• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…