Saturday 27 October – Newport Wetlands Leader Mike Jackson

Not many field trip reports bother mentioning Woodpigeon but on our approach to Newport Wetlands, and during
the first hour and a half, Woodpigeons were passing southwards at around 1,000 birds every five to ten minutes.
It would be no exaggeration to estimate in excess of 10,000 passed southwards by 10:30. Six of us had gathered
at the car park in full sunshine, although the temperature was only just above freezing. Both White and Pied
Wagtail showed and the first of many Cetti’s Warbler sang. Our walk began with more reed-bed classics; Reed
Bunting and Marsh Harrier. The latter was a silhouette against the sun but we thought it probably a female or
juvenile. There was appetite for winter thrushes but a hoped for Redwing dashed out of sight before positive
identification could be made. Another species out of sight was Bearded Tit. We were told by the warden that five
had been present, but in a reed-bed of this size and with the wind picking up later, a sighting was not to be.
Another species not seen, but heard well, was Water Rail which frequently squealed from the dense reeds.
Peregrine and Kestrel represented the falcons, and a Stonechat perched openly affording good views. A
Chiffchaff showed its approval of the sunshine by serenading us with its two-note song. The open waters were
quiet with Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Little Grebe the only birds of interest. On the coast, the falling tide attracted
a steady stream of Curlews and a couple of groups of 30 plus Dunlins. Shelduck, Teal and Wigeon were on the
estuarine water. Then we had one of those Cetti’s Warbler moments as one sang from the short, skinny hedge
next to the path. This one had to be a dead cert. Up to ten minutes later we’re still staring into this ‘gappy’ hedge
two metres away with absolutely no view of a Cetti’s whatsoever, despite the continuous song constantly
providing a reference point. In the breeze the walk back to the Visitor’s Centre was less productive. Song Thrush
and Green Woodpecker showed, and a late Buzzard was our fourth raptor. The count of House Sparrows at the
feeding station made our list exactly 50 species. Thanks to all attending members for sharing bird sightings, and
for being good company. (Thanks to Mike for leading the walk.) Mike Jackson