Newport Wetlands Centretop
This reserve to the south east of Newport is an ecological gem which was founded in March 2000 to compensate for the loss of mudflats at the Cardiff Bay Barrage.
Its 438 hectares cover salt marsh, reed beds, saline lagoons, wet grassland, and scrub, all providing good habitats for a range of species, especially wetland birds.
The water levels here are carefully regulated to ensure the saline lagoons get enough sea water. As the sea water floods in, so do the fish and prawns which provide a great source of food for heron, avocet and little egret.
These species include lapwing, redshank, water rail, skylark, linnet, reed bunting, shoveler, pintail ducks, teal, wigeon, black-tailed godwit, little grebe, knot, dunlin, curlew, whimbrel, lapwing, water rail, cetti's warbler and bittern in the winter time.
The reserve is now one of the best sites in Wales for seeing little egret which now live here all year round feeding on the prawns and fish found in the lagoons.
Some more occasional bird visitors include marsh harriers, bitterns and rare nesting bearded tits during the summer.
Newport Wetlands also provides habitats for hares, water voles, otters and great crested newts.
An aerial view over the Wetlands Centre
The new Environmental Education and Visitor Centre opened in March 2008 and hosts regular activities for kids. There is also an outdoor play area for children on site - something not usually found at RSPB sites.
BBC Wales Nature visited the Wetlands Centre in March 2010 - read the blog.
Newport Wetlands Reserve
West Nash Road
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