Bat Walk

A couple of weeks ago we went for a late walk and saw bats.  Back when we lived in London we used to see them whizzing around at dusk down by the river – they’re really easy to confuse with a small bird and the first time that Sunny saw one he thought it was a demented sparrow 🙂  They’re far more common than you might think!

Nana-nana-nana-nana…!  I can’t take credit for the bat-snaps.  After ten minutes of trying to capture one flitting around overhead (they’re so fast!) I shoved the camera at Sunny and went off in a strop.  He had far more luck (and patience!) than I had! 🙂

If you’re in Cardiff and you’d like to go and see bats but you’re not sure where to look, St Fagans are actually running Bat Walks throughout August, and I’ve been told they’re really good 🙂

My Friend the Crow

Sometimes I get caught up in baking something new but then lose my appetite straight after for whatever it is that I’ve made (Does anyone else get that?  Cook’s Curse, I guess…).  Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I made a loaf of banana bread that sat out on the kitchen counter for a few days half eaten.  In the end I decided that maybe the birds would like to try it instead, so I broke it up and threw it out into the garden.  A crow was first on the scene and I watched closely as he gobbled up a few pieces and then picked up the rest in his beak and flew away.

So my friendship with the crow began.  He comes back everyday for breakfast and will often just sit up in the tree watching us hang out in the kitchen.  I called him Ragnar (I’m a little obsessed with the TV show Vikings, don’t cha know?).  I hide bits of food under an old coconut half just for him, and he’s clever enough to flip it over with his beak, take the food and then flip it back. 🙂

Forest Farm

Here’s another place I had no idea existed until recently when I stumbled across Geraint Parry’s Instagram account (which is full of the most gorgeous pictures of Owls and Kingfishers).  Forest Farm is wedged somewhere between the busy Coryton Interchange, Whichurch and ASDA and seems to be Cardiff’s best kept secret when it comes to spotting wildlife.  The entrance is so well hidden that we drove past it twice without even realising – but we were so glad when we finally found the path 🙂

Despite being so close to the M4 it’s so quiet and still there; only the sound of the river and bird chatter (…and me whistling up at the trees pretending to be Katniss Everdeen…!) 
We saw lots of Robins… (….papped by hubs – can’t take credit for his sharp-shooting!)

Ever so often you’ll find a stump where someone has left a pile sunflower seeds or pellets, so taking a seat and snapping away at passing birds is very easy 🙂

Further along there are some huts looking out onto the waterway – the ideal spot to stake out Kingfisher apparently.  We didn’t see any though (too impatient!), just this chirpy looking mallard!

Newport Wetlands

Last week I went for a walk around Newport Wetlands and ended up getting lost.  And I don’t mean lost in the whimsical wandering sense, I mean, send out a frigging helicopter lost.  I had no idea that the RSPB Wetlands Walk turned into the Wales Coast Path and somewhere past the lighthouse I took a wrong turning and… well, I wandered a couple of miles towards the Severn Bridge without realising.  Oops.  The path became very quiet, very suddenly (what happened to all those “Bird People” with the hats and the binoculars?) and I had to jump a few fences to find my way back.  I got there in the end though and dragged my muddy boots into the RSPB cafe for tea and cake.

The path from the RSPB centre leads through fields of reeds and waterways.  It was so still and quiet when I was there, with the occasional bird chatter coming from somewhere inside the forest of reeds 🙂

Here’s where I took a wrong turning; instead of going back through the woods, I jumped onto the Wales Coast Path and walked off in the wrong direction…!

The RSPB cafe is probably the best place to watch the birds; i.e. in the warm with a hot drink!  It’s right on one of the wetland ponds with plenty of bird feeders placed along the window so you can sit and watch 🙂