No, Dragon orchid is not the name of an orchid at Newport Wetlands but a word mixture of Dragonfly and Orchid. Do you like what I’ve done there? The reason for this cleverly worked title is that there have been a number of Dragonfly and Damselfly sightings in the past week. Our birds and butterflies have been very obliging since April but now it’s the Dragonflies time to shine. So far, Four spotted chaser and Hairy Dragonfly have been reported but there are more species to be seen so please report your sightings to a staff member or write them on the sightings board in the Visitor Centre. Damselfly species have included Azure, Blue-tailed and Large red.
The healthy water habitat at Newport Wetlands means that Dragonflies can flourish which in turn provide a food supply for a bird that we anticipate arriving at the same time as the dragonfly emergence. That bird is the Hobby and a sighting was reported on Monday 18 May. Hobbies feed on insects and small birds while in flight but they have a particular taste for dragonflies.
Hobby by David Tipling (rspb-images.com)
The other little gem from the title mash up is orchids of which we have five species at Newport Wetlands. Some of them are just coming into flower so if you would like to know more, pop into the Visitor Centre and pick up a Plant ID sheet and follow the Orchid trail to familiarise yourself. There is also a FREE walk taking place on Saturday 20 June at 1:45pm called Wetlands in Bloom, organised by Gwent Wildlife Trust and Natural Resources Wales. Follow the link for more info.
Full sightings list 14/05/15 to 19/05/15
Bearded tit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Greylag goose, Hobby, House martin, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pochard, Raven, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Robin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Tufted duck, Whimbrel, Willow warbler, Wren.
Mammals and Invertebrates
Hairy dragonfly, Otter, Fox, Grey squirrel, Four Spotted chaser dragonfly, Blue-tailed damselfly, Azure damselfly.
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!
A “better late than never” Dawn Chorus summary
I admit that the last blog was not up to the normal amusing and entertaining standard, with a lack of wonderful imagery and wordsmithery. But don’t leave just yet, because this edition promises to at least be better than the last!
First of all, because I forgot to summarise the sightings of the Dawn Chorus walk in the last blog the summarisation will happen in this blog. I hope you like my use of words thus far?
The Dawn Chorus walk took place on Sunday 3 May which was International Dawn Chorus Day 2015. If you like early starts and pouring rain then this would have been your ideal thing. Never mind if you missed it, there will be one next year starting at 05:15am and we’ll order a torrential downpour as well to create a similar experience. Despite the awful weather, the hardy among us dragged themselves out of bed and a group of about eight set out onto the reserve to look and listen. They returned with a list of 40 bird species which is fantastic. Some of the highlights were Blackcap, Common whitethroat, lesser whitethroat, Cuckoo, Song thrush and Swallow. As mentioned previously, we have a great variety of warblers at Newport Wetlands and seven of them were either seen or heard on the Dawn Chorus walk.
Of those highlights, the whitethroats are two birds that you may find difficult to distinguish so here is a photo of each and if you click on the name below each photo, a link will take you to our website with some more info including description and audio of their songs.
International Dawn Chorus Day is a worldwide celebration of nature’s daily miracle and is always on the first Sunday of May every year. For more info follow this link: http://www.idcd.info
International Dawn Chorus Day is not to be confused with International Hummus Day which happened on Wednesday 13 May whereby millions around the world celebrate their love for delicious hummus.
Common whitethroat by David Tipling (rspb-images.com)
Lesser whitethroat by Malcolm Hunt (rspb-images.com)
Full list 07/05/15 to 13/05/15
Avocet, Bearded tit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, House martin, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pochard, Raven, Redshank, Redstart, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Song thrush, Spotted flycatcher, Swallow, Swift, Teal, Tufted duck, Wheatear, Whimbrel, Whitethroat, Woodpigeon, Wren.
Beetle, Blue-tailed damselfly, Brimstone butterfly, Comma butterfly, Hairy dragonfly, large red damselfly, Snail, Spider, Woodlouse.
Not much has changed
In terms of migrating birds anyway. Since the timeline of warbler arrivals in a previous blog, things have slowed down in the way of bird arrivals. There are still increasing numbers of Swallows and martins, Sand martins numbers in particular increased this week and if you look across the channel you can see the Swallows arriving in the distance.
The birds are still singing and judging by birdsong, there are at least two male Cuckoos at the reserve right now.
An uncommon bird for this reserve is a Nuthatch, simply because they are happier in more wooded areas but one was seen in the copse on Monday 4th May.
Some breeding has already taken place and you can see families of Canada geese, Mallards, Coots and Moorhens.
There will be some Bearded tit surveys taking place in the coming weeks so there will be some details in the coming blogs. Newport Wetlands has the highest breeding population of Bearded tits in Wales at so the results will be exciting I’m sure.
Full sightings 29/04/2015 to 06/05/2015
Avocet, Bearded tit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall, Garganey, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Grey heron, House martin, House sparrow, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Mistle thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pochard, Redshank, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Ringed plover, Robin, Sand martin, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Song thrush, Starling, Stonechat, Swallow, Swift, Tufted duck, Whimbrel, Whinchat, Woodpigeon, Wren.
Mammals and Butterflies
Cabbage white, Fox, Green veined white, Orange tip, Otter, Peacock, Rabbit, Red admiral, Speckled wood, Stoat, Weasel.