#30DaysWild Day 23/24 – Forest Farm

Mallard Duckling on a Lily Pad

I’m a wee bit behind on my 30 Days Wild blogging again! But it’s definitely not for lack of content, after a lovely wander through Forest Farm along the Glamorganshire Canal Nature Reserves last weekend with friends. Because when you’re birdwatching and want to share your excitement for something you’ve seen – it helps to have a friend about!

The days have been long and hot, which has been proving a tough time for our wildlife. Small streams and ponds have dried up, the sun itself is proving to be harsh and unforgiving on plants and wildlife. There is some shelter in the woods though, and along the rivers, so it was nice to hear bird song during the day as we were meandering along the paths in Forest Farm.

Jay
Jay

Whilst sat in the first of the few hides, a jay came along to make the most of the seed left out by previous birders before us, sharing begrudgingly with an over confident squirrel who was definitely onto a good thing. The ponds the hide looked over were still and empty for the most part, with the occassional moor hen chick venturing out of the reeds before hurrying back in again.

But before we were about to move on, a sudden flash skimming over the pond and straight into the reads caught our eye. Waiting patiently we were met with the chicks and adult of a warbler, and what I believe is a reed warbler from it’s behaviours. Both the fledglings and the adult were grasping the reeds and flitting between them catching small insects and the occasional damselfly.

Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler

The chicks were calling for their food just like any other fledgling would – noisily and consistently! They blended in so well with the reeds it was hard to know where to look for them when they weren’t moving. You can identify most warblers from their melodic song, and a lot of the brown warblers have a pale streak over their brow. But there are many, many different types – if you’re unsure of what you’ve found, it’s best to consult a guidebook!

Reed Warbler Chicks
Reed Warbler Chicks

We left and made our way to another hide, this time in an open pond area with plenty of wildflower which was attracting all kinds of creepy crawlies. This in turn attracted a rather raucous family of great tits. A mix of adults and fledglings, they were a confident bunch and we got really up close to some of them, including one which seemed to have mites from the nest. After a quick google it does seem like they do alright in the end – even if they look a bit concerning!

Great Tit with Mites
Great Tit with Mites
Great Tit
Great Tit

The hides lead along to the Glamorganshire Canal, a historic canal which is now a nature reserve in it’s own right, surrounded by hills full of trees and wildflower. The sun was peeking through as dappled shade, and it felt much cooler than the concrete paved city centre. A mallard mum was taking her very fresh brood out on the water, with ducklings so tiny they had to run over lily pads as they weren’t heavy enough to swim amongst them – adorable!

Mallard Duckling on a Lily Pad
Mallard Duckling on a Lily Pad

A few other notable spots were a red listed song thrush, singing high at the tops of the trees,

and a family of robins who were busying themselves amongst the lower canopies. Finally on our way over the bridge to catch the bus back home, a grey wagtail who was spotted along the side of the River Taff. Doing it’s classic behaviour of hopping and bopping along the shallows, looking for small insects.

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail

It was a really lovely day, and proves even on a relentlessly hot day when you feel like there is no escape from the heat, nature has your back. Another reason to protect our wild spaces.

Song Thrush
Song Thrush

Keep It Wild

Remember to keep track of the rest of my 30 Days Wild adventures here:

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