I finally managed to catch up with a bird that has been a little elusive for me over the years, the only other sighting I had was at Dinas some four years ago and that could only be described as a glimpse.
This time I was able to fully appreciate the stunning and complex markings that this rather strange looking bird posses. The wryneck would be descrided as a rare autumn migrant in these parts with small numbers passing through every year. The bird was at the far end of the Newport Wetlands Reserve towards Goldcliff, which I moved on to after a couple of hours.
Here I caught up with a small flock of around 20 yellow wagtails in amongst our three hirudines, their almost iridescent yellow plumage richening as the sun dipped. It was a high tide and the estuary was as calm as I’ve seen and two porpoises were moving up with the tide. Goldcliff pools held a flock of 60 black-tailed godwits along with three greenshank. As the sun dipped over the steelworks at Newport a microlight passed no more than 50 or so feet above us, much to the annoyance of one of the RSPB wardens who was doing a wader count. The flying noise machine brought everything up from the pools and left them bereft of any birdlife at all. Over such places there is a low flying limit of 500 feet and it’s obvious to see why.
A flock of canada geese rose from the Usk just prior to the microlight’s disturbing pass and flew across the skyline against an ever deepening red backdrop. Finally there was a sense that autumn had finally arrived as the fields around the reserves begin to fill with a low ground mist.