One tends to get some strange looks walking about in public places with binoculars and camera. This weekend a number of people stopped to share their recent experiences of flooding and high spring tides as if my only purpose for peering over the Riverfront railings was to survey the impacts of a rising tide. When I have chance to break from this dialogue of nods and yeahs I explain that my interest is in wildlife and in the case of Newport Riverfront this means gulls - better known as seagulls to most people. This often has the affect of cutting the conversation stone dead or at least introducing an extended pause before they change tack to tell me about the local heron. Nonetheless I enjoy engaging with passers by as it gives me an opportunity return the boredom by enthusing about the wonders of the natural world, but you do meet some genuinely interesting people. Take for example a couple of weeks ago on a wet and windy afternoon off the beaten track in woodland near Talywain. The only person I saw was a local photographer who after exchanging pleasantries revealed he was related to Newport birder Carl Downing. Its a small watery world.
As you may have noticed I've got my eye in with Mediterranean gulls these days. No need to bother with the hit or miss access arrangements to scan the gull roost at Llandegfedd Reservoir as these birds are more frequent in accessible urban locations. Nonetheless the adult winter bird present on the River Usk outside the Riverfront Theater was the first for me at this location. Also kicking around the muddy margins was that multi-ringed redshank - still no BTO response to this bird!