What to Look Out For
The River Taff - Creatures Great and Small
Much of the wildlife here is difficult to spot, some is not even
visible to the naked eye, but large or small, all are vital parts
of the river ecosystem and perform an important role and
Caddisflies -Aquatic Architects
Caddisfly larva feed on tiny particles of algae and plant
matter, or other small river creatures, and their talent for
home-building makes them one of our more interesting river
The cased-caddis weaves a web of silk and river materials such
as gravel, sand and plants, to create a portable tubular
home. This rigid case provides protection and camouflage, and
an internal pumping action delivers oxygen to the larva's
gills. The cased-caddis is able to live in still waters,
whereas their caseless counterparts are restricted to rivers where
the current can deliver oxygen to their gills.
Caddisfly are a favourite food of Dippers, plump little birds
remarkable in their ability to walk along underwater on the
river-bed. Using strong wings and claws, they are able to
resist the current and grasp underwater rocks, defying their own
buoyancy to search for underwater prey.
Keep a look out for this bird's characteristic 'dipping' motion
as they perch on rocks,
or for their bright white breast which gives them their welsh
name, Bronwen-y-Dwr - White Breast of the Water.
These unmistakable birds can occasionally be seen darting up and
down the river here, each one covering over a kilometre of
The kingfisher lays two or three clutches of eggs each year,
hidden at the end of a long tunnel excavated into the bank.
Each clutch will yield around seven chicks, needing up to eighteen
fish a day each.
Every day during the breeding season, the kingfisher will need to
consume its own body-weight in food, as well as catching over 100
minnows and sticklebacks for its hungry brood of chicks.
These statuesque birds are a common sight along the river,
crouching near the banks or stalking through shallow waters.
Feeding mostly feed on fish, herons hunt with their heavy
dagger-like beak, but will also take insects, amphibians, small
mammals, and even small birds and chicks.
Although usually solitary, herons gather together when breeding
to form a 'heronry' of several large platform-like nests, high in
the trees. When all of the eggs have hatched, a heronry can
become a noisy place indeed!
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