25 May 2021

Wildlife wonders in the woods and by the water

Dan Rouse

When you enter the Botanic Garden, you are taken aback by the beautiful colours of the plants and the buzzing of bees is very apparent. But there is so much more wildlife to see by delving deeper into the under-watched areas. 

Beginning at the Stable Block, it may not seem like a prime area for wildlife but you’d be amazed by what lurks around every corner. The Double Walled Garden is full of life. You will see blackbirds, robins and dunnocks foraging among the leaves and bushes in search of insects to eat.

In the evening and during the night, this area is fantastic for tawny owls hunting small mammals and birds. This is evident by looking at the pellets that the owls have left behind. Around the Stable Block itself, the plants are alive with buff-tailed bumblebees, peacock butterflies and small tortoiseshell butterflies.

The fantastic thing about the Garden is the sheer amount of pollinators that are attracted to the variety of plants and definitely something to look out for when you visit and take a walk around.

Now, the newly opened and recently restored Llyn Mawr and Llyn Felin Gat area near Waun Las National Nature Reserve is something to behold.

The wildlife on show is fabulous! Entering from Fairy Woods, this location is a great spot to look for willow and marsh tits which are easily recognised by their call as opposed to sight – they can be tricky little things to spot.

Also, keep an eye on the ground for silver-washed fritillaries. They are vibrant in colour with an almost silver-sheen to them. It’s also a great spot to look for fairy toadstools otherwise known as fly agaric fungi and you will see scarlet elf cups nestled in the bases of the trees.

Further into the wooded area around the new lake, Llyn Mawr, sparrowhawks are often seen bombing out of the trees in search of prey; blue tits, great tit, long-tailed tits and goldcrests are all worthy contenders and all are often seen and heard around the lake.

On the lake itself, tufted ducks, teal, mallards, grey heron can all be seen around the water’s edge, while the reeds and rushes framing the lake are perfect habitats for emerging dragonflies and damselflies.

We’ve seen emperor dragonflies patrolling the edges, common blue, blue-tailed and azure damselflies are also common here along with larger species such as migrant hawkers.  

It is truly a beautiful walk, and the wooded area appearing as you approach the Great Glasshouse from your walk around the Llyn Mawr is a great area to scan through the trees.

They may not look very promising but the wooded area is perfect shelter and feeding habitat for species that rely on insects to feed upon.

Have a scan for chiffchaffs, spotted flycatchers, garden warblers, pied flycatchers as these are all small passerines that often flit around the trees just looking for insects to catch.

And don’t forget to have a good look around the fields for swallows, swifts and also some birds of prey such as kestrels, red kites and buzzards. 

Want to learn more about the wildlife found at the Garden, and learn how to identify a range of birds, butterflies and dragonflies? Tadorna Tours have teamed up with the National Botanic Garden of Wales to provide expert-led guided walks during each season showcasing a range of wildlife.

£30 each, beginning at 10:30 and finishing around 4pm.

For more information and to book your place please visit the website.