At least once a week I take a turn along the embankment where the River Ely flows out into Cardiff Bay as it makes a nice circular walk from my home on the cliff-top above in Penarth. (It’s good exercise too, as what goes down there must walk back up!) I always record what I see – usually birds – so thought I would share my sightings in an end-of-monthly post.
A variety of birds make their home in this stretch of water, which they share with a yachting marina and associated water traffic coming and going. There are almost always Turnstones in varying quantities (from one to nine), Mallards, Mute swans, one or two Great Crested Grebes (including their progeny this year), a proliferation of Coots, the occasional Cormorant fishing, usually a couple of Grey wagtails and a couple of Pieds. Gulls fly overhead and there are plenty of hirundines, in the season.
2 October: A Wheatear, an unusual visitor, almost certainly on a migration stopover, was dotting about on the embankment stones; a Pied wagtail was doing its morning stretches, and a Rock pipit was browsing for titbits.
16 October: This was the day before ex-hurricane Ophelia made her presence felt, the day of the jaundiced yellow sky and the rusty red sun, which you can see reflected in my photo of the four Little grebes that were sheltering from the incoming weather. A juvenile Grey wagtail was dotting along the embankment, calling incessantly for its parent; and a Great crested grebe was enjoying a very successful fishing session, coming up with fish in two successive dives.
22 October: The day after Storm Brian I walked the embankment to see if any unusual birds had been blown in. The usual suspects were present, except that, most unusually, there wasn’t a single Turnstone. A solitary Linnet flitted back and forth from pavement to stones, and three rather exhausted-looking Redshanks dozed warily along the water line. One of these was colour-ringed and might possibly be the bird I saw back in March but I couldn’t see its rings well enough to be sure.