Welcome to the monthly round-up from Tadorna wildlife hub. Spring has definitely sprung and many birds have begun nesting, including later summer migrants. The trees are fully in leaf and we are starting to see more emerging butterflies and dragonflies.
You can keep regularly up to date with any sightings from the Garden and NNR, as well as seasonal highlights by popping in to our wildlife hub (11 on your map).
Most of our summer migrants have now arrived and breeding is in full swing. Early in the month singing males of Redstart, Tree pipit and Whitethroat were noted in and around Waun Las nature reserve. A unusual record was of a female Goosander on Llyn mawr mid-month.
Our resident birds are also busy raising young. Grey wagtails have raised young near the waterfall and Dippers are currently nesting close by. The area around the Wildlife hub and courtyard is full of activity with species such as Blackbird, Starling, Song thrush and Robin all gathering food and feeding chicks. Keep an ear out for for calling young and you might be lucky to watch a nest!
A real highlight this month has been the return of our Swifts. Stand in the courtyard near the apothecary and you can’t miss them! screaming groups often chase each other at high speed around the rooftops and some fly high catching insects. Keep an eye on the swift boxes under the eaves of the apothecary for them to return to their nests!
Many of the waterfowl around the lakes have raised young and we have seen multiple families of Canada goose and Mallard. We are still keeping an eye out for young of Little grebe and Teal so do pop in to the hub to report your sightings if you have seen any.
Early in the month a pair of Red foxes were seen in Waun Las Nature Reserve. You might catch a glimpse of one by taking an early morning walk around the quieter parts of the garden.
We have also been lucky enough to have caught a Hedgehog on camera in our mammal box. There is only a small population here at the gardens so we are very happy it found our box and food supply!
Butterflies, bees and moths:
Butterfly numbers remain fairly low but a noticeable emergance of Green-veined white has taken place during the month. Orange-tips are still being seen around the meadows and woodland edges and the first Common blues have emerged in the meadows.
The moth trap has been very successful lately and a number of interesting moths have been caught including our first Poplar hawkmoth on the 21st which was a welcome surprise. Some other intriguing moths also put on in an appearance including the fantastically fluffy Pale tussock and the Buff-tip which camouflages itself to look like a birch twig.
Its not just the during the night that moths are active however. Some species fly during the day and a walk in the hay meadow has recently revealed many Burnet companion moths and the less conspicuous but very pretty Small yellow underwing.
The warm weather towards the end of the month has caused good numbers of damselflies to emerge including Azure damselfly, Common blue damselfly and Large red damselfly. Look for these species around the edges of ponds and hedgerows.
A bigger and more spectacular species of damselfly has also been spotted during the month, the Beautiful demoiselle. This species inhabits flowing rivers and streams so the best place to see them is the at the north of the gardens, near the cascade and waterfall.
During our pollinator walks in the Double walled garden we have encountered a variety of hoverflies. These tend to mimic a bee or wasp and are very important pollinators. Species such as Rhingia campestris, which uses its long tongue to reach nectar other flies can’t and Merodon equestris, which mimics a bumblebee have been seen.
Early in the month the woodlands, especially Fairy wood, have been carpeted with a sea of Bluebells. These don’t only look spectacular but provide a great source of nectar for pollinators too. Other than the bluebells, most of the woodland plants have gone over except for species such as Red campion and Greater stitchwort growing on the margins.
The meadows however are just starting to come to life and the hay meadow currently has a fantastic display display of orchids including Common spotted orchid, Southern marsh orchid and Green-winged orchid. Other classic meadow plants are making an appearance too including Yellow rattle and Common bird’s foot trefoil.