Saturday 02 September – Goldcliff Pools, Gwent Leader: Peter Bryant

The weather seemed fair and the walk started with a perched Kestrel and fly-past Marsh Harrier. Three Stonechats were perched on a gate and a pair of Chiffchaffs were flitting in the nearby hedgerow. For most of the morning, there were over a hundred hirundines in flight, mostly House Martins but with a few Swallow. At Curlew Hide, overlooking Monks Lagoon, we initially only saw a half dozen Greylag Geese. but soon we were picking out waders, including Ringed Plovers by the dozen and four smart Ruff. The Lagoon held seven Little Egrets. As we were past high tide, we decided to head round to the Avocet Hide which had a view of both Priors Lagoon and Becs Lagoon. Highlights here included four Snipe, several Redshank, ten each of Knot and Black-tailed Godwit, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Greenshank, an Avocet and a Great White Egret. Six Little Grebe were on Priors Lagoon. The ducks included Shoveler, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Teal. As we were preparing to leave the hide, a Kestrel flew across joined by a Sparrowhawk – a good chance to see the different flight patterns of these birds of prey side by side. The beach, viewed from the seawall, eventually produced 180 Curlew and an Oystercatcher. From the Lapwing viewing platform, we had a good view out to the recently cut hay fields and some birds sitting on the hay bales attracted our attention. A few were Meadow Pipits but most were Yellow Wagtails, over twenty in all. 62 species seen with a good variety of waders and other passage migrants. (Thanks to Peter for leading.) Peter Bryant