The sun is finally fighting against the grey clouds which have been become part of the furniture of Cardiff’s skyline for the last few months, which means that spring is finally underway. And no snow to stop it this time!
Nowhere does this show better than along the Forest Farm Nature Reserve in Radyr, North Cardiff. Sandwiched between the River Taff and the Glamorganshire Canal, it’s a haven for waders and wetland wildlife, as well as the flora and fauna who call the established woodlands it’s home. The sunshine has given everything who calls the reserve it’s home a renewed energy to get busy during the important spring season!
Water Water Everywhere
Whilst I meandered along the tracks that went between the bird hides and the canal, I spotted a few familiar faces from the inner city, notably the vocal Great Tits, Blackbirds and Robins. But the perks of going to a reserve surrounded by so much valuable habitat meant I got to find a few more picky residents, who love the quiet life in the reserve.
This Grey Heron was wading through one of the quieter ponds that was nestled between woodland and the canal, a perfect place for small fish and frogs – dinner! Further along in one of the bird hides I spotted a moorhen collecting nesting materials and busily taking them back into the reeds. One of the birdwatchers there had spotted their chicks the day after, so I’ll definitely need to pop by again to see the new arrivals!
Spring has Sprung
As I got closer to the canal and further into the woodland there was a sudden influx of colour, as wildflower peppered the fresh green verges. Bees were drunkenly bumbling between the blooms like they’d been on a rowdy night out in the diff. And then an overwhelming smell of garlic hit me as I wandered past a large, lush patch of wild garlic, aka Ramsons. I collected some in my bag to make pesto with later, taking only what I needed. A tasty bonus!
And of course, it would be spring without two other spring-time characters – the fluffy bunny and the butterfly! I spotted my first Brimstone butterfly of the year here, with it’s leaf mimicking wings and bright flash of lime-yellow as it fluttered through the green of the woods. It’s so important we leave our flowering weeds unpicked during this time before the main summer flowering of plants. They’re such an important food source for our early butterflies and bees. This one was tucking into a Calendine’s pollen.
I’ll be following this up with a run through of the birds I saw, a few of which were my ‘first of the year’ (Gawd I’m turning into one of those people…). I just had too much of a good time there to settle for one post! Keep an eye on my Wild Cardiff pages for more!