insects we would soon have problems feeding ourselves. The RSPB is encouraging everyone through their ‘Giving Nature a Home’ campaign to provide the right conditions for insects close to home.

    Speaking of insects – one of the staff saw something strange lurking in the reserve this week. After research it appears we are home to a Platyrhinus resinosus – which translates from the latin for 'flat nose' – not a very flattering title!  'Flat nose' is a fungus weevil (aka the Cramp-ball fungus weevil or Oak fungus beetle ) from the family Anthribidae. The larvae develop inside the black fungus known as King Alfred's Cakes or Cramp Balls (Daldinia concentrica). When it’s running around oak trees it moves quickly and is hardly visible.  When spotted though it’s such an odd-looking creature that it can’t be mistaken for anything else. It is a scarce invertebrate with June and July being peak times to see the adult.

     

    Platyrhinus resinosus by Tara Okon

    It’s also a great time to spot butterflies and moths, and we have seen a flurry of scarlet tiger moths over the past couple of weeks. If you’d like to come along and spot some butterflies and day flying moths we will be running family events next weekend as part of the Big Butterfly Count 2016.

    Flutter by for a fabulous weekend of butterfly-filled fun

    A family event at RSPB Newport Wetlands on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July

    10.30am to 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 3.30pm

    RSPB members: £3.00 per child

    Non members: £5.00 per child

    Drop-in event so no need to book

    For more information call: 01633 636363 or email: newport-wetlands@rspb.org.uk

     

    Thanks to Linda Joseph, our guest writer for the blog this week. 

    Recent sightings 17/06 to 23/06

    Bearded Reedling, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Broad-billed sandpiper, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Gadwall,  Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Herring gull, Hobby, House sparrow, Kestrel, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser Whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Robin, Ruff, Sedge warbler, Shelduck,  Skylark, SongThrush, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Tufted duck, Turnstone, Water rail, Willow warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren.

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

    Moth caterpillar, Skipper, Scarlet Tiger Moth, Bee Orchid, Comma, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Latticed Heath Moth, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood, 5 spot Burnet Moth, 6 spot Burnet Moth.

    Recent sightings 24/06 to 30/06

    Avocet, Bearded Reedling, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Grasshopper Warbler, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker,  Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank,  Grey heron, Herring gull, Hobby, House martin, House sparrow, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pochard, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ruff, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck,  Shoveler, Skylark, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Tufted duck, Turnstone, Whinchat, Woodpigeon, Wren.

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

    Moth caterpillar, Skipper, Scarlet Tiger Moth, Bee Orchid, Comma, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Southern Marsh Bee, Latticed Heath Moth, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood, 5-spot Burnet Moth, 6-spot Burnet Moth.

    Recent sightings 01/07 to 07/07

    Avocet, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank,  Grey heron, Herring gull, Hobby, House martin, House sparrow, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck,  Shoveler, Starling,  Swallow, Tufted duck,  Whinchat, Woodpigeon, Wren.

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

    Marsh Helleborine Orchid, Southern Marsh Orchid, Bee Orchid, Red Admiral butterfly, Black tailed Skimmer, Slug, Snail, Meadow Brown butterfly.

  • Signs of summer

    What an absolute privilege to be able to wander around the wetlands on a late spring morning, birds chirping in the trees, sun shining, plants and trees bursting with life. It makes you feel good to be alive and part of the natural world. As you walk around you will hear lots of different bird song, even though the birds are hiding their nests deep in the reed beds.  You might recognise the explosive song of the Cetti’s warbler, the repetitive rhythmic churring of the reed warbler or the distant trilling of the grasshopper warbler.  We’re also having regular sightings of common and lesser whitethroats, reed buntings, swallows, swifts and chiffchaffs.  A cuckoo first arrived on April 20th and is still getting in some last minute song before heading back to Africa in July.

    Butterflies such the large skipper, painted lady and the cinnabar moth have been spotted and others are appearing all over the reserve following the sudden growth spurt of the most beautiful plants and flowers – an essential source of nectar for the emerging butterflies and moths.

    To herald the burst of colour we held a botanical illustration workshop on Sunday 5 June which was a great success. The day was intended for absolute beginners with little or no knowledge of botany or art. We covered the structure of flowering plants, a bit about habitats and conservation of plants, their importance to wildlife and insects, the law relating to plant species and a bit about how illustrators have glorified them over the years.

    After lunch we launched ourselves into drawing samples of flowers, equipment used by illustrators and simple botanical techniques using pencil and watercolours. Each person went home with an almost complete botanical picture and lots of new knowledge.

    Plans are afoot to hold another Botanical workshop in the autumn where attendees can work on specimens such as holly or ivy to produce a beautiful hand painted Christmas card. More on this later ........... so watch this space!

    Bee orchid by Lorraine Leicester

    Common spotted orchid by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    Recent sightings 10.06.16 to 16.06.16

    Little grebe, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Raven, Red kite,  Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Robin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck,  Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling,  Stonechat, Swallow, Tufted duck,  Water rail, Woodpigeon and Wren.

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

    Marsh Helleborine Orchid, Bee Orchid, Southern Marsh Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid, Large Skipper, Painted Lady, Tufted Vetch, Grass Vetchling, Weasel, Rabbit, Blackberry flower, Knapweed, Fumitory, Meadow Pea, Yellow Flag Iris, Horseshoe Trefoil, Self-heal, Black Medic, Purple Clover, White Clover, Silverweed, Bur-reed, Dog Rose, Ermine moth, Poplar hawkmoth, Lesser elephant hawkmoth, Diamond back moth, Hearts and dagger moth, Common pipistrelle bat, Soprano pipistrelle bat, Nathusius pipistrelle bat and Noctule bat.

    Recent Sightings 03/06/16 to 09/06/16

    Avocet, Bearded reedling,  Bittern,  Blackbird,  Blackcap,  Blue tit,  Buzzard,  Canada goose,  Carrion  crow,  Cetti's warbler,  Chiffchaff,  Common whitethroat,  Coot,  Cormorant,  Cuckoo,  Curlew sandpiper,  Curlew,  Dunlin,  Dunnock,  Gadwall,   Goldfinch,  Great crested grebe,  Great spotted  woodpecker,  Great tit,  Green woodpecker,  Greenfinch,  Greenshank,   Grey heron,  Greylag goose,  Hobby,  House sparrow,  Jackdaw,  Jay,  Kestrel,  Lapwing,  Lesser whitethroat,  Linnet,  Little egret,  Little grebe,  Long-tailed tit,  Magpie,  Mallard,  Marsh harrier,  Mistle thrush,  Moorhen,  Mute swan, Oystercatcher,  Pheasant,  Pied wagtail,  Pochard,  Raven,  Redshank,  Reed bunting,  Reed warbler,  Ringed plover,  Robin,  Sedge warbler,  Shelduck,  Song thrush,  Stonechat,  Swallow,  Swift,  Tufted duck,  Water rail,  Woodpigeon and Wren.

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

    Peacock butterfly, Speckled wood butterfly, Holly blue butterfly, Brown hawker dragonfly, Rabbit, Hairy dragonfly, Blue-tailed damselfly, Painted lady butterfly and Weasel.

    Recent Sightings 27/05/16 to 02/06/16

    Avocet, Bearded reedling,  Blackcap,  Black-tailed godwit,  Blue tit,  Buzzard,  Canada goose,  Carrion crow,  Cetti's warbler,  Chiffchaff,  Common whitethroat,  Coot,  Cormorant,  Cuckoo,  Curlew,  Dunlin,  Goldfinch,  Great crested grebe,  Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit,  Green woodpecker,  Greenfinch,  Greenshank, Grey heron,  Herring gull,  Hobby,  House martin,  House sparrow,  Lesser whitethroat,  Linnet,  Little egret,  Little grebe,  Little gull,  Little ringed plover,  Long-tailed tit,  Magpie,  Mallard,  Marsh harrier,  Moorhen,  Mute swan,  Oystercatcher,  Pochard,  Raven,  Red kite,  Redshank,  Reed bunting,  Reed warbler,  Robin,  Ruff, Savi's warbler,  Sedge warbler,  Shelduck,  Sparrowhawk,  Swallow,  Swift,  Tufted duck, Wigeon,  Woodpigeon and Wren.

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

    Southern marsh orchid, Small blue butterfly, Ladybird and Cabbage white butterfly.

     

    Recent Sightings 20/05/16 to 26/05/16

    Avocet, Bearded reedling, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Coal tit, Common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker,  Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank,  Grey heron, House martin, House sparrow, Kestrel, Lapwing, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pochard, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Robin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck,  Shoveler, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Spoonbill, Stonechat, Swallow, Tufted duck,  Willow warbler,  Woodpigeon and  Wren.

     

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

    Rabbit

    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!

  • Surprise, Surprise!

    Surprise, surprise

    There have been a few surprises in the area over the past few weeks, the most notable being the Lammergeier spotted near the Severn Bridge, only a few miles from Newport Wetlands.   The name is German for ‘lamb vulture;’ another common name for them is the Bearded vulture.  The nearest recorded wild Lammergeiers reside in the high peaks of the Pyrenees mountains.  Once found across the great mountain ranges of Europe, breeding pairs dwindled to a mere 3,000 as a result of widespread strychnine poisoning.  Efforts to reintroduce the magnificent birds have been relatively successful, with recent sightings in Britanny, Germany and Belgium.  The mystery here is whether this particular Lammergeier is a truly wild bird exploring new territories, or whether it is simply an escapee from a  bird collection, or maybe a stray from a European reintroduction programme.

    Another nice surprise today, although not quite so unusual, was the sighting of a southern marsh orchid coming into full bloom on the reserve. The colloquial name ‘marsh rocket’ indicates how quickly the flowering spikes appear.  This species can occur in large numbers and in a variety of habitats including marshes, damp meadows, wet grassland, low lying dunes and old industrial sites.  It readily hybridises with spotted orchids, which can lead to difficulties in identification. 


    Southern marsh orchid by Helen Gottschalk

    Recent Sightings 13/05/16 – 19/05/16

    Avocet, Bearded reedling, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-tailed godwit, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common whitethroat, Coot,

     Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall,  Garganey, Goldfinch, Grasshopper warbler,

     Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker,  Great tit, Greater black-backed gull,  Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank,  Grey heron, Greylag goose, Herring gull, House martin,

     House sparrow, Kestrel, Knot, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier,

     Merlin, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pochard, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck,  Short-eared owl, Shoveler, Sparrowhawk,

    Spoonbill, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Tufted duck,  Water rail, Whimbrel, Wigeon,  Willow warbler, Woodpigeon and Wren.

     

     

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

     Weasel, Grass snake, Orange tip butterfly, Peacock butterfly, Small tortoiseshell butterfly, Hairy dragonfly, Bank vole, Field vole, Rabbit and Blue-tailed damselfly.

     

    Recent Sightings 06/05/16 – 12/05/16

    Avocet, Bearded reedling, Bittern, Blackcap, Buzzard, Canada goose, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew sandpiper, Curlew, Dunlin, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Grasshopper warbler, Great crested grebe, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank,  Grey heron, Grey plover, Hobby, House sparrow, Kestrel, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Little ringed plover, Little stint, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pochard, Raven, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Ruff, Sanderling, Sedge warbler, Shelduck,  Sparrowhawk, Tufted duck, Turnstone, Whimbrel, Whinchat and Wren.

    Other species spotted around the Wetlands include:

    Grass snake, Rabbit, Small tortoiseshell butterfly, Green veined white butterfly, Peacock butterfly, Toad, Stickleback, Bloodworm, Water beetle, Blue chaser and Emperor Dragonfly.

     

    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!