I sometimes wonder who reads this frequent (recently in frequent) narrative of my nature rambles. But to the small collective of individuals who do, you will have picked up that one of my regular winter venues is the nice comfortable environs of the Riverfront in the heart of urban Newport. Comfort of course is subjective as anyone encountering the wind whipping up this part of the River Usk on a January morning will question this assertion. However refuge from the biting wind can be obtained by using the convenient Sunday morning free car parking status of the Riverfront car park, that is until recently. It now seems Newport City Council has introduced a new £2 car parking tariff. This of course is blatant opportunism as the said parking facility is opposite the Friars Walk shopping emporium. Local authorities tend to get excited at the prospect of generating additional income to a point where nothing else matters but the money. I'd be surprised if any consideration was given to the wider well-being benefits of free Sunday morning car parking for those, like myself, who wish to enjoy the riverside walk rather than shopping for cherry red lip gloss. Not to be deterred by this punative penalty on non-shoppers and now displaced to parking in a nearby residential area, I made my first visit to this site last weekend.
I blame it on the unpredictable biorhythms of the male menopause in not sorting out the tide times and arrived at high tide which is not best for birding. But to my surprise a party of 40 or more redshank were squeezed onto a small patch of exposed inter-tidal mud. A few images were obtained before all birds took flight disappearing down the river and out of sight. As a muddy fringe of a falling tide started to appear so did the gulls, but there was little to dwell on save of a metal ringed black headed gull. This bird only stayed briefly but appeared to be carrying a Lithuanian ring.