• Long Tail Tit Forest Farm Cardiff
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    30 Days Wild – Going Wild In Your City

    It’s the season to get wild! Yes it’s that time of year, The Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild! For every day in June we’re invited to take a walk on the wild side, and to spend one extra moment to really notice who we share our neighbourhoods with. Last year’s highlights for me were discovering the sheer amount of wildlife in the city (spoiler alert, there’s loads!), and getting to know the characters who I share my back garden with. I had a ridiculous amount of fun and learnt things which stick with me today, so of course I’m here to do it again! Concrete Jungle Sometimes it can seem…

  • Goldfinch
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Charming Goldfinch

    Listening to birdsong out of your window can give you a pretty good idea of which birds you share your neighbourhood with. On a typical day on my street I’ve got various gulls yelling at each other on the industrial estate, feral and wood pigeons lazily cooing from the rooftops, and the bickering of house sparrows and starlings from the trees and hedgerows. One of the songs I often hear but don’t see the artist behind is the goldfinch. They are little showstoppers with their bright red and yellow feathers which jazz up even the greyest of urban gardens.Goldfinch have a guinea pig-esque chattering song as they bob through the…

  • Wood Anemone
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Little Spring Things

    The arrival of spring is like waiting for a bus. Firstly the signs are small, few and far between. The odd bird call and a feisty primrose fighting against the chilly showers and cold snaps. But all of a sudden everything seems to arrive at once. The trees and hedges are bursting with colour, you can literally hear them buzzing with new life! During this time it pays to notice the smaller things, before the real riot that is summer begins! This week at the Howardian Nature Reserve I did just that, nosing through the undergrowth to see who was about. In the shade of the trees forget-me-not stands out…

  • Frogspawn
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Spawn to be Wild

    Everyone has something they get excited about to signal the first signs of spring. For some, it’s primroses and daffs, their cheery yellow flowers a sure sign that the coldest weather has passed. For others, it’s the volume being cranked up to 11 in the dawn chorus on the way to work as the mornings get brighter. But for our ponds, it’s the arrival of frogspawn! The warmer weather we’ve had has triggered amphibians like common frogs to get in the mood for lurrve, with toads, newts and frogs waking up from winter slumber to head to ponds where they have previously spawned. For some this means navigating our human…

  • Shelduck at Roath Park, Cardiff
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Shelduck In The City

    The tree lined Victorian boating lake in Roath Park is home to some of our most familiar faces – mute swans, Canada geese, greylag geese and more mallards than you can shake a stick at (very carefully, from a distance, without disturbing them!). It also provides a rest spot for those passing by on the way to their preferred hangouts. Last year it was the elusive red necked grebe from eastern Europe, and this month it’s been home to a much less rare bird, but still an uncommon visitor to the city centre, the shelduck. Shelduck are one of our biggest ducks in the UK, just a bit bigger than…

  • Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Grebe-y Guts

    The Cardiff Bay Wetlands reserve is a great place to watch wild birds minutes from the city centre, including one of our cities more flamboyant characters, the Great Crested Grebe. During spring and summer these waterbirds develop ravishing rusty red plumage on their heads as part of an elaborate courtship ritual. They dance in the water and fluff up their head feathers to make themselves look as fabulous as possible. But during winter it’s more of a subdued affair. Not needing their best get up, they opt for a monochrome palette, but are still identifiable from other grebe type birds by their long pointed beak, white neck and black head…

  • Grey Wagtail Cardiff
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Blown Off Course

    If there is one thing that is predictable in Cardiff, it’s that it is completely unpredictable! This week proved that again, when I noticed a new wild arrival in my neighbours back garden here in the heart of the city. Following from weeks of turbulent weather and storms, a little grey wagtail had found itself blown into the urban sprawl of Tremorfa – a housing estate situated by busy industrial estates. Grey wagtails are normally found by rivers and waterways, where they use shallow water to find insects to eat – a far cry from suburbia! These slate and lemon yellow birds are considered red listed, meaning that they have…

  • Kingfisher at Forest Farm Cardiff
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Blue Of The Undercut Bank

    On one of the last days that truly felt like Autumn in late October, I found myself wandering the leaf lined trails in the Forest Farm Nature Reserve. Whenever I visit it’s always tantalisingly full of my favourite woodland birds – chaffinches, blue tits, nuthatches, treecreepers, the list goes on. But one bird has always evaded my infrequent visits – the infamous Kingfisher. In Welsh it’s name is ‘glas y dorlan’ which (according to my sources!) means ‘blue of the undercut bank’ – illustrating it’s electric blue feathers and preference for our waterways. I’ve always had a fondness for them, some hazy memories from my childhood remembering them dashing along…

  • Red Necked Grebe Cardiff
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    A Wild Guest

    Quite often we associate rarer species of wildlife with nature reserves – some of the last remaining refuges for our wildlife, far away from ‘the real world’. But just recently a visitor from eastern Europe took Cardiff by surprise, calling Roath Park lake it’s home away from home! This is the red necked grebe, experts suggest it’s a juvenile as it doesn’t quite have it’s striking plumage that the adults have. The RSPB suggest that only around 50 of these birds arrive in the UK for the winter, such a tiny amount compared to the 20,000 UK great crested grebes which we are much more used to seeing here in…

  • Cormorant
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Curious Cormorants

    There’s something other-worldly about our coastal neighbour the cormorant. Something a bit dragon-esque. Their iridescent scale-like feathers flash against the autumn sun in bright purples and greens, and their piercing green eyes staring out along the Taff down a hooked beak. These prehistoric looking birds appear inland during Autumn and Winter, heading out to coastal regions during the Spring/Summer for breeding – so here in Cardiff we get the best of both worlds. During this time of year they can be seen flying and swimming up and down our rivers, in small groups or alone. I’ve been spotting them in Grangetown resting on the small dock area south of the…