On a day dominated by extreme weather with trees toppled, roads flooded, and constant driving rain and wind, we arrived at Newport Wetlands Centre to find that all of three people (including the leader!) were ready to brave the elements. However the birds were undaunted despite the weather, and we totted up a very respectable tally of 36 species in the hour and a half that we spent before tumbling into the café to warm up, and to add a few more species through the window!! Almost as soon as we stepped out of the car Goldfinches were popping out of the bushes, Cetti’s, Sedge and Reed warblers were warbling away in the reeds, and the sound of a pig squealing revealed the presence of a Water Rail. A possible “ping” suggested that there was a Bearded Tit lurking somewhere but they were sensibly not showing themselves in the teeth of the gale. Nearer the shore the tide was out and the mudflats were enjoyed by a Curlew as well as about half a dozen Whimbrel, plus the usual Dunlin, Shelduck and Oystercatchers. On the rocks below us was a flock of rosy Linnets and a brightly plumaged Wheatear. On the ponds were lots of Tufted Ducks and Pochards, and from the newish but nicely recycled hide we saw a very handsome Great Crested Grebe. Swallows and Sand Martins flew over in good numbers, and as we opened the door to the hide, a flock of Swallows twittered their way out through an open window. All the time we were in there they were doing a flypast in front of the hide, and even diving past our faces back into the hide, no doubt checking it out as a possible nest site. Eventually when we got to the point that our binoculars were being blown out of our hands we called it a day. It was a memorable morning, for the birds, the weather and that hot cup of coffee! Thank you very much Charles for leading.