Tuesday 27 June – Newport Wetlands and Goldcliff Leader: John Skinner

After the excessive heat of mid-June, a good turn-out of 27 found the Wetlands car park a bit cloudy, cool and draughty, but this did not deter the inevitable Chiffchaff from serenading us. A Green Woodpecker was spotted as we headed from the picnic area towards the estuary, rapidly followed by a Whitethroat singing from an exposed perch. Cetti’s Warbler shouted at us, and Reed Bunting was seen and heard from a lowish perch – we learnt that their call can be described as “pink-pink-fizz”! As we approached the lighthouse, a Kestrel hovered, and we laughed at the tatty Mallards in their early eclipse plumage. Strangely (?) no Bearded Tit was seen, but after coffee we headed east above the salt-marsh where a Great White Egret flew overhead, and a young family of perhaps ten Pheasants ducked in and out of the scrub below. On the way back we were fascinated by a beautiful Vapourer Moth caterpillar. After a picnic at the visitor centre, many of us headed to Goldcliff and to the last hide where, among many waders, the star species was a Spotted Redshank in summer plumage. Back towards the road, another hide showed no fewer than 35 Little Egrets, and the best telescopes revealed both Little and Common Ringed Plovers. Just as we reached the cars, a Kingfisher flashed away, giving a total species count of 62 for the day (36 Wetlands, 49 Goldcliff). A great day enjoyed by all. Thanks to John Skinner on his excellent leadership. John Skinner