Penparcau Wildlife Group

This is the Nature of our Village project. Our aim is to record all the wildlife that lives in Penparcau.  Thanks to all who have contributed materials and funding, especially The Nineveh Charitable Trust and D’Oyly Carte.

Click here to view the Facebook Group. You may have to request to join – an admin will approve you as soon as possible.

The Nature of our Village Project – Annual Report (3rd March 2021)

The Nature of our Village Project (24th May 2021)

Dear all, 

Please join us for the next public session coming up:

Dragonflies and butterflies session: Wednesday 26th May at 2pmExploring the life on the wing in Parc y Llyn. Meet at the back of the car park behind Morrisons, grid reference SN 59406 80427. As Covid regulations have changed I don’t need to limit numbers on sessions anymore, but please do let me know if you are intending to come. For this one, please bring any id materials you have, and if you have a pot or a jam jar to inspect your finds in that would be great. There will be a Covid-safe briefing (brief!) before the start of each session now. Hope to see you there!

There is a session on Balsam Bashing coming up from West Wales Rivers, please get in touch with them if you would like to help:
“West Wales Rivers Trust would like to invite you to attend our “Balsam Bashing” on Afon Melindwr, a valuable spawning tributary of the Rheidol catchment. Our first event will be held between 10:00 – 16:00 on 28th & 29th May 2021. Feel free to call by at any time that suits! In order to comply with Covid restrictions and numbers, please contact me prior on 07780303533 or and I will confirm which of our 4 locations we will be at & when. “

Also, some great free talks coming up from local experts:

Wednesday 26th May at 11am – ‘All About Hedgehogs!’ by Naomi Davis is an Ecologist from Aberystwyth – 

Friday 28th May at 11am – ‘All About Bats!’ by Naomi Davis is an Ecologist from Aberystwyth 
Thursday 24th June at 11am – ‘Introduction to the Red Squirrel Project’ by Sarah Purdon from the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Project 

Tuesday 6th July at 11am – ‘An Introduction to the World of Terrestrial Invertebrates’ by George Ryley is an Ecological Consultant from Aberystwyth with a passion for invertebrates. 

Tuesday 17th August at 11am – ‘An Introduction to Social Hymenoptera’ – bees, wasps and ants by George Ryley is an Ecological Consultant from Aberystwyth

Full details can be seen on our website:

Please contact us to register your place on

The Nature of our Village Project (11th May 2021)

Dear all,
Last week I attempted to run our first public group survey, but sadly no-one signed up and at least 3 of you contacted me to say that you were leaving a place for someone else!  I will try again next week, so please do sign up if you would like to come, there will be time for everyone to attend at least one session through the summer I hope!

Pond Exploration!  17th May at 2pm.
Our next survey will be on Monday the 17th at 2pm, meeting behind Morrisons car park where it meets the cycle path.  Grid ref:  SN 59404 80443
I use to easily find locations for free.
We will walk through Parc y Llyn and go and take a look at the mended pond, hoping to see some damselflies, and quite likely to see the Sticklebacks and tadpoles.  We’ll also keep an eye out for our butterflies as quite a few are on the wing when it stops raining!
If you would like to come along, please send me an email to book your place.

In other news, it was great to hear from Shark Trust UK that an article I wrote about our Mermaid’s Purse hunts will be published in their new magazine – Shark Focus, so keep an eye out for that if you are a member. Less good news was that our Water Vole survey was again unable to find signs of any Water Voles in our area, and we do think that the mink must have killed them off.

Better news is that Cuckoos have been heard calling in the village, in the area around the allotments and also from the woods to the south of Pen Dinas, a real treat.  We thank David Kirby for his gift of a beautiful, hand made sign for Perllan Penparcau Orchard, which will be placed in our new orchard in the grounds of the Hwb Community Centre for all to admire.  A recent Chris Packham garden survey showed that gardens which include fruit trees are very helpful to our pollinators, so we hope that it will be fruitful for us and for our bees!  A last happy thought is that our Early Purple Orchids have returned, with 5 flowering stems and some very pretty spotted leaves.

Best wishes to all and I hope to see you soon


The Nature of our Village Project (16th April 2021)

Dear all, 

For me, the highlight of the fortnight has been the sightings of 2 fluffy Tawny Owl chicks, and their mum, high up in the branches of a tree in the Parc y Llyn area.  

We have had reports of Tawnies in the Penparcau area for a while now, with lots of calling owls noted last year, and here is the result, brand new owlets, a really wonderful sight.  Also charmingly fluffy, and much looked forward to every Spring, is the Dark-bordered Bee-fly.  Sometimes described as  “fluffy flying narwhals”, these flies look very similar to tawny-coloured Bumblebees, like our Carders, but with a very long and straight proboscis sticking out in front of them, as though they have a pin strapped to their forehead!  If you have primroses and celandines near you, do keep an eye out for these beautiful Spring visitors and let us know if you see one.  
We are starting to see the Queens of our bumblebee species emerging, with sightings now in for Common Carder, Red-tailed, Early, White-tailed and Buff-tailed.  The big willows on Pen Dinas have provided vital early forage for these ladies, who need to feed up to start their families.  

News has come in of the first Swallows seen in the village, on the 1st April, and we look forward to seeing more of our visitors.  Another great sighting was reported of a Barrel Jellyfish, actually swimming off Tanybwlch, rather than the usual stranded ones we see, that must have been a mesmerising sight!

Finally, we have the pleasure of sharing the following article from Aline Denton of the North Ceredigion Bat Group, about some fantastic work we look forward to being part of.  

New homes for bats in Penparcau

Bats in Penparcau will find themselves with new 5* accommodation as North Ceredigion Bat Group (NCBG) embarks on its “Homes for Bats” project this spring, in partnership with Penparcau Community Forum. Thanks to a grant from the Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership, funded by the Welsh Government, the group has purchased three bat boxes for use in suitable habitat around Penparcau. These long-life boxes should last decades and help generations of bats find a place to roost.

The group are hoping that these boxes will benefit cavity-roosting bat species like pipistrelles, brown long-eared and Natterer’s bats. Historically, these bats would roost in old trees or stone buildings, however many of these features have been lost from our landscape so providing other forms of accommodation can really help boost bat population numbers.

Once groups are able to meet again, NCBG is planning to host a bat box building workshop at Penparcau community hub for local residents. It is hoped that a bat survey route can be established around the village of Penparcau and the Local Nature Reserve Parc Y Llyn so that local bat populations can be monitored year after year which will contribute to other national conservation efforts for bats. The funding has also paid for ladders and torch to enable the bat group to carry out their monitoring work.

NCBG leads an annual bat walk with Penparcau Wildlife group, as an opportunity for people to find out more about the bats in their area. Follow the North Ceredigion Bat group or Penparcau Wildlife group on Facebook for more information about this year’s event.

Best wishes to all

The Nature of our Village Project (12th March 2021)

Dear all, 

There’s plenty to update you all on from the last fortnight, and we are especially delighted to be able to share the achievements of Meg and David Kirby, who wrote this great article for the British Dragonfly Society on the success of the newly-mended pond at Parc y Llyn.  Here is the link:

We’ve been able to carry out 2 Mermaid’s Purse surveys, looking for the eggcases of Sharks and Rays for the Shark Trust, and as expected, numbers are now declining as we head in to spring, with fewer than 40 cases being found on both occasions.  We will carry out the last Eggcase survey of the season next week and then it will be over until December.

Funding has allowed us to carry out some very useful Early Emergence surveys, so that we can be confident of the first appearance date for both our reptiles and our bees.  We have had frequent sightings of lizards basking on Pen Dinas, especially at the ruins of the old farm house on middle path, and these have been when the temperature was only a few degrees in the surrounding areas.  They don’t seem to mind as long as the sun is shining on them!  We have even seen our first Slow-worm of the year, sheltering under a refugium.  

Bumblebees have been making the best of the warm weather too, and we have now been able to record 3 species on the wing when the sun shines.  Buff-tailed was the first, found right at the end of February, and was closely followed at the start of March by the Early and the Tree bumbles. They were all nectaring on abundant willow and the first of the dandelion blooms. Do let us know what you are seeing in your own gardens.

Best wishes

The Nature of our Village Project (13th Feb 2021)

Dear all,

I’m pleased to say that we have had some great news on the funding front – thanks to the Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership, Community Cohesion Fund and the Local Conversations Group fund we have enough in the pot to keep going until the end of May this year.  We were also delighted to have some great support from Debra Croft and the Reaching Wider project, who gave us a much needed book money donation of £100, and also some fantastic wildlife spotting kits, for both adults and children, that we will be able to use later in the year.  A big thank you to them all!

Thanks to this funding I have been able to run extra surveys this month, and most recently added in an “Early emergence” survey for reptiles.  It was wonderful to be rewarded with, not 1, but 4 Common Lizards, basking in some sunshine on Pen Dinas.  I would never have known that they could be out when the surrounding temperature was only just above freezing, but now we know that when the sun is bright, they are able to make the best of it.  I also checked for early emerging bumblebees, but haven’t seen any yet.  Could you let me know if you see one locally please?  Even if it flies away too quickly to identify which bumble it is!

In the recent cold snap I have been cracking on with the 5 year report and I’m about two thirds of the way through.  The more I look at what has been achieved by the whole group over 5 years, the more impressed I am, and very grateful to all of you for the hard work and expertise you have provided.

More Mermaid’s Purse hunts have been happening, with a good selection at the last session.  158 have been recorded over the last 2 surveys.

Bullfinches are active in our area, particularly in the small wooded areas of Parc y Llyn, with a male and female seen feeding on the seed heads near the river.  To see the brightly coloured male with his fabulous peach breast is a wonderfully cheering sight.

Finally, we were grateful to hear from a colleague that the first Palmate Newt of the year has been seen at the mended Parc y Llyn pond.  This is great news, and we will be keeping a close eye on this pond to see when we get the first frogspawn and toadspawn.  Do keep an eye on your own ponds and local water bodies, and please do get in touch when you see your first frogspawn, it’s such a hopeful sign of Spring on the way!

Best wishes to you all


8th January 2021

Dear all,
I hope everyone is keeping well and safe, with the new announcements from Welsh Government today it seems that we will be continuing Lockdown for quite a while yet.  Even though we can’t meet in person, here is a quick update of what’s been going on in the natural world here in Penparcau.

A bird survey at Parc y Llyn on the 6th allowed me to see the Kingfisher zooming down the river, such a thrill!  I also saw my first ever Siskin, who was feeding on the Alder cones along the cycle path.  A Moorhen was poking around along the bank and Coal Tit, Great Tit and Blue Tit were flitting about in the wet woodland area behind Morrisons.  It has been great to see other people’s photos of birds they have seen in the village, so if you manage to get a good shot, do let me know!

I carried out a New Year Plant Hunt at the ver start of the year, and found an astonishing 20 species in flower, ranging from the familiar Red Campion and Primrose to Groundsel and Yarrow.  Have you been seeing wildflowers actually in flower during your walks?

Mermaid’s Purse walks will be resuming from Monday, and I will keep people updated on our finds.  I miss going out with you all and hope that before too long we can share nature together again.
Best wishes to everyone


2020 Report on the Amphibian and Reptile Survey for Pen Dinas is available, click here to read!

International Bat Night 2020

For International Bat night 2020, North Ceredigion bat group teamed up with Penparcau Wildlife group for our annual bat walk at Parc-y-Llyn Local Nature reserve. This year, due to Covid restrictions we were unable to hold our usual public walk, and were reduced to a select group of 3 people  – all socially distanced of course! We did however have fantastic views of Soprano pipistrelle bats feeding above the grassy area behind Morrisons, and were delighted to discover Daubenton’s bats flying along the river under the road bridge. Bats use echolocation to find their way around, and also to find food. The sounds they produce are usually too high-pitched for us to hear, but our bat detectors convert these sounds into a wonderful range of clicks, splats and crackles which help us to identify the species. The pipistrelle produces a series of slappy sounds which get quicker as it hones in on a midge. Daubenton’s produce a series of clicks. They are usually found around water, so the river Rheidol at Parc-y Llyn is a good location.  They hunt by skimming over the water’s surface, and either grabbing insects with their large, hairy feet or scooping them up with their tail membrane. This year we were able to try out our new Echometer 2 bat detector, thanks to funding from the Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership (as used by Chris Packham on Autumnwatch!).  This device attaches to a phone or tablet, and displays a sonogram (a bit like a graph) of the call, as well as an audible sound. It even suggests the type of bat it might be. Soprano pipistrelles are one of our smallest British bats, and often seen flying around gardens at sunset between April and September.  You can help them find food in your garden by growing night-scented plants which attract moths and other insects – such as nicotiana and evening primrose. The Bat Conservation Trust produce a useful list of garden plants, and plenty of other information to help make your garden more bat-friendly. Thank you to Penparcau Wildlife Group for inviting us again this year, and we hope we can to return to our public bat walk in 2021. Aline Denton North Ceredigion Bat group

Pond Ponderings: Parc y Llyn pond, Aberystwyth

An introduction to a community pond in Wales, by Meg Kirby

The Parc y Llyn pond is situated in a rough grassland meadow between a housing estate and retail shopping centre on one side and the river Rheidol on the other side. The area is open to the public. It is County Council owned land managed for wildlife. The river forms part of a hydroelectricity scheme upstream so the flow rate is variable. Golden–ringed Dragonfly, Common Hawker and Banded Demoiselles are often recorded here and on one occasion a Beautiful Demoiselle was also seen. The pond was a good breeding site for frogs and toads but dried up 2 years ago with the apparent failure of the liner. 2019 saw Ceredigion County Council, with help and encouragement from local community groups, renovate this pond. Aquatic plants were introduced in the autumn and frog spawn and toad spawn were seen this spring. An evening visit recorded Palmate Newts. A first visit as part of a planned survey took place towards the end of March. There were plenty of Water Boatmen and Whirligig beetles, and some tadpoles. Emergent plants (Water Plantain and Iris) were growing well. Despite the Covid-19 situation it is hoped that further short, casual visits as part of the daily exercise allowance can take place. Let’s hope Dragonflies return. We will keep you informed.

Parc y Llyn Pond, Aberystwyth

Read Chloe Griffith’s latest article on the Nature of Our Village Project, over on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.