Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

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Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

aerial_photo_of_wetlands_reserveThis reserve was created in 2002 and rapidly established itself as an important site for over-wintering birds, and for bird species which breed among the protective grasses. The reserve was designed to compensate in part for the loss of the mudflats which were submerged after completion of the Cardiff Bay Barrage. Some of the site lies within the Pierhead conservation area, which was designated to protect the listed buildings on nearby Windsor Esplanade.

The freshwater lake which formed behind the barrage attracts many birds, most of which can be found within the reserve. They include grey heron, kingfisher, goldfinch (below, left) and little grebe (below, right).

photo_of_goldfinchThe reserve consists of a former salt marsh and a series of wetlands of various depths. Floating timber structures serve as safe breeding areas for birds. The wetland is protected by an underwater bund, which prevents wave erosion, and a boom to keep out waterborne debris. The reserve’s open-water section, within the boom, is attractive to fish-eating birds.

A reen (a water-filled ditch) separates the bulk of the reserve from the “mainland” section, protecting nesting birds from predators and human disturbance. Birds in this area can be watched from the boardwalk which passes through the reserve, and from the viewing platforms. Visitors can also look back across the reserve to the waterfront buildings of Cardiff Bay photo_of_little_grebeand to Penarth Head.

The area is popular with birdwatchers and is regularly used by schools and voluntary groups for pond dipping and other environmental education.

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Cardiff Harbour Authority telephone: 02920 877921

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