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Purple on the rocks

  I have the real pleasure of writing my first blog post of 2022 about a trip to Battery Point, Portishead, Bristol to photograph Purple Sandpipers (Calidris Maritima). As many of my readers will know I love waders probably above all bird species and so when I had the opportunity to get some pictures with my good friend Paul Joy of this rare, specially protected and very confiding wader species that winters in the UK coastland I was really excited. Up until this point I had never seen a Purple Sandpiper. They are small waders, bigger than a Dunlin but slightly smaller and less robust than a Turnstone.  They migrate to the UK in the winter from as far away places as Canada, Greenland, Svalbard, Fennoscandia and Russia. They then spend their time along the coasts roosting and feeding on various rocky outcrops. They have a preference for rocks covered with seaweeds where they forage for insects, molluscs and crustaceans. They get their names because of a Purple sheen that can be seen in t

First visit of the year to Goldcliff

Today marked my first visit to the reserve in 2019. Hoorah.

I had a very enjoyable morning. I finally got a glimpse of the Black Redstart that has been hanging around Hill Farm near the sea wall. I first saw it with another birder friend of mine perched on the fence. When I tried to get a closer view it disappeared. Later I got to see it again with another birder perched on the roof of Hill Farm.

I watched it for a good twenty minutes flitting down from the roof and into the farms garden area. Not ideal for photographs or prolonged observation. I often wonder what the farms residents must think. Its in a fantastic spot and is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Newport. I've got some amazing pictures of the place  at sunset and sunrise :)

The Redstart did not venture closer to me so in the end I gave up and it will have to wait until another weekend if it decides to wait around for me.

Black Redstart on the roof of Hill Farm

The duck numbers continue to grow. Lots of Wigeon and Shoveler ducks around - especially on Priors ( lagoon 2).

I spent some time in the Seawall hide and was joined by a number of friendly fellow birders. Its great having conversations with similar minded people who share my enthusiasm for wildlife.

We were treated to a Stoat swimming across Priors lagoon from the big reed bed, across the gap and onto the grassy bank between that is between Priors and Monks. I managed to grab a few pictures. I had a much better view of it through the scope. They are as fast as lightening.

Stoat on the prowl. Look at the middle of the picture and find the rocks. Look to the left and its emerging out of the long grass.

"Bosprey" was loitering with intent around Monks. Moving from post to post doing a rather good impression of a female Marsh Harrier today.

Bosprey and Crow meet

One of the Peregrines has taken a liking to small "mini" island on Monks lagoon in front of hide 1.
It was perched there at first light today so no wonder the lagoon was empty of waders on my arrival.

Peregrine Falcon on Monks mini island at first light.

All in all not a bad days bird watching. Met some nice people who all seemed rather enthused by the reserve and its wildlife. I also kicked off 2019 with my first lifer - a Black Redstart.


  1. It is a great post. Keep sharing such kind of useful information.


  2. Many Thanks Vicky. Will do. Glad you enjoyed my post.


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