• 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…

  • Blog

    All A Flutter

    On a spring day when the sun is winning the fight against the still very wintery feeling showers, there’s nothing better than getting outside, filling yourself with all those feel good endorphins and witnessing some nature magic. I headed over to Parc Slip Nature Reserve near Bridgend to see what a bright April day could conjure up for me. After an hour or so looking for secretive adders basking in the scrub in the morning sun with no success, this dazzling orange Comma butterfly was a welcome relief to my fruitless search! Commas hibernate over the winter and use the amazing patterns on their wings to blend in with dead…

  • 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

    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…

  • 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…

  • Oxeye Daisy
    Blog,  Get Involved

    7 Affordable Ways To Go Green in 2019

    2019 is the year we go green! In 2018 climate change headlines, mass extinctions, rainforest loss and image of plastic choking our oceans dominated the media. Sometimes it feels like we are all hopeless against the monster corporations which push this greedy pillaging of our natural resources. That’s how they want us to feel. For too long environmentally friendly options have been a middle/upper class affair; expensive hessian totes, fancy bamboo containers, organic vegetable boxes that cost more than your weekly shop. But now there are ways that everyone can get involved in an accessible and affordable green revolution! Here are my 7 goals for 2019 to make my year,…

  • 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…