Sign up for a Summer of Fun! Free school visits!
An exciting new partnership between the RSPB and the supermarket chain Aldi will mean that nursery and primary schools can benefit from free, staff-led visits to our nature reserve during the summer term.
Let us help you bring learning to life through a range of hands-on activities and experiences including pond dipping, minibeast hunting and bird watching. Learning about life cycles or food chains? Nothing compares to actually seeing these things right in front of your eyes! Witness the journey of a caterpillar to a butterfly, a cygnet to a swan or a tadpole to a frog. Or, watch a Grey Heron stalking the sticklebacks that were dodging the dragonfly larva, that were tasting the tadpoles, which were picking at the pond weed for their lunch.
Explore and examine how a creature is adapted to a particular habitat. How does a diving beetle breathe? Why isn’t a ladybird camouflaged? Why does a Kestrel have a hooked beak? How many legs does a woodlouse have? So, how many pairs of shoes would it need?
Aldi are donating all revenue from the sale of their single use carrier bags to the RSPB, to help connect hundreds of thousands of children to nature across mainland UK. This means that when you book a visit for your school to our nature reserve, your visit will be completely free of charge! Your only cost will be transport to and from the reserve.
Since it opened its first store in the UK in 1990, Aldi has always charged for carrier bags in an effort to reduce its environmental impact and encourage responsible use of resources by its customers. This new partnership means that the funds generated from the sale of these bags will help the RSPB to inspire the next generation about nature by providing them with first-hand experiences of wildlife.
To take advantage of this fantastic offer and get your class closer to nature with our fun, hands-on, curriculum linked activities, all you need to do is get in touch with us to book a date for your visit.
As this free offer is available to all schools we recommend you get in as quickly as possible in order to secure your place.
For more information:
Tel: 01633 636363
Recent Sightings 11/03/16 – 17/03/16
Avocet, Bearded reedling, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, Canada goose, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Coal tit, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Glossy Ibis, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, Grey plover, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Knot, Lesser redpoll, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pintail, Pochard, Raven, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Rook, Ruff, Sand martin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Spotted redshank, Starling, Stonechat, Treecreeper, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wigeon, Woodpigeon and Wren.
Recent Sightings 04/03/16 – 10/03/16
Avocet, Bar-headed goose, Bar-tailed godwit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey heron, House sparrow, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Pochard, Raven, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wigeon, Woodpigeon and Wren.
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!
Chillout Classics - Guest blog by Linda J
Well it’s been a bit quieter this week since the kids have gone back to school. Weather wise, it’s been so much better – cold and crisp with light winds and very little rain (phew!). This is great for the birds so they can catch up with feeding to keep out the cold and build their energy for the coming spring ‘antics’.
There’s a lot more birdsong around in preparation for attracting a mate. Blackbirds and robins in particular are active and the Little Grebe is still ‘giggling’.
You know that spring is on its way when the birds start singing at the top of their voices. We’re not quite there yet but it’s not far off – the daffodils are showing and snowdrops have been in abundance on grass verges and in hedgerows.
So why not treat yourself to a birdsong CD or DVD? Get outside early (even in your garden or on your way to work or school) and try to identify birds by their voices – it’s a joy – one of nature’s true wonders and an inspiration for many composers down the centuries. Here are some examples you may want to seek out (and I’m sure you can add to the list!):
And last but not least the most beautiful ‘Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan Williams
It’s a great stress buster to listen to music inspired by nature; put on the music, kick back, close your eyes and drift away to your beautiful place. Chill!
Recent sightings 17.02.16 to 25.02.16
Blackbird, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal tit, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Firecrest, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Grey heron, House Sparrow, Lesser redpoll, Linnet, Little egret, Little grebe, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow pipit, Moorhen, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pochard, Red-necked grebe, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted duck, Water rail, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren.
Fox, Otter, Rabbit, Weasel.
A very busy week here at the reserve – half term! So lot’s of eager youngsters exploring all the nooks and crannies, and the cafe of course.
The weather has been better, well a bit drier at least, and the cold snap has brought plenty of feathered friends to the bird feeders although they have been a bit wary of the Sparrowhawk lurking around looking for a tasty snack such as a blue tit or sparrow.
The Grebe family
Prompted by the appearance of a red-necked grebe on the wetlands following sightings at Goldcliff, it is a good opportunity to look at the whole family. The most common sitings here at Newport Wetlands are of little grebe and great crested grebe. They can be regularly seen on the scrape from the cafe window.
Little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) has already started ‘giggling’ or trilling if you want to be technical about it. This is a sign that it is beginning to think about making even littler grebes! So that’s something to look out for.
Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) This Grebe looks distinctly different from a little grebe, being bigger and brighter in its plumage. The male has a fantastic ‘crown’ of dark feathers on its head, and also sounds different to the little grebe making a less musical ‘gorr, gorr’ sound around nesting and mating times. The great crested grebe is renowned for its ‘dance’ during courtship – elaborate mirroring between the pair, headshaking and bobbing in tandem and synchronised dives. They also dance around covered in weed they’ve gathered while diving.
Red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena) This grebe is an altogether smoother character – slimline, smooth feathered and elegant – it lacks the flamboyance of the great crested grebe. It’s mostly silent but during courtship and territorial battles it lets rip with a loud hooting or wailing, surprising all its neighbours given its quiet demeanour!
Slavonian grebe (Podiceps auritus) This exotic grebe cousin is a visitor to Scotland for breeding – now this one is a real show-stopper! It is similar to the little grebe in size but wow - what a showy character with its bright tan headgear! They too have a spectacular courting dance where they rear up towards each other and shake their heads, so they’re good movers too.
Black-necked grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Another exotic cousin – more likely to be seen in the south of the UK. Unlike the other grebes, this one likes to keep family close and lives in colonies. It’s another showstopper – in summer the male sports an untidy tuft of yellow feathers behind his eyes, showing brightly on its otherwise black head. It also has a distinctive voice calling ‘wheeeeooo, wheeeeeooo’. This grebe prefers to visit shallow inland lakes and sheltered estuaries. They are a rare sighting.
What do they have in common?
Great crested grebes and young by Nick Evans
They all build nests of floating vegetation and carry their young on their backs. They are all charming, elegant and regal with similar colouring – dark heads, white patches and the males have distinctive reddish plumage in places. Most distinctive too are their sharp beaks that add to their smart appearance.
Recent Sightings 12/02/16 – 18/02/16
Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Buzzard, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, Chaffinch, Coal tit, Common Redpoll, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great crested grebe, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Grey heron, Grey plover, House sparrow, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Little egret, Little grebe, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute swan, Pheasant, Pochard, Red-necked grebe, Redshank, Redwing, Reed bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Siskin, Snipe, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Tufted duck, Wigeon and Wren
Other species spotted around the Wetlands include: rabbit, squirrel, and weasel