I had to go in to Cardiff city today to do a few chores so, for day four of #30DaysWild, I thought I’d take a wander along the old canals, an area known locally as Little Venice. The area closest to the main road is quite unkempt, but, except for the human rubbish, I like how overgrown it is – and I’m sure the wildlife does too – and the submerged plants are particularly lovely at the moment, with long streaming fronds covered in pretty white flowers.
The canals flow in a couple of different directions, both ultimately emptying into East Bute Dock, where once a million tons of coal a year was loaded on to waiting ships. The canals are bordered by various types of accommodation and office blocks, have footpaths along both sides, and in places are adorned with beautiful, currently flowering native Fringed Water Lily (Nymphoides peltata).
The canals also support a range of wildlife. Drake mallards snoozed on the warm stone edges, Common blue damselflies flitted back and forth, and a feral pigeon strutted towards me, hopeful of a spot of lunch.
The big drawcard of these waterways for me, though, is that Coots can usually be found nesting here, often very successfully. In their large sturdy nest structures, built of sticks and plant material and human detritus, I’ve seen broods of up to 6 chicks.
Today there were two pairs with quite well-grown young, and three more birds sitting, possibly with little ones tucked under their wings. And very cute they all were too!