8th January 2021
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
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. https://cdn.bats.org.uk/pdf/Resources/Encouraging_Bats.pdf?mtime=20181101151549&focal=none 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.