Friday, November 30, 2007

Cardiff has wildlife

The report of water rail was enough to drag me to the wilds of north Cardiff. The Glamorganshire Canal nature reserve is a part of a bigger country park, and proved to be a pleasant enough place - wander along the canal on your right, with a small river on your left, a couple of bird hides and a feeding station - it all seemed promising.
It was particularly nice to find a spot with lots of moorhen and no coot squabbling away.

Down at the hide another moorhen was doing a black grouse impersonation in the sunshine (yes - real sun - in some places!), ..........
whilst the mallards and kingfishers glowed.Annoyingly the kingfishers would perch quite near the hide, but always took their fish further afield - good views, but not photos - at least not at 600 pixels!
Several jay joined the usual birds at the feeding station, ..........but sadly the water rail were largely conspicuous by their noisy calls, rather than views. I did get some glimpses on the far side of the pool, though, and when I first walked into the hide I found a rail was swimming in open water - a first for me. The light was poor and my shot rushed, to catch it before it reached dry land, but you can see what I mean.
Definitely worth another go, even the hassle of all those roadworks on the M4. The final bonus (well a bit of a mixed bonus really) was some pretty good views of a mink. It was down on the river bank at first, right below my feet so I saw it well, but the vegetation made any pictures impossible. When it crossed over it to the other bank I managed one quick snap though.

Next time I'll try and have a look for those dippers as well.

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