Trip report: Newport Wetlands and Goldcliff (28 May 2013)

It drizzled most of the day and the target species – Bearded Tit – was absent… but all in all eleven walkers had a great day out in Wales. The walk started well with House Sparrow, Cetti’s Warbler and Chiffchaff in the scrub along the lane to the visitor centre. The feeders there were alive with Greenfinch and below the raised walkway Coot juveniles, while pestering their parents, were calling in a most Water Rail fashion. As we approached the hot spot for Bearded Tits, the rain intensified. It deterred them, but not the Sedge Warblers, who hung from the top of the reed stalks long enough to be seen by all. The river was very high so only Shelduck were showing and, for the lucky few, a Wheatear. A sit in the hide for coffee allowed us to see Little Grebe with two tiny chicks and some Tufted Duck busily diving and one acting as though it was a decoy. Cuckoo was heard in the distance and as we went through the wood Blackcap and Willow Warbler sang. Beneath the pylons we had great views of Reed Buntings, Whitethroat, and House Martins who were weaving between the reed stalks, well below the seed heads. A group went on after lunch to the Goldcliff reserve and were lucky enough to see Little Ringed and Ringed 13 Plovers. The rest returned to the reserve to “twitch” the Woodchat Shrike that had been reported in the RSPB centre log as ‘A cracking little bird’. (It was!) We all met up at Goldcliff and from the first hide we saw Avocet, and Oystercatcher – both seen to be nesting, some very acrobatic Lapwing and ten (final count) Dunlin, all with the rich dark bellies of their summer plumage. As we plunged out of the hide into the heavier rain a Cuckoo disappeared southward pursued by angry Chaffinch. The day ended with a total of 57. Thanks to Peter Holbrook for co-leading.