Trip reports

Nature Ramble at Forest Farm Nature Reserve

Nature Ramble at Forest Farm Nature Reserve
Corrine Jenkins

Saturday, 21 April 2018

It was a very pleasant early spring day with new green foliage starting to appear amongst the trees and bushes around the reserve. We joined up with the Friends of Forest Farm monthly walk which occurs on the third Saturday of the month. It was good to meet up with new nature enthusiasts as well as our regular members.

Fourteen of us started on the walk after meeting at the Warden's Centre. As we headed for the river Taff, some of us saw their first swallow of spring as well as hearing a blackcap singing and seeing dunnocks flitting in the bushes.

As we walked up the river bank, a heron flew overhead and a wood pigeon and great tits were spotted in the trees. Arriving at the iron bridge by Radyr railway station, we had a tantalising glimpse of translucent turquoise as a kingfisher darted up river.

From the bridge, four dippers were seen searching for food from the banks and rocks in the river, some were hard to spot amongst the reflections of sunlight on the water. Also noted were two mallards in flight, robin, wren and blue tit amongst the bushes and a grey wagtail with its distinctive lemon-yellow under-tail on a branch overhanging the river.

We then carried on past the allotments towards the first Hide. Before we got to the Hide, we noted two treecreepers. These active small birds have a slender downward curved bill to remove insects and seeds from the tree bark and large feet with sharp claws to help them climb up and down the trunks of the trees. They are mottled brown with a white under-side. A song thrush, blackcap, chiffchaff, nuthatch and long-tailed tit were also seen.

At the first Hide, a moorhen was noted by the reeds and great tits fed on the seeds by the hide. Also, a cheeky robin flew in and sat on the window ledge looking for seeds.

As we walked between the Hides, goldcrest, which was a first sighting at Forest Farm for me, blackbird, goldfinch, chaffinch and jay were seen in the trees. At the second Hide, a heron landed by the pool and started stalking prey and some of us saw a reed warbler as well as the occasional rabbit.

We then headed to Glamorgan Canal where coal, blue and great tits were busily feeding on the seeds placed on the wooden posts. Male mallards were snoozing on a fallen tree trunk making the most of the early Spring sunshine.

As we returned to our cars, another dipper was spotted busily darting amongst the rocks in the brook. A great spotted woodpecker and linnet were seen by some lucky members.

In total, 36 bird species were recorded by the Group on a very pleasant day's birding at one of our local reserves.

-Viv Jenkins