The Golden Hours at Goldcliff Lagoons

The last couple of evenings I have spent at Goldcliff Lagoons. The tides have changed compared to some of the other visits I have had earlier in the month. I usually time my visits for high tide but on these occasions the tide was out and I had good views of the mud. The waters of the Severn Estuary have been the calmest I have ever seen them. Like a millpond . Flat mirror glass like in appearance. Far out I could see sand banks, some of which had lots of birds on them.

When the sun began to get low in the sky as the evening progressed and the golden hour approached it was great to watch the sudden increase in bird air traffic. Curlews began to fly into the mudflats from elsewhere on the estuary in large flocks of up to 30 birds at a time. Calling hauntingly as they did , their calls eerily sounding out across the mudflats.

I spent most of my time on both visits observing everything from the sea wall. To my left near the farm has been a hot spot for wagtails. I have never seen so many in one place. There must be over 50+ on the reserve. They have been flying around in a huge flock with Pied and White Wagtails, Wheatears, Starlings and Goldfinches. Even the corvids seem to join them. It looks like they have been taking advantage of the wealth of insect life along the wall and in the sun warmed grass. Hoards of Swallows and Martins have also filled the sky's feasting on airborne insects.

The dried up lagoon 2 has attracted hundreds of dragonflies which has probably led to Hobbys making visits to the reserve. I am sorry to say I have missed them on every visit but several birders have spotted them.

On Thursday evening I was treated to a spectacular sunset. The orange glow looked fab with the contrasting dark mud of the estuary. The mud was full of several hundred Curlews. Incredible numbers.

After the sun had gone down I headed back through the reserve. As I got to the Redshank platform I heard lots of Curlews calling and they seemed to be coming in to the reserve en-mass.

Up on the Redshank platform I caught sight of waves of Curlews flying in to roost opposite Hide 1.

When I relocated to Hide 1 and opened the shutters I saw a huge herd of Curlews filling the lagoon.

Despite the dwindling  light I got some good moody pictures. I took the opportunity to film it as well.I have published this on my Facebook blog.

Yesterday evening was not quite the same. The sunset was caught short- spoiled by a big band of cloud and the Curlews did not roost at Lagoon 1 (well not when I was there, they may have come in later).

All in all a great couple of evenings.

Sunset over the mudflats

Yellow Wagtails mix it with lots of species.


Yellow Wagtail at eye level

Incoming Curlews

In to Roost

Lagoon 1 opposite Hide 1 was full of Curlews

A procession of Curlews enroute to roost.

Yellow Wagtail

View of the setting sun blocked by a band of cloud

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