Habitats - River
The River and its surrounding area supports a wealth of
wildlife from insects and birds, to fish and large mammals
such as the Otter. The River quality has improved in the
last few decades, from the days when ‘the rivers ran black’.
Large fish such as Salmon and Trout are able to migrate
up the Taff to spawn, an achievement that may have been
considered impossible a few years ago due to obstructions
such as weirs. New fish passes, such as the one in Merthyr
Tydfil Town Centre, have been installed along the Taff to
help spawning fish reach their destination upstream. The
abundance of these fish is an indicator of how healthy the
river system is nowadays.
Some of the most distinctive river animals are birds such
as Dipper, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Heron. The
Dipper is a distinctive bird (brown/black with a white bib),
found on rapid flowing upland rivers, which will perch on
rocks in the river habitually bobbing its’ body, then diving
into the river and walking under water to catch its’ prey.
The Dipper likes to nest under bridges, and you may see it
flying low over the river.
If you’re lucky you may see the brilliantly coloured
kingfisher with its’ azure blue back and rusty red breast,
and its’ rapid flight straight over the water – it may
appear as more of a flash of bright blue. Or, you may see
one perched above the river looking for small fish to prey
on. You’re also sure to see the little yellow and grey
bobbing wagtail at the waters’ edge.
Also look out for the elegant form of the Grey Heron in
flight. In winter, you might spot Goosander on the faster
stretches of the river. This ‘Saw-billed’ duck probably once
bred on the Taff, but now is only an annual visitor.