Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Even in the most hostile of environments

Rue-leaved saxifrage
Finding nature in an urban environment isn't everyone's idea of a day out, but with a keen eye and a willingness to search those forgotten corners, wildlife can be found. Previously my forays to urban Newport have been primarily for gulls and colour ring reading but with the numbers of birds dropping - all black-headed gull have now left - attention drifts to wider things. Last weekend it was noticeable some of those pavement weeds that residents and local authorities love to exterminate were starting to come into flower. The small white flowered common whitlowgrass was showing in abundance along the grey infrastructure near to Friars Walk. This is a widespread annual plant of urban areas that  I've also recorded in car parks in Brynmawr, Abersychan, Pontypool and Caldicot. Also around the Millennium Bridge in Newport were a number of rue-leaved saxifrage although recorded widely in the vice county its less plentiful.

Common whitlowgrass

Petty spurge

Back to the gulls and all of the birds alongside the falling tide of the River Usk were the larger Larus species and most will be local, breeding on the rooftops of urban Newport. Amongst about 70 or so  birds was a single great black-backed gull and an adult lesser black-backed gull with a white colour ring. After some investigation it appears this is a Spanish ringed bird. Interestingly I could not find a a standard metal ring on this bird. Although it could have been ringed on the tibia and therefore not visible.

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