A chilly wind at Goldcliff

 Despite their recently being a real feel of spring in the air with a couple of days of nice sunshine winter was back with a vengeance on Saturday at Goldcliff.

I stood at the crack of dawn on Goldcliff Seawall staring up at very ominous dark clouds, eyes watering from the chilly wind sweeping across the estuary and I was really undecided whether to pack away my drone and camera gear as things did not look promising. I think it was the one of the bleakest sunrise photo shoots I have done in a while.

However there was an orange glow behind the wall of clouds and a tantalising gap appeared just where the sun was due to pop up.

Goldcliff Lagoons

Severn Estuary from Goldcliff Seawall

I put my drone up about twenty minutes before the sun was due to rise. The blanket of cloud over the levels was turning a weird grey/violet colour which looked quite interesting but I had to take some longish exposures as there was not a great deal of light.

Fortunately the wind was not that string but nevertheless it seemed to seep into my bones and my hands were frozen.

I landed the drone as I had more or less given up on the sun putting in an appearance and just as I was about to pack up and go up it came in the only gap in the clouds. Its amazing how the light then changes. The gloom of the backlit grey/violet clouds was burnt away by the golden glow of a new dawn.


I quickly out the drone back up again

The sun did not stay for long and within a couple of minutes it rose behind the next layer of clouds and was hidden from view.

Now it was time for me to pack up and walk briskly back to the car and head for the lagoons to do some birdwatching.

I was one of the first people to arrive on the reserve. The pools were relatively quiet. A male Marsh Harrier was quartering around the boundary of the reserve and the Saltmarsh.

There was a flock of Lapwings and a variety of ducks on Monks but not much else. A couple of Curlews flew over the reserve but did not settle.


I ended up sat in Hide 2 for a while and caught up with a number of my birding pals. A Pintail Duck was picked out amongst the flock of Shovelers, Teal , Mallard and Wigeon which was one of the highlights of the day on the wildfowl front.


The Dartford Warbler did not show itself in the brambles but the bushes were teeming with small little brown jobs. We saw Chiffchaffs, Wrens, Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits, Robins and Stonechats.

A number of them perched up on the fence line to pose for a photograph.

Female Reed Bunting

Males Reed Bunting

Meadow Pipit


My highlight of the day was seeing a flock of about two hundred Dunlins come flying into the reserve at high-tide. The flock zoomed around Monks Lagoon but never settled. It was good to get some nice flock shots of them passing Hide 2.

Dunlin flock

Zooming by Hide 2 go the Dunlins.


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