Sunday 12 November – Goldcliff Lagoons, Gwent Leader: John Skinner

Four brave souls arrived at the RSPB Newport Wetlands car park on a day planned to be Wetlands first, then Goldcliff. The forecast was dire, and it wasn’t far wrong. Low cloud and rain encouraged us to take good advice and go straight to Goldcliff and the shelter afforded by the hides. But first we had an interesting chat with a couple of RSPB guys in the Centre, and heard about the seven Bearded Tits seen earlier in the week, as well as the fly-by Bittern. After clocking our first Cetti’s call in the car park, and observing a crowd of Long-tailed Tits flitting in the trees, we headed for Curlew Hide, Goldcliff. In spite of the hanging mist and the rain, we had a good view of a Snipe across Monk’s Lagoon, a Wren called in front of us, and Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Shoveler and Gadwall were flushed as a Marsh Harrier wheeled overhead. During an easement of the rain, we walked to the sea wall as three Little Egret flew overhead and examined the estuary mud where Curlews were calling beautifully, Oystercatchers pottered, and Black-Headed and Herring Gulls were seen. No Avocet at Avocet hide but plenty of Curlews, a Cormorant, Greylag Goose, as well as a Stonechat pair and a Robin plus plenty of ducks. The weather was still excessively damp so we decided to finish the day, but on the way back to the cars we enjoyed Redwing, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, several tit species, Mistle Thrush, corvids, Dunnock, Chaffinch, and another Little Egret in the field. Species count was 37, not bad for only half a day and conditions less than ideal. (Many thanks to John for leading.) John Skinner