Gold on the horizon

Sunset from Goldcliff Lagoons sea wall.

There has been a huge amount of rain and flooding nearly all week. I think most of South Wales was glad to wake up to some glorious blue skies and sunshine. Most people who were rugby fans were watching the Television. I certainly was. The semi-final was on between Wales and South Africa.

After 80 minutes of pacing the room and shouting my heart out as if I was pitchside, it ended in disappointment but the Welsh Team did their best so you can't ask for more -valiant in defeat as ever

After all that excitement and disappointment, it was time to get myself all chilled out and relaxed so I headed to my favorite place after lunch. I've neglected the reserve lately. Its been almost two weeks since my last visit. The lagoons have been a little quiet on the wader front. The water levels are very high at the moment as can be expected with all this rain we have had this month.

It's ideal for ducks and swans but the waders have tended to stay out on the mud of the estuary around the pill or come in to roost on the saltmarsh.

However, there is always something to see at Goldcliff. I never leave "empty-handed" in terms of some sort of sighting.

I had some company on my visit from a keen birder who had traveled a fair distance away over the bridge. He also loves the reserve and I think it's great that people like it so much that they are prepared to travel significant distances to visit. It's fair to say I am not short of a few words and he liked a chat so we had plenty to talk about.

On Monks Lagoon all afternoon was a Peregrine Falcon looking very statuesque as usual.

Peregrine Falcon on Monks Lagoons island.

Almost immediately on entering the seawall hide two Kestrels put in an appearance. The one which I think is a male landed on gatepost to the left of the hide and the second kestrel that is a female landed on the seawall.

Two Kestrels

Lovely Kestrel ( Male)

She vanished eventually over the wall but the male kept us entertained for a while landing on a second post in great light.

I saw two Marsh Harriers during the visit. One was a female that was mobbed by two Carrion Crows. The other was a lovely male and he quartered the reeds on Priors Lagoon and descended into the reeds and it did not reappear. I am assuming it had a kill and was busy feasting on the unlucky victim.

There were various duck species around, notably more Wigeon are showing up. They should start to build up in numbers on the reserve as the winter months approach.

On Becs was a single Avocet sat down on the Island. It seemed to be sleeping most of the time. It eventually flew off.

As the afternoon progressed and sunset approached - at 4.55 pm! (The clocks went back today and now the days really are going to feel shorter) , I decided to stand on the seawall and enjoy the view.

The sun was descending into a thin layer of cloud but it was turning the horizon gold. I have taken so many pictures of sunsets and sunrises at Goldcliff you may think I get bored of them but in fact, I never tire of them. They are simply wonderful and joy to watch.

Golden lit skies as the sun descends from the heavens

The tide was quickly coming in and I could see out on the mud there was quite a gathering of waders. There appeared to be Curlew, Oystercatchers, Knot and maybe some Redshanks. As the water covered the mud it forced them to take to the sky and a flock of Oystercatchers circled over the water until they could decide where to head off to.

Oystercatchers circle

Down went the sun and the whole sky was turned a fantastic gold color. Another fantastic sunset to record in some photographs.

Sunset at Goldcliff

As the tide reached the seawall there was nowhere for the remaining birds to roost so they also took flight. A big flock of around 60 Redshanks hurtled past me and landed on Priors Lagoon.

Redshanks come in to roost on Priors Lagoon ( There is a Knot top right).

It was quite funny as they had to float like ducks and paddle across the deep water to the edge of the lagoon.

I sat in the Snipe Platform for a while and watched the Redshanks occasionally get skittish and they would frantically gather in a tight flock and fly low over the water before landing in the water and paddling to the waters edge again.

Redshanks skirt the surface of Priors Lagoon

Redshanks paddle across the lagoon

The water was now turned a beautiful orange color as it reflected the sky above which was now a vivid orange.

Another golden visit to be had at a brilliant reserve.

Dusk at Priors Lagoon


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