• 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

    My Big Garden Birdwatch 2019

    Just as January’s chill begins to take hold over the UK, citizen scientists all over the UK kitted in pyjamas and armed with cups of tea and biscuits, took to their windows to take part in the UK’s biggest science projects in the UK – of course I’m talking about the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch! Every year a huge cross section of society gets stuck in to help our wildlife, by recording the amount of different birds which visit your garden in one hour. This year the RSPB celebrated 40 years of this project, and in those 40 years they have collected data which has been hugely important in protecting…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…