The "Green Shovels" Display Team

"The Green Shovels" aerobatic  duck display team.

Goldcliff Lagoons was very wind swept this morning. The wind was whipping up something awful and my eyes were stinging and watering like mad as I tried to focus down the scope at the Snipe Platform. At times I had a job to stand up straight due to the force of the wind. Waves were pounding across Priors Lagoon as if we were on the edge of the estuary foreshore.

Many of the ducks were trying to keep their heads down hunkering around the edges of the lagoon or skirting the reeds. A small group of male Shoveler ducks and a single female had different ideas. They were very skittish and were constantly displaying to the female, occassionally fighting amongst themselves and then doing quick "jump and hop" flights across the water.

They then started taking off and doing quite impressive aerobatic display that would rival the Red Arrows RAF display team. Even in the incredibly strong gusty wind the "Green Shovels" as I started calling them (I love giving some of these ducks descriptive names) put on an amzing display of flightmanship. Whilst some may think ducks can be boring these webbed dabblers were anything but.

I hope some of my pictures do them justice.

Flypast with Celtic Manor in the distance.


The colours on the drakes are amazing

Elsewhere on the lagoons there was plenty too watch. I was suprised to see a small flock of eight Lapwings on Monks Lagoon. Hopefully this will be the start of the breeders beginning to visit the lagoons more frequently. The bredding season is not far away now.

The Lapwings were the only waders in sight. Even the foreshore was devoid of waders. This may have been down to a person walking their dog along the foreshore right next to the waters edge. I know that the tide was going out but if you ask me its dangerous to do that sort of thing. Fishermen I can understand as they know what they are doing but in general I would have thought its better to stay off the mud without good reason.

"Flossy" the Glossy Ibis was still about.The lagoons most famous resident was hiding down the reen channel between Becs and Priors keeping out of the wind.

Ducks were everywhere. The most numerous were Shovelers, Teal and Wigeon. In smaller numbers were Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard and Goldeneyes ( five female).

Coots were in good numbers and there was plenty of Canada Geese and Greylags.

There was a feel of Spring in the air despite the weather. I could hear Skylarks singing and blossom has already started flowering on a few trees and bushes.

The first Blossom

The lagoons remain very full and there must be plenty of fish as two Cormorants were on site.

On Becs perched up on the island was a very full looking Peregrine Falcon. I think this year they really have taken the predatory technique of "camping out / goal hanging" to a new level! They are almost permanently present on Monks orr Becs Island. I have only ever seen them move when taking a bird to eat and then they return to munch it on one of the islands.

If your planning a trip to the reserve make sure you bring wellies. The mud is horredous and its very slippery.


Very muddy at the Snipe Platform


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