• 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…

  • Tufted Duck
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Total Eclipse

    You might have noticed over the last month or so the birds are looking, well, a little lacklustre. Science tells us that is because most of the birds who breed here in the UK moult late summer, ready to grow strong, new feathers ready for the rest of the year. But for certain water birds, they have a special type of moult – and this is called the ‘eclipse’. I had a wander down at the Cardiff Bay wetlands to see who was about, and noticed that the resident tufted ducks there were displaying their eclipse plumage. They had lost their tuft, and the males, normally with a shiny black…

  • Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Wagtails and Cobwebs

    A quick stroll around Roath Park never fails to provide something of interest, whether it’s watching the mute swans gracefully floating by, or watching the greylag geese chasing round unsuspecting members of the public. But it’s also a great place to see smaller birds, and is host to a pair of resident Grey Wagtails. These little birds are full of character, with business on top with their grey upper parts, and party on the bottom with their luminous yellow under parts. In Cardiff we often see a lot of their relatives, the pied wagtails which are their black and white cousins, and they both share the same inquisitive but skittish…

  • Dunes at Kenfig Nature Reserve
    Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    Wandering The Dunes

    I went for a meander through the dunes at Kenfig Nature Reserve on a dull, early autumn day, about half an hours drive outside of Cardiff, to see if I could spot any migrating birds making their journeys north or south as we near the end of summer. But also just as an excuse to explore the dunes, stretch my legs and see what wildlife had to say. We got there in the middle of the day and spotted a handful of birds out and about –  a kestrel (I think!) hovering in the distance above the dunes, flitting from one spot to the next. There were also juvenile goldfinch…

  • Cardiff Bay
    30 Days Wild 2018,  Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    #30DaysWild Day 29/30 – My How You’ve Grown

    My 30 Days Wild challenge has been a whirlwind tour of Cardiff’s feathery, creepy and totally wild residents, and it’s only fitting on the last few days I’ve seen a few of them all grown up! As well as myself growing through the things I’ve learnt, it seems the wildlife has been at it too. The last 2 evenings I spent in Cardiff Bay, seemingly the only place in Cardiff left with a breeze that can cool us all off in this heatwave! The bay itself was still and the skies have been clear blue, with the odd gull floating past on the absolute god send of a breeze. I…

  • Cygnet
    30 Days Wild 2018,  Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    #30DaysWild Day 25-28 – I Got Sunshine

    Another busy week and another wildly sunny week! The sunshine has well and truly signalled the beginning of summer – the swifts are screaming, the fledgling chicks of spring are beginning to fly and the air is full of insect life. In Cardiff, temperatures have been soaring to around 30 degrees daily, proving a challenge to the residents, wild and human! On a recent walk through the Howardian Nature Reserve I noticed the small brook had nearly completely dried up, and the wild flower meadows have taken the brunt of the relentless sun, with flowers struggling to get the water we all need in this weather! But there is plenty…

  • Mallard Duckling on a Lily Pad
    30 Days Wild 2018,  Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    #30DaysWild Day 23/24 – Forest Farm

    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…

  • Pyramidal orchid
    30 Days Wild 2018,  Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    #30DaysWild Day 21/22 – Orchid You Not

    In true 30 Days Wild style, I have been delving further into the guidebooks to identify more plants and wildflowers I may have previously overlooked or misunderstood – and you guessed it, it’s involved a lot of orchids! I’ve definitely been hooked on finding out more about our native flowers. I feel like it’s my way of repaying the wildflower Gods after spending most of my life just referring to flowers as ‘that’s a nice flower’ and maybe instagramming it. They deserve so much more attention! They’re literally life givers and they do it in the most amazing ways, and looking fabulous whilst doing it. This week saw my first…

  • Female House Sparrow
    30 Days Wild 2018,  Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    #30DaysWild Day 20 – House Sparrows

    The cheeky house sparrow is in trouble, with populations declining by over 60% in towns and cities in the last 40 years. This catastrophic drop has moved our old friend onto the red conservation list – meaning it is a species of high conservation concern. Research is being done to figure out just why the population is in this downward trend – some suggest that pollution in towns is affecting their ability to source insects to feed their chicks, some suggest a loss of habitat due to agricultural changes. Today I decided to spend some time in my garden watching them on the feeder and hovering on the grass looking…