• 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…

  • 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…

  • Little Owl
    Blog

    A Little Peek at a Little Owl

    If you head to the Gwent Levels over winter, you’ll find the patchwork of reed beds swaying in bronze against a grey sky, maybe a blue one if you’re lucky! Home to countless numbers of wildlife species who depend on this unique habitat, from humble but rare bumblebees to majestic birds of prey, it’s a treat to visit any time of year. I visited the RSPB Newport Wetlands on a dry and sunny day to start the year off the way I meant to go on, with a good walk with my girlfriend along the welsh coast and some fresh sea air. You just can’t go wrong! There was plenty…

  • 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…

  • Blog

    The Red Squirrel Café

    A reoccurring theme in my wildlife diaries is finding the unexpected in places that you just couldn’t predict. Rare water birds in city centre parks, swifts in housing estates, new visitors to a city back garden. But sometimes the surprise comes from the fact that you’d let your guard down, focused on something really ordinary, and out of the blue you get to experience something special. Whilst visiting my family who have recently moved to the Isle of Wight, we headed out for lunch at The Garlic Farm, a farm shop and cafe, set in their surrounding farmlands. I was in my own world, surrounded by family and about to…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Blog,  Wild Cardiff

    5 Spots to Enjoy A Wild Autumn in Cardiff

    The nights are drawing in, there’s crisp breeze in the air – it must be autumn! This is the season of change, and our wildlife sure knows how to put on a show in this time of year. The leaves are starting to fall and our green spaces are suddenly busy with a flurry of activity from our wild neighbours. But where is best to watch this seasonal show in our little city? Here’s a few of my favourite spots which take in all that autumn has to offer, whether it’s wildlife, atmosphere or crunchy fallen leaves. And all accessable via Cardiff Bus for the budget and time conscious! Forest…