Yeaterday, with a visit to Ikea in Bristol needed I decided to combine it with some birding. Cardiff seemed the obvious place to go as Bristol was around halfway there. The long staying Little Bunting and Lesser Scaup being the target birds. Despite having seen both of these birds recently Pete kindly agree to be my navigator for the day. Although he won’t admit it I reckon the chance of a first ever site visit to Ikea swung the decision. So eight o’clock saw us leaving Swindon and an hour and a half later we were pulling up outside the hide at Forest Farm.
Less than five minutes later the Little Bunting was on the daylist. An extremely easy life tick. Fantastic to see it feeding so close giving plenty of opportunity to pick out the main identifying features.
Unfortunately it didn’t seem to want to reveal itself completely, always staying close to cover. Great views of Reed Buntings as well for comparison.
After spending a few minutes watching the Bunting we checked out the feeders. They were busy with tits, also Robins, Chaffinch, Bullfinch and Nuthatch.
We then headed off along to the nearby River Taff looking for Dippers. First bird seen was a Grey Wagtail and then three Goosanders. I managed a brief view of a Dipper which flew off from the bank as we approached. A year tick for me.
We then set off across Cardiff to the Bay, another new area for me. We had hoped to park near to the boardwalk at the wetlands but there were no spaces. Driving around looking for a vantage point we found a great place to park right on the waterside. There were several flocks of Tufted Ducks around so we settled down to check them out. We were fortunate being able to stay in the car as it was extremely windy. I started of with the nearest birds while Pete took on the more challenging further out and into the sun birds. After a couple of minutes he found a good candidate and managed to get me onto it. Initially it had its head tucked down and when it did look up it was hard to be sure due to the bright sun. We moved a few yards and eventually the flock drifted into a better position allowing us to confirm it was the Lesser Scaup. Our luck was certainly holding up. Another couple of birders who we had seen at Forest Farm arrived and we were able to put them onto the bird as well. We then headed over to Penarth and the Barrage entrance hoping for Black Redstart and Rock Pipit. The conditions were not conducive to finding small birds and we only managed singles of Wren and Pied Wagtail. Also seen here were Mute Swan, a few Gulls and Cormorants. A pity but we were happy to have got both of the target birds. This is an interesting area with an interesting mix of old and new. Also great views of Cardiff across the water
Obviously the final stop was Ikea in Bristol, I have only been here with the family before and try and keep out of things until collection and payment. It was the first visit for Pete so between us we didn’t have a clue on how the system works. Anyway I managed to get what I needed and we were in and out in forty minutes. Not much of a birdwatching spot mind with the birds seen here being a few gulls and Feral Pigeons
My UK list is now creeping up on the three hundred mark with just nine more needed. Just one new bird a month will see me hit it by December. We shall see.