The Natural Resources Wales (NRW) controls the Goldcliff lagoons.

Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve, Natural Resources Wales.

September 1st to November 22nd, 2018.

Management

Lack of rainfall this autumn has meant we've been raising the water levels on our wet-grassland using water from our large reedbed reservoir. This has been done using gravity for 4 of our "field-blocks" to a certain level before using our 6 inch diesel pumps to raise two of them to "minimum winter water level". It is very satisfying to see the almost instant improvement in numbers of wildfowl and waders using these wetted up fields. Contractors have dredged one side of our Transfer Ditch which stretches for 2.5km along the whole southern length of the wet-grassland. This will improve water flows, as well as improving the habitat. Contractors also cut and baled all the path and track verges at Uskmouth as well as half of our "meadow". Rush on the wet grassland was also topped and baled and then cut again a few weeks later.

In early October Richard Clarke and 7 other workers from the Welsh Revenue Authority, volunteered for an afternoon to help plant 100, pot grown holly saplings to act as a screening hedge at Goldcliff Lagoons.

Birds

The warm weather and lack of rain has led to relatively low numbers of wintering wetland birds during October, but this had increased by theWeBS count on 11th November. Wigeon - 911, teal - 274, shoveler - 87, lapwing - 382, curlew - 107 and redshank - 83. A water rail tape lure survey carried-out by Richard Clarke and Kevin Dupé, found 45 in October and 43 in mid-November. The pair of marsh harriers and one juvenile are still regularly seen and there have been frequent sightings of a bittern. The starling murmuration has been putting on some fantastic displays, often accompanied by marsh harriers, peregrines and sparrow-hawks.

Interesting sightings:

September - 4 curlew sandpiper, sanderling, 3 greenshank, 2 ruff, 120 ringed plover, red kite, 3 hobby, 20 yellow wagtails, yellow-legged gull, little stint, 4 cattle egret, 3 grey phalarope, 22 avocet;

October - little stint, curlew sandpiper, short-eared owl, spotted redshank, greenshank, 3 little stint, merlin, Baird's sandpiper, 8 greenshank, peregrine; November - Baird's sandpiper, pallid swift, green sandpiper, spotted redshank, short-eared owl, jack snipe and barn owl.

Other Wildlife

It is hoped to turn a dis-used brick hut at the end of the Monk's Ditch,Goldcliff into a bat roost. The hut housed controls for a redundant electronic tilting weir and was due to be demolished.

Kevin Dupé, Reserve Manager