Highlights of 2019
I have seen a total of 179 species. That magic 200 remains just that little bit out of reach for me. I saw 118 species at Goldcliff Lagoons alone which I thought was pretty good.
This year I invested an enormous amount of time and effort at Goldcliff Lagoons and it was great to present my photographic study of the reserve to Gwent Ornithological Society and Gloucester Birders in the Autumn. I was flattered to have a number of my good friends at the GOS talk and the fact that they took time away from their busy lives to support me was great.
I was very fortunate that several of the away trips I had this year resulted in me accumulating 33 "lifers", which I think I will struggle to ever achieve again.
I've decided to pick out some of my most memorable highlights from some of the best parts of my birdwatching year and produce somewhat of a top ten, in no particular order. Its been hard deciding what really stood out this year. I have challenged myself to only use one picture to illustrate each.
1. Glossy IbisMy Goldcliff Lagoons bird of the year had to be the Glossy Ibis. I first saw "Flossy" the Glossy Ibis on the 20/1/2019. I had arrived at the lagoon at dawn on a particularly cloudy and miserable morning. As I passed Priors Lagoon out of the reedbeds where it had been roosting it rose into the sky. I had never seen a Glossy Ibis before this and was quite taken aback when I saw it. So were most of the feathered residents of the lagoons as they were similarly shocked and thought it was some kind of large predator and there was a huge commotion of frantic birds in flight fearing the worst. This sighting would be the first of many. To this day "Flossy" has remained a "resident" to the lagoons and Newport Wetland reserve area in general. Next month will be its anniversary.
|One of my favorite pictures I took this year. In the early morning sun Flossy glided from Priors Lagoon over Monks Lagoon to produce a fantastic reflection.|
|This was the first time I had been able to get close to a Bearded Tit for a photograph. Their metallic sounding contact calls are a giveaway.|
3. Skomer Island
|Composite picture I took from the Dale Princess Boat. As you can see it was quite rough.Thousands of Manx Shearwaters.|
|The wait is always worth it. My view from Goldcliff's sea wall looking towards the Prince of Wales Bridge.|
5. Badger Watching
|Simply - amazing experience.|
6. Hen Harrier
|My first sighting and photograph of a "Ringtail" Harrier. A much-oppressed species of bird and a rare sight.|
|Whilst in the Zeiss Hide we watched a pair of Bitterns hunting in the reed bed. This one caught a Perch and swallowed it whole.|
8. Steart Marshes
|Peregrine Falcon in action. It turned in front of me. It was so close I could barely focus on it.|
9. Waders in Flight
|Black-Tailed Godwits and Knot in spring at Goldcliff Lagoons. This is what gets me up early in the morning and brings me back again and again to the lagoons.|
|There is nothing better than to end the day watching the sun go down. The sunsets on the horizon lighting up Monks Lagoon at Goldcliff an amazing color. All of it framed by the Redshank Platform.|