Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Presidential Games...


No this is not a reference to any goings on in the US at the moment, It's more a comment about how much fun I have been having reading about and learning about the people who preceded me as President of the Cardiff Naturalists' (something I still consider to have been a great honour after many years)

I know I am reading about Victorian times and the way people looked at and thought about things was very different and you have to consider that some of t...he people who were appealing for great things to be done were also employers who expected hard work in unpleasant conditions. However to see amongst the former presidents the people who campaigned for things like the Free Library, Miners benevolent funds and for the establishment of many of the great institutions of the city I think shows people of vision


The list of pages with information about former presidents is growing at http://cardiffnaturalists.org.uk/htmfiles/150th-08.htm and I hope that some of the current members find this of interest.

Regards
Andy

Sunday, October 8, 2017

An Evening with Iolo Williams - Pictures from the evening


It was a SELL OUT ! and we had a wonderful time!

Even before the event it was clear that Iolo was a success with the crowd and he happily spent so much time having his picture taken that we had to ask some people to go directly in 


And it wasn't just the public who wanted a picture he made sure that the Museum warding staff felt welcome to pose for a picture


Once we did manage to get everyone to their seats, our president Chris Franks made the introductions and welcomed everyone to the event


It wasn't long before Iolo was entertaining us all with his tales of learning to tickle fish in his younger years

His explanations of how he had worked with the Gurka's and SAS on the protection of wild bird nests during his 15 years with the RSPB had the whole audience in raptures.


 And his tales of working with the television crews on many programs including springwatch (team in the background) were fascinating


Questions and Answers would have probably gone on all night had we permitted it !


but we had to bring things to a close with the drawing of our prize raffle (winner Judith Bradley collecting the first prize from Iolo)


After that we went into the main hall for the private reception for members.

Sorry if you have recently joined - we would have loved to have everyone through for that for everyone and new members included, but  it would have been cost prohibitive and we had to make that a member offer before the general ticket sales started

We did manage to get this picture of former and current presidents with Iolo.

From left to Right : - Steve Howe, Joan Andrews, Andy Kendall, Thomas Henry Thomas (statue of the 16th president created for the museum Dinosaur Babies exhibition), Linda Nottage, Iolo Williams, Patricia Wood, Chris Franks)


A good time was had by all...


Especially Chris ...


Friday, September 29, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

An Evening with Iolo Williams - Tickets On Sale Now

As part of the celebrations and in light of their close association with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, 

Cardiff Naturalists' Society are hosting 
“An Evening with Iolo Williams” 

in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre at the Museum in Cathays Park, Cardiff, at 7:00 pm on October 5th 2017.







Famous Welsh naturalist Iolo will be talking about a whole range of topics, including insights into the making of his many natural history programmes for television, as well as a taking a question and answer session.

A "must be there" event for anyone interested in wildlife and nature
There will be a special offer on membership for anyone who comes to the Lecture to be able to "trade in" their ticket for a year's free membership

Friday, September 22, 2017

Do you know of William Adams (1813-1886)?

I didn't until I was given a box of glass slides which were found in a Church that was being turned into a community center in Cardiff so from then on I knew what he looked like, but not a lot more

Here's a copy of that picture : -


I was aware of his name from the records and of course his name is recorded in the first edition of the Society transactions

When we started researching the history of the Society the fact he was a geologist interested me and I decided to look for some more information

Like many of our former members and presidents he seems to have been driven to do good works wherever he was.

This has now gone into the 150th Anniversary web site to support our exhibition at the Cardiff Story museum you can see the page here - http://cardiffnaturalists.org.uk/htmfiles/150th-11.htm






Monday, September 18, 2017

Dyffryn Gardens Arboretum

On Thursday 14 Sept, Cardiff Naturalists took a tour of the arboretum at Dyffryn Gardens with the new arboriculturist Rory Ambrose. Rory started work at National Trust Dyffryn Gardens in November 2016, bringing with him many years’ experience of working at Kew Gardens.

He told us of the National Trust’s five-year plan to restore the arboretum to its former glory as a “woodland garden”, with the clearance of overgrowth to let important trees flourish, a greater emphasis on parkland tree species, and better integration with the rest of the Edwardian gardens.

Systematic tree planting started at Dyffryn back in the mid-eighteenth century. Among the oldest ornamentals are the Lucombe oak on the Archery lawn, thought to be over 400 years’ old. Reginald Cory and Thomas Mawson developed and extended the gardens at Dyffryn between 1906 and 1930, including the tree collection in the form it is seen today. Unfortunately, there was a period of relative neglect for several decades, up to 1997 when Vale of Glamorgan Council purchased Dyffryn Gardens. The National Trust acquired the house and gardens in January 2013.

We started our walk by the visitor centre, stopping first at Kennel Bank to the left of the path to Dyffryn House. The heather beds established in the 1970s have now gone. This area is being prepared as a wild flower meadow, with some new areas of heather being replanted. Around 80,000 bulbs are to be planted on the bank, including 6,000 crocus bulbs of several varieties. The long-term aim is for a pastoral woodland landscape, which will include native orchids.

The 22-acre arboretum at Dyffryn is divided into 37 areas for the purposes of management. Rory explained that the plan was to concentrate on restoring 5 to 6 areas, such as the Kennel Bank, each year, “to do small areas really well rather than spreading ourselves too thinly”.

Walking up the path into the arboretum from here, we pass the first of many Champion Trees: an elm. The focus is on UK Champions: those trees that by virtue of their girth, height or distinctive characteristics are considered to be the best examples of their kind. One aim, in the next few years, is to establish a new Champion Tree trail, to guide visitors to these outstanding specimens.

Noting some of the characterful and quirky tree shapes, Rory noted the role of Victorian nurseries, where seedlings could become pot-bound before planting. “Today’s nurseries are too good,” jokes Rory, as they result in more uniform trees!

Unfortunately, some of the Champion Trees have suffered through insufficient woodland management. At least three UK Champions in the Crataegus (hawthorn) collection, for instance, have died amidst the overgrowth; the clearing of which is a major management challenge for Rory and his team.

Among the other UK Champion Trees pointed out by Rory were a magnificent hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’), and Dyffryn’s famous Acer griseum, grown from a seed bought back from Asia by the plant collector Ernest Henry ‘Chinese’ Wilson. This tree is now approaching the end of its life, and a barrier prevents people walking on its root plate. However, the main aim is to propagate a new tree from its seeds and plant it nearby, not an easy task as the germination rate is relatively low.

Rory showed us where he and his team are creating a natural play area from the timber of fallen mature trees. Nearby, and off limits to the public, a large concrete pad had recently been laid in the composting area. The plan is for Dyffryn Gardens to be 100% self-sufficient for green waste (compost and mulch) in the near future.

The tall yews that formed the boundary between the arboretum and the formal gardens have gone, opening up views and enabling the team to integrate the woodland area better with the gardens as a whole. Other plans for Dyffryn Gardens include the creation of a heritage orchard.

We looked at a particularly fine Metasequoia, near a delightful gourd tunnel in the walled gardens, before finishing at the Rock Garden – another area where there are plans for creating much more botanical interest within the next five years.

Back at the entrance, we thanked Rory for a highly informative and entertaining tour of the arboretum. I am sure we will all be returning to see how the National Trust’s ambitious plans transform this area back toward the vision of Dyffryn Garden’s original founders.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy Birthday from the RSPB

Many people have wished the society best wishes recently and we are very pleased to hear from them

Particularity nice  was this card from the RSPB Cymru Director, Katie-Jo Luxton with a wonderfully appropriate Red Kite on the cover

(I hope they don't mind me sharing- I would provide a link, but I cannot find it in their shop)


Such a nice dedication to the Society 


Here and Here  are some articles about the issues that were witnessed by the CNS in the 1880's and the efforts that the Society went to in order to get the protection of birds legislation actually enforced

It was said that Morrey Salmon knew the location of all the Rad Kite nests when they were at their minimum and I am sure that Iolo Williams who is speaking to us on 5th of October will have some tales to tell of looking at this wonderful bird so much associated with Wales


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Cardiff Free Library - Our First Home

When the Cardiff naturalists Society was formed in 1867 a meeting place was needed and this is recorded in the minute book, (a section of which has been put on-line by the Glamorgan Archives team) as being in the Cardiff Free Library
The first reference to a ‘Society’ was in August 1867 with the note of …the preliminary meeting of the members of the projected ‘Naturalists’ Society’ held in the upper room of the Free Library… on 29 August 1867. Chaired by William Taylor, Esq, MD and attended by 11 in total
When this and other information about the first 150 years was presented to the society last night there was a question from the audience as to whether this was the "Old Library" now home to the Cardiff Story Museum

The simple answer is that it could not have been as that was built between 1880 and 1882 and opened by the Mayor on the 31st May 1882. It did then house a free library, museum and schools for science and art. which will most certainly have been the home for our collections until they were moved to the National Museum of Wales in Cathays Park

So where were these first meetings?

The Cardiff Story Museum website gives us the answer
In 1862 A group of individuals set up a Free Library by voluntary subscription, above the St Mary Street entrance to Royal Arcade and then in 1864 The library moved to bigger premises in the YMCA building, St Mary Street (now demolished). A School of Science and Art was added and a small museum opened. 
This second location is logically the location for those first meetings


Additional evidence for this is to be found in this publication https://archive.org/details/cardifffreelibra00ballrich which confirms the St Mary's Street address for the library and Museum in 1867.

It also gives a moving dedication to Peter Price
The honour of first suggesting that Cardiff should adopt the Public Libraries Act belongs to the late Mr. Peter Price, whose many years of patient hard work will be remembered as long as the Library records endure.
This publication records the following details
Peter Price (Hon. Secretary, afterwards Chairman;  a member of the Corporation and a J.P. ; died 1892). 
It also gives a summary of his life, death and character
Peter Price was born in the little country town of Builth, in Brecknockshire, in 1824, and was the youngest of a family of ten ; left fatherless at the age of seven, to be brought up by a widowed mother on straitened means, his regular education was limited to a few years at the school kept by the parson of the parish. He displayed marvellous aptitude for the acquirement of knowledge, and set about educating himself, and he continued his education up to the very last year of his life.

The Mechanics' Institute at Worcester first gave Mr. Price systematic help in his self-education. He was engaged in that town in the drawing office of an engineering firm.

In 1851 he came to Cardiff, and set up in business as a contractor, in partnership with his brother-in-law, and in a few years he was busily engaged advocating the adoption of the Public Libraries Act for the town. After the adoption of the Act he acted as hon. secretary for thirteen years. When he relinquished this office he still continued a member of the Committee, and was ultimately made vice-chairman, and during the last three years of his life he was chairman. He died October 4th, 1892. For thirty years he had watched the growth of the Institution, and he saw it develop from a thing of nothing to almost what it is to-day. This was his life-work, and will ever remain his most enduring memorial.

On the occasion of the opening of the then new building in 1882 a portrait of Mr. Price was painted by Mr. B. S. Marks, R.C.A., and presented by him to the Libraries Committee. This portrait will in future hang on the wall of the main staircase leading to the Reference Library. He took a keen interest in all that related to the education and welfare of the people. He was a member of the School Board for the first five years of its existence, a member of the Corporation for some years prior to his death; as Borough Magistrate, Governor of the University College, member of the Technical Instruction Committee, Governor of Wells' Charity, and in numerous other offices he served his town ungrudgingly and well.

The greatest act of his life, however, was one which I fear brought that life prematurely to a close. *' In no public service did he set his fellow citizens a nobler example than in the splendid act of self-sacrifice in which the unspotted integrity of a life-time found final expression — the devotion, namely, of the whole of his savings to save the honour of the Building Society of which he was secretary." The loss of money was nothing to him in comparison with the respect and honour of his fellow men, which he retained, but the fact that his confidence had been betrayed by a servant whom he trusted and held in the greatest esteem was a blow from which he never recovered. It has been worthily said of him that he was — " Noble and generous in all he did, transparently sincere in all his actions, a serious and reverent student of nature, ever eager after knowledge, he kept, even to the end, the child-like in the larger mind."

Peter Price (1824-1892) was the 12th President of the Society. We have this picture from our archives





Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cardiff Naturalists First 150 Years Exhibition Opening

Cardiff Naturalists Society now has a YouTube Channel which you can access via this link Cardiff Naturalists YouTube Channel

It has some videos of local wildlife and especially relevant for the present has The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor (Councillor Bob Derbyshire) and Lady Mayoress Caroline Opening of the Cardiff Naturalists Society 150th Anniversary Exhibition at the Cardiff Story Museum on September the 4th 2017


Also available to view is Cardiff Naturalists Society President Chris Franks thanking The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor (Councillor Bob Derbyshire) and Lady Mayoress Caroline and members of the Society and all the groups who supported us in the creation of this exhibition



Pictures from the opening event







The 150th year celebrations continue with a public talk by Iolo Williams the celebrated Natural History presenter - more details and tickets available at http://cardiffnaturalists.org.uk/htmfiles/iolo2017


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Celebrating our 150th on BBC Radio Wales

Well... for those who have not met me and wonder what I sound like...

BBC Radio Wales called yesterday asking for an interview about the exhibition and the Society it had to be as early as I could get out of work as I had to go and meet the Lord Mayor at the exhibition opening.

The segment is just 4 minutes long you can hear the segment in this link


I really enjoyed their reaction to the last snippet of information I was able to give them - it won't mean much to people who don't live in Wales, but Coryton roundabout is Junction 32 on the M4 and it's a massive traffic roundabout

If you prefer to stream then a video version is now available on YouTube with Pictures from Andy Kendall, Rob & Linda Nottage, Phil Blanning & Linda Morris




Friday, August 18, 2017

Please help us spread the word

With this 2017 / 2018 Autumn and Spring events poster 

With direct information about how to get tickets for the Iolo Williams evening at the National Museum of Wales - Amgueddfa Cymru
Information on the Museum exhibition at the Cardiff Story Museum 
and more 


Its in an easily shared and printed PDF format




Thursday, July 27, 2017

Press Release - An Evening with Iolo Williams at National Museum Cardiff


An Evening with Iolo Williams at National Museum Cardiff


This year Cardiff Naturalists’ Society marks its 150th Anniversary with a series of fascinating events, starting with a prestigious lecture and an exhibition at National Museum Cardiff in October.

Tickets are now on sale via Ticketline at https://www.ticketlineuk.com/ticket/453782/noson-gyda-iolo-williams-an-evening-with-iolo-williams-amgueddfa-genedlaethol-caerdydd-national-muse/ or by phone at 029 2023 0130.


As part of the celebrations and in light of their close association with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, they will be hosting “An Evening with Iolo Williams” in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre at the Museum in Cathays Park, Cardiff, at 7:00 pm on October 5th 2017.

Famous Welsh naturalist Iolo will be talking about a whole range of topics, including insights into the making of his many natural history programmes for television, as well as a taking a question and answer session.


Iolo Williams is a Welsh naturalist, broadcaster, public speaker and writer who’s worked in conservation for over 30 years. He’s a patron of several Welsh conservation organisations and is currently president of the Welsh Ornithological Society. He’s undertaken charity walks up Kilimanjaro for Velindre Cancer Care and has twice trekked the length of Wales for Air Ambulance and Hope House/Ty Hafan children’s hospices

He is well known as an empassioned speaker who is utterly dedicated to conservation and gives informative and entertaining talks about Birds of Prey and Wildlife in Wales. He is most widely known as a popular member of the Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch presenting team and for presenting series such as Wild Wales, Rugged Wales and Great Welsh Parks for BBC 2.

Tickets for the evening are priced at £12.00 for adults and £6.00 for children, with an extra special event as part of the evening for members of the society. There is also a chance to get his books signed at the event.

This event will also feature an Audio-Visual presentation showing some of the wonderful world-wide wildlife and environments that Cardiff Naturalists’ hear about in winter indoor meetings and some of the things we have seen on trips to local wildlife sites, it will feature some of the unusual and rare things we have found in recent years.



Also in our 150th year there will be an exhibition at the Cardiff Story Museum, The Hayes, Cardiff, entitled "Cardiff Naturalists' Society: The first 150 years!" showing the rich history of the society and the many things its members have contributed to the city of Cardiff, the wider South Wales area and the whole of the UK.

The exhibition will run from Monday September 4th to Sunday November 26th 2017

Entry to the Cardiff Story Museum is free, opening hours are available on http://www.cardiffstory.com/

To keep up to date on these events and for further information about the society please visit our website or via social media on our: -


Twitter feed @CardiffNats 


For further details please contact the society via email to info@cardiffnaturalists.org.uk (07963732277) or secretary@cardiffnaturalists.org.uk (07793265554) or Lleucu Cooke at National Museum Cardiff on 029 2057 3175 / lleucu.cooke@museumwales.ac.uk.





Friday, June 9, 2017

Issue 110 of the Newsletter is now Online

Issue 110 of the Newsletter is now Online HERE 

Articles and announcements include :-


Cardiff Naturalists' Society celebrates 150 years with announcements of


  • Prestigious Lecture: An Evening with Iolo Williams with a special event for members at the National Museum of Wales 
  • An exhibition at The Cardiff Story


Also: -


  • Call for pictures for 150th anniversary events; 
  • Biosciences Prize 2017 Eve Treadaway; 
  • Weather Report for Cardiff 2016; Members’ Evening 2017; 
  • Cardiff Birdwatch 2017; 
  • Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust



Monday, May 1, 2017

Cardiff Naturalists’ Society marks 150th Anniversary with a series of fascinating events


This year Cardiff Naturalists’ Society www.cardiffnaturalists.org.uk marks its 150th Anniversary with a series of fascinating events, starting with a prestigious lecture and an exhibition.

In addition to its usual programme of wildlife, environmental and natural history events, it is hosting a special event entitled “An evening with Iolo Williams” in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre at the Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff, at 7 pm on October 5th 2017.

Tickets for the Evening with Iolo Williams will be priced at £12.00 for adults and £6.00 for children, with a special event as part of the evening for members of the society.

Details of how to purchase tickets for the event will follow in the near future.

There will also be an exhibition at the Cardiff Story Museum, The Hayes, Cardiff, entitled Cardiff Naturalists' Society: The first 150 years! showing the rich history of the society and the many things its members have contributed to the city of Cardiff, the wider South Wales area and the whole of the UK.

This will also feature an Audio-Visual presentation showing some of the wonderful wildlife that we learn about in our indoor meetings and then head out to see on our trips to local wildlife sites, and some of the unusual and rare things we have found in recent years. The exhibition will run from Monday September 4th to Sunday November 26th 2017

Entry to the Cardiff Story Museum is free, opening hours are available on http://www.cardiffstory.com/

To keep up to date on these events and for further information about the society please visit our website or via social media on our: -

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/CardiffNaturalists/
Twitter feed @CardiffNats
Blog http://cardiffnaturalists.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Biosciences Prize 2017

Last night (27 March), Eve Treadaway was presented with the Biosciences Prize for 2017, awarded in memory of Prof Ursula Henriques and Dr Mary Gillham, at the last indoor meeting of the CNS winter season.




Eve flew back from Copenhagen where she is currently an Erasmus scholar, to talk to the Society about “Project Noise” - her Cardiff University Biosciences Department student project conducted at the Danau Girang Field Centre in Sabah, Borneo. See the previous post for more about the project, which concerns rainforest bioacoustics.



The evening was completed with a talk by Andy Kendall on the volcanic landscapes and wildlife above and below ground in Lanzarote.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bioscience Prize winner 2017

We congratulate Eve Treadaway for winning this year's Biosciences Prize. This is our annual student bursary, awarded in memory of past member Ursula Henriques, for the best second-year fieldwork project in the Biosciences faculty at Cardiff University.

She will receive the award at the Cardiff Naturalists' Society meeting on Monday 27 March, when she will also give a presentation of her work entitled "The biological and environmental factors that govern the ‘soundtrack’ of the secondary lowland tropical rainforest surrounding Danau Girang Field Centre", or, for short, 'Project Noise'.

Eve Treadaway writes: 

Project Noise set out to develop a new approach to rainforest bioacoustics, using the extensively described botanic plots of Danau Girang Field Centre, Sabah, Borneo as recording sites. Instead of training bioacoustic work on a particular species or taxonomic group, as is standard practice, this project attempted to record and analyse the bioacoustic product of the ecosystem as a whole, termed here ‘ambient rainforest sound’ (ARS). 

There are numerous interrelated factors that, summed together, result in observed ARS. These can be broadly divided into two groups; biological (i.e. the animal species present at a site) and environmental (i.e. weather, botanic diversity*, time). The aim was to investigate potential relationships both between factors of different groups and of factors within the same group. 

Project Noise was a small first step on the road toward assessing rainforest ecosystem biodiversity and functioning, simply by ‘listening’ to the sound produced. The findings were promising, and more extensive application of the methods employed would enable more powerful statistical analysis and preliminary algorithm design (estimating functioning/biodiversity from acoustic data).

I look forward to sharing Project Noise with the Cardiff Naturalists Society on the 27th of March 2017.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Members Evening 2017

We had a fascinating evening of talks last night 


Al Reeve started the evening talking on the Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project which sEWBREC are running on behalf of all of us who knew Mary

After an introduction to Mary and her career he gave us a full update on where the project has got to working through the approximately 150,000 records that she captured during her life.

he outlined the work as


  • 150000 wildlife records to mine out of 20 boxes of assorted papers,
  • 14000 slides to digitise (and recover records from),
  • 2 unpublished manuscripts to make available digitally,
  • an oral record of Mary’s life to create,
  • a website, social media presence and blog to create,
  • plus biodiversity events, school/community group visits and led walks to organise and run…

As part of the talk and very much after the talk we were able to share our memories of Mary with Al and Pat and they explained how they want to meet with us again and capture this on tape for use in the archive

Further details can be found in a plethora of online services

https://marygillhamarchiveproject.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MaryGillhamArchive/
https://twitter.com/gillhamarchives
https://www.flickr.com/people/marygillhamarchiveproject/


Paul Bowden went next with some excellent pictures of the Birds he had spotted during a trip to California and Arizona. Clearly these are excellent places to visit and Paul has I am sure inspired a few holiday ideas


Eirian Edwards came next with an intriguing talk entitled "Mainly Orchids" where she showed us the range of Orchids that she has been able to see at home in Wales, in the wider UK and around the world. As the title suggested that wasn't all of it as we were treated to a selection of other plants and animals from the places she explored, especially her favourite place Kenfig Burrows


I brought up the rear with a rapid run through some of the places I have been visiting with work over the last few years. On some of those trips I found a brief time to take a walk and see some wildlife like the wonderful Koishikawa Korakuen which is a beautiful landscape garden from the early Edo Period in Tokyo.

Surrounded by buildings such as the Tokyo Dome in the background, it is a real haven


The Moon Bridge



A few other things to note .. the cafe is now open at the university before the meetings take place and we would very much recommend to people that coming early and sharing a coffee etc and having a chat with your friends is a great way to enhance the evening meetings,

It is possible that the sEWBREC team will make use of these times to record some of your memories of Mary Gillham they will let us know

The other speaker for the night that the Cardiff Naturalists Bioscience Prize which we give in honour of Dr Mary Gillham and Professor Ursula Henriques will be myself giving a talk about exploring Lanzarote both above and underground. For those who know me there will be a lot of pictures to hopefully enjoy. The programme is updated with that information

Regards
Andy Kendall

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cardiff Birdwatch 2017

Richard Cowie
The traditional New Year Cardiff Birdwatch took place on 8th January this year.  It got off to a great start compared to last year: for one thing it wasn’t pouring with rain, and for another Rob and Linda had chosen to start in Cardiff Bay which was full of interesting birds. 

Twenty three members of the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society and Cardiff Wildlife Trust Group set out from Channel View Leisure Centre and immediately had great views of three male and two female goosander, some of which were out of the water resting on a concrete plinth. 

We walked anti-clockwise round the bay heading towards Penarth Marina.  We picked up a few common passerines such as blue tit, great tit, robin and blackbird on the vegetation beside the barrage or in the trees of surrounding gardens.  Under the Taff Viaduct we found little grebe and displaying great-crested grebes, as well as some of the commoner gulls. 

Our final destination on this part of the walk was the bay by Prospect Place, and here we found some of the more notable ducks such as a long-tailed duck, and seven scaup, alongside a flock of c50 tufted duck.  The long-tailed duck was very confiding and everyone got good views.  It appeared to be an immature male, beginning to moult into adult plumage. 

After spending quite some time admiring the ducks we began heading back towards the Leisure Centre, when a couple walking in the other direction stopped us with a message from David Rich who had gone on ahead.  He had picked up a glaucous gull in the middle of the bay.  We hurried to join him and again got good views of a 1st winter juvenile swimming around with assorted herring gulls and lesser black-backs.  It was a large gull with an impressive two-tone bill with a black tip, and no dark markings on either the wings or tail. 

After spending 30 mins watching the gull, we ambled back to the Leisure Centre, very pleased with a good morning’s birding.  At this stage some of the group departed, but the rest of us had lunch in the car park, then had a vote on where to go next.  The two options were to go to Penarth Marina to look for black redstarts, or to head round to the Cardiff Bay Wetland where a bittern had been seen. 

The wetland won the referendum, so we headed round to the board walk, stopping to look at the inlets around Hamadryas Park.  We picked up a few more species on the way such as goldfinch, chaffinch and mistle thrush but there was nothing much in the inlets.  The wetland board walk was more interesting with a large flock of tufted duck and coots, within which there were scattered a few pochard and grebes. 

We also got further good views of the glaucous gull and heard a water rail.  From there we walked around to St David’s Hotel where we scoured the area for signs of the bittern.  However, a few chiff-chaffs that were flitting around in the bushes distracted us.  Some of these were clearly common chiff-chaffs, but there was also one bird that was much greyer-brown, and paler in appearance than the others and which we thought was possibly a Siberian chiff-chaff (one had been seen in the previous week).  Unfortunately, it didn’t call, so we can’t be sure. 

We got so absorbed in trying to sort out our chiff-chaffs that we actually missed the bittern, which was seen flying across the reedbed by another birdwatcher.  Oh well, you can’t win them all! 

We walked back to the Leisure Centre and a great day was finished off by a flock of 13 long-tailed tits that were moving through the bushes in the car park just as we got back. 

Thanks Rob and Linda for leading a thoroughly enjoyable days birding!



List of Birds Seen (more or less in the order we came across them).

Goosander

Cormorant

Coot

Mute swan

Grey heron

Black-headed gull

Blackbird

Blue tit

Great tit

Robin

Woodpigeon

Goldcrest

Great-crested grebe

Little grebe

Starling

Carrion crow

Herring Gull

Magpie

House sparrow

Greenfinch

Grey wagtail

Chaffinch

Lesser black-backed gull

Tufted duck

Moorhen

Long-tailed duck (imm. male)

Scaup (four male, three female)

Pied wagtail

Mallard

Glaucous gull (1st winter)

Goldfinch

Chaffinch

Mistle Thrush

Pochard

Water rail (heard)

Chiff-chaff

Siberian chiff-chaff (possibly)

Dunnock

Long-tailed tit





Richard Cowie

January 2017



Accompanying photos taken by Linda Nottage (birdwatchers, long-tailed duck, goosander pair):


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