Watching the sun go down at Goldcliff

The sun begins to set over the estuary

I have had a busy last few days. Saturday I had a great evening presenting my talk about Goldcliff Lagoons to Gwent Ornithological Society. It was brilliant to have lots of support from some of my friends and a great audience. It really gave me a boost after all the preparation I had put into it.

On Tuesday I traveled to Cheltenham and presented the same talk to Cheltenham Bird Club and had a lovely warm welcome and they all seemed to really enjoy it.

Spreading the love of the reserve at Cheltenham

In between it all I have been busy with work and family stuff so by this evening I really needed a break to chill out and where better to go than my favorite place.

For a change, the weather was nice today. No rain and some blue skies. The reserve was quiet waterlogged and the lagoons are full to the brim. Great for ducks but not any good for waders.

As I strolled around the reserve I noticed that the hedgerows are covered in berries. The Hawthorns and Sloe have a bounty of fruit and I am really looking forward to seeing them being eaten by the Redwings and Fieldfare. There are already reports of people seeing or hearing Redwings on the levels.

The lagoons were generally quiet. Priors Lagoon was full of Swans. 20 Mute Swans and 1 Black Swan I counted. I had a good look at them all as one of the local birders saw a Whooper Swan yesterday.

I watched a big flock of Canada Geese descend from the skies landing on Becs. They seem to be growing in numbers again.

Other than the geese there was not that much to shout about really.

I had a chat in the Seawall Hide for a while. The Kestrel had been showing earlier and a photographer had enjoyed taking some nice pics. It's amazing how nature repeats itself in cycles as last year almost to the day the Kestrel was showing the same way.

One of Goldcliffs statuesque Peregrines was perched on Becs Island. As usual, it had been there for hours.

Statuesque Peregrine

The skies were getting cloudy but there was a chance for some nice scenic photography to be had so I decided to go and stand up on the wall and watch the sun go down and relax.

From the wall I could see the tide had turned and it was on its way in. Skirting waters edge towards to the pill were waders. Curlews, Oystercatchers, Black Tailed Godwits and possibly some knot although they were a little distant to be absolutely sure.

On the horizon, the clouds had built up substantially so there would be no perfect sunset but it would look quite dramatic and interesting.

Golden Mud

A helicopter interrupted the scene and caused a big flock of Canada Geese to noisily erupt up from their roosts on the mud into the sky. They circled until it passed and then headed off to the Saltmarsh.

Flock of Canadian Geese

Curlews fly-in

The setting sun peeks out from behind the clouds

 The sun then disappeared behind a wall of clouds. It did its best to put on a show but in the end is vanished from sight.

Whilst talking to one of my birding mates a Kestrel flew by just beyond the wall. I managed to grab a quick picture.

The kestrel departs the reserve to roost for the night

It had been a quiet evening but the fresh air and a bit of wind had swept the cobwebs away and I felt refreshed once again.


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