enquiries@tywigateway.org.uk Parc a Gerddi yr Esgob, Abergwili, Sir Caerfyrddin SA31 2JG

Monthly Wildlife Watch Walks

April 2024

Wildlife Watch Walk, 16 April 2024

Started at 2.10pm, finished at 3.15pm.  One volunteer present.

It was a sunny, breezy afternoon, warm in the sun, cool in the shade.

The established route was followed around the park, starting and finishing at reception.

Jenkinson garden

  • herbaceous perennials growing strongly.
  • bluebell and snakeshead fritillary flowering in the informal grass area.



  • The horse chestnut by the gate had come down in the wind, and was being sawn up.
  • Bird calls, including chiffchaff, blue tit, wren, robin, great tit.
  • leaves opening on trees.
  • Pendulous sedge – flowers appearing.
  • Red campion flowering.
  • Robin in the bushes.
  • Bumble bee – probably a buff tail, hovering over the undergrowth.

Above Pond

  • vegetation growing strongly on steep bank above the path – lots of hart’s tongue fern.
  • blue tits
  • blackbird Fx1
  • Mallard on pond Mx2, Fx1
  • Lords and Ladies/cuckoo pint beside the path.
  • Lots of tree saplings, especially ash and hawthorn.

Meadow and Pond

  • Robin
  • Blackbird Fx1
  • Mallard Mx3
  • Grasses beginning to flower
  • Buttercups in flower
  • Ladies smock/cuckoo flower
  • Buzzard overhead, then settled in a tree.
  • Wood pigeon x2
  • Mallards, Mx1, Fx1, in the ditch – flew away as I passed.
  • Flowers and leaves on oak tree
  • Crow

Haha area

  • Pond weed (unknown variety) in the water.
  • Nettle
  • Meadowsweet leaves
  • Rush
  • Himalayan balsam seedlings (many of these elsewhere too).
  • Cherry blossom on tree by bridge.

Woodland Garden

  • Red campion
  • Daisy
  • Dandelions
  • Hover flies on dandelions



  • Daisy
  • Dandelions
  • Cow parsley

Car park/Gatehouse area

  • Forget me nots
  • London pride
  • centaurea


January 2024

Wildlife Watch Walk, Tuesday 16 January 2024, starting at approximately 2.20pm

Present were 2 volunteers, DRL and H, plus one member of staff, F

Weather was cold and overcast to start, some sunshine later.

We followed the same route as previous walks, omitting the lower part of the Great Meadow due to the muddy conditions.  We were able to access the Walled Garden today, so added this to the route on the way back.  There were more birds in evidence today compared to last time (November), and some early flowers in the formal garden area.  The highlights today were the sightings of two little egrets flying over the meadow, and a goldcrest in the dense evergreen foliage of a tree by the car park.

Jenkinson Garden

  • Crocuses in flower
  • Hellebores in flower
  • Robins singing


  • Blackbird rummaging in leaf litter
  • Wren singing
  • Heard a duck


  • Teal – 2 males and 3 females
  • Moorhen
  • Redwing in tree at pond edge
  • Mallard – 3 males
  • Still some ice on the pond from recent cold weather


  • Mistle thrush
  • Dunnock
  • Wood pigeon
  • Red kite
  • Blackbird, one female, one male
  • Chaffinch x3
  • Heard nuthatch call
  • Little egret
  • Swan on the water
  • Robin x2
  • Bluetits

Woodland Garden

  • Bright yellow fungus on tree stump


  • Crow
  • Robin
  • Chaffinch, female
  • Saw little egret x2 flying over the meadow
  • Cormorant flying over the meadow
  • Mistle thrush
  • Song thrush
  • Blackbird
  • Wren
  • Fresh mole hills

Walled Garden

  • Red kite
  • Blackbird

Shrubbery and Car Park area

  • Daffodil shoots
  • Primrose in flower
  • Goldcrest

D.R.Lewis – Volunteer



November 2023

This month’s walk was held on Tuesday 21 November, starting at 2.05pm. The weather was quite mild, mostly cloudy, with occasional sunshine.  One volunteer and one member of the public attended.

We followed a route starting at the Jenkinson Garden, following the upper path into the woodland area, out onto the path outside the wall and back into the park at the far end.  We then went down the steps, following the path above the pond before crossing the bridge on to the Great Meadow. We then followed the path around the less muddy parts of Great Meadow,  before retracing our steps back to the Park and following the bottom path back around to reception.

Jenkinson Garden:

Most ornamental flowers now finished, although a few flowering plants still in full bloom: we noticed:

  • Thyme plants edging the beds still in flower.
  • Seeds on ornamental grasses.
  • Seeds on some of the tall plants germinating still on the plant.
  • Rudbeckia flowers
  • Tansy flowers
  • No bees or insects were seen today.

Upper path and woodland area:

Very autumnal, lots of fallen leaves on the ground.  Most deciduous trees now mostly bare, although a few leaves still hanging on.  We saw:

  • Lots of fungi on tree stumps
  • Yellow marks left by holly leaf miner larvae on holly leaves
  • Red berries on the holly trees
  • Some wild flowers still flowering, including red campion
  • Blackbirds
  • Robins
  • a squirrel
  • Hedge woundwort still flowering

Path above and top edge of the Bishop’s Pond:

Pond still quite full after recent rainfall.

  • Mallard ducks – 2 males and 2 females although there were likely more as we could see movement amongst the weeds.
  • Movement of birds in amongst the trees, but couldn’t see them clearly enough to identify.

The Great Meadow and wider view of the pond:

Ground very muddy in places after recent rain and flooding of the river.   We weren’t able to follow the path beyond the ditch in the larger field as it was too muddy.  We  saw:

  • Robins
  • squirrel
  • several song thrushes
  • wood pigeon – eating holly berries
  • goldfinches
  • chaffinches
  • moorhens x2
  • quite a lot of smaller birds flying across the pond to the island, but not able to identify these (blackbirds or thrushes maybe?)
  • buttercup in flower

Woodland garden:

  • Periwinkle flowers.
  • Lots of fungi – different shapes and colours – on the tree trunk, including turkey tail fungus.

Park and lawn area:

  • more different kinds of fungi on the various stumps including candlesnuff fungus.

Shrubbery area:

  • another squirrel
  • a few late flowers – geranium, welsh poppy, primrose. 

Report by DL Lewis, volunteer




July 2023

This month’s walk was held on Tuesday 18th July, starting at 2pm. It was raining quite heavily. Present was Ffiona Jones  – member of staff a and a Yr 10. Work experience student from Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin.

We followed the same path as usual, starting at the jenkinson Garden, following the upper path into the woodland area and back down on to the main path as far as the bottom of the steps, before turning back and crossing the bridge on to the Great Meadow. Then, following the headland around the Great Meadow, before returning on to the Park and following the bottom path back around to reception.

We saw:

Jenkinson Garden:

  • A ngreat number of bumblebees, including carder bumblebees
  • wasps
  • Apples growing on the espaliered trees
  • Honey bees

While walking across the upper path to the woodland area:

  • Blackberrys growing Mwyar yn tyfu
  • Chaffinch
  • Male and female blackbirds
  • A wren
  • Wood pigeon

While looking around the edge of the Bishop’s Pond:

  • An abundance of Himalayan Balsam full of pollinators inc. bees, bumblebees, damselflies, large tortoiseshell .
  • We caught a glimps of the back end of an otter running across the mud on the bottom end of the island.
  • 4 moorhens

On the Great Meadow (which hasn’t been cut this year yet):

  • Thistles
  • Perennial Ryegrass in seed
  • Creeping buttercup
  • Seeds on the sycamore trees
  • Berries on the hawthorn trees
  • Fungi
  • Meadow brown butterflies
  • More chaffinch
  • Ragwort
  • Young rushes
  • Bird’s foot trefoil

A hornets nest had been established in the old fallen beech tree which forms the centrepoint of the woodland garden.



June 2023

This month’s Wildlife Watch Walk was held on Tuesday 20 June at 2pm.  We were joined by 5 members of the public this time.  The weather was warm and humid, having rained shortly before the walk started, with some sunshine and a further heavy shower whilst the walk was in progress.

In the Jenkinson Garden, some of the ornamental flowers had grown enormously since last month – with clumps of giant yellow scabious now over six feet high!  Most of the meadow flowers behind the cultivated borders had now gone over, forming seed heads amongst the flowering grasses.  We saw several bumblebees in the formal garden area, including common carder and buff tail.

Moving on, many plants and shrubs at the edges of the woodland were now in full flower, including nettles, herb Robert, brambles, wild rose, foxgloves and ragwort, and the sycamore flowers were now developing into their winged fruits.  Some of the remaining rhododendrons (many have been cleared to let in light and make way for native species) were also in flower.

There didn’t seem to be many birds around here today, but we saw several blackbirds, male and female, and a blackcap was singing somewhere in the tree canopy above us.

At the woodland end of the pond, the first thing we noticed were the yellow flowers of the water lilies, with the leaves now covering most of the surface. Two mallard ducks, one male and one female, were on the water, and two moorhens could be seen amongst the reeds at the edge of the island.  Further along, a group of 9 juvenile mallards were lined up along a fallen, partially submerged tree in the water – we hadn’t seen ducklings on previous walks, but they had been reported by other people in between.  While we were counting these, a grey heron walked into view as though stage managed! Shortly after, as we moved along towards the meadow, we saw a second heron at the edge of the island.

Across the bridge, and into the meadow we could hear bursts of wren song in the hedges.  On the ground, the buttercup flowers were now mostly spiky seed heads amongst the flowering meadow grasses.  The Himalayan balsam on the banks of the pond in the hedge were beginning to flower, attracting bumblebees. Butterflies were more in evidence today – we saw small tortoiseshell, comma, and meadow brown butterflies.  We also saw tantalising glimpses of other butterflies with dark wings and flashes of red, but we were unable to see close or clearly enough to identify – possibly peacock or more small tortoiseshells? Several bright blue damselflies were seen at various locations around the park.

At the further end of the pond, there was a mute swan at the far side of the water and a pied wagtail was spotted at the edge of the pond.  On the banks, meadowsweet was beginning to flower, along with reed sweet grass, emerging plants of water pepper in the muddy areas, and the dainty white flowers of marsh bedstraw. On the mud banks in the middle of the pond there were large clumps of purple loosestrife.  At the base of the hedge were creeping thistle, horsetail, plus other unidentified reeds and grasses.  Insect life here included a large dragonfly seen flying over the water, and various flies including horse fly.  In the hedge, several great tits, two blue tits and a female chaffinch were recorded.  We also saw four wood pigeons flying overhead, two sea gulls and a buzzard.

Further into the Great Meadow, the ditch where we saw tadpoles and a leech last month was now dried up.  Nearby there was a large patch of silverweed now beginning to flower, and some hedge bindweed (white flowers) amongst the longer grasses.  At the edge of the meadow, greater plantain, bugleweed and white clover was visible in the shorter grassy areas.  At this point in our walk, the heavens opened, but while we took shelter under a horse chestnut, we noticed a large field rose in the hedgerow was covered in white blooms – these attracting a hoverfly.   At this end of the great meadow there were also a few patches of yellow rattle – this was sown a few years ago in an attempt to suppress the grasses to allow more meadow flowers to become established.  This wasn’t very successful initially, but maybe these isolated patches will spread and become more flower rich as time goes on?

Continuing our walk back towards the park and the haha, a flock of house martins seemed to appear out of nowhere, and we stopped to watch them swooping over the meadow after the rain, feeding on flying insects over the meadow.  We also saw a goldfinch on a dock flower/seed spike.

On the haha side of the meadow, the vegetation had grown much taller and denser over the month since the previous walk, such that the haha was totally hidden from view from both sides.  Plants growing here included various rushes in the damp areas, wild forget me nots, ragwort, and some yellow flowered plants of which there are several very similar species such as hawksbeard, hawkbit, hawkweed, cat’s ear etc – these need close examination and a good wild flower guide to identify correctly!

The walled garden was not open today so the final part of our walk was along the  path above the haha and through the shrubbery beside the museum.  In the park there was a large area of oxeye daisies in full bloom, a clump of rosebay willowherb also flowering, and some clumps of yellow loosestrife in the shadier areas near the museum.




May 2023

The May Wildlife Watch Walk was held on Tuesday 16 May at 2pm.  This month we were joined by a few more members of the public, which was encouraging. The weather was mild and sunny, feeling pleasantly warm in the sun, but still cool in the shade.

The Jenkinson garden was looking very flowery in the ornamental section, but our main focus was the wild flower meadow borders behind the formal beds.  These had grown a lot since last month with grasses and wildflowers now blooming, including ox-eye daisy and ragged robin.  The front of the border was planted with lower growing ajuga/bugleweed, the purple flowers attracting several honey bees.  We also saw a couple of electric blue damselflies hovering amongst the flowers.

Moving on into the woodland area, it was immediately apparent that most of the trees were now in full leaf.  These included hazels, lime, sycamore, beech – with the copper beeches looking spectacular in the sun – only the mature ash trees were lagging behind.  On the ground, we saw bluebells, herb robert and sweet woodruff.  We had missed the main show of bluebells as they were mostly going over now.  Sadly, many of the bluebells looked to be hybrids of native bluebells and the more invasive Spanish Bluebells.  The two kinds can be distinguished from each other by the flower shape and pollen colour.  Native bluebells have an arched flower stem, with the tubular, deep blue bells hanging down on one side. The pollen is a pale, creamy white.  Spanish bluebells have more open flowers all around the upright stem, are usually a paler blue or pink, and have pollen that is blue or green in colour.  Hybrids will show variations between these two forms.

In an open clearing, there were many small saplings of ash and sycamore coming up.  There was also vigorous new growth on a holly tree – this tree had been thought dead and had been cut back to the trunk which was left in place – however, it is now regenerating and putting out many new shoots.  There seemed to be fewer birds in evidence today.  We could hear birdsong in the trees, notably blackbird, and we saw a female blackbird rummaging in the leaf litter on the ground – plus robin and chiffchaff.  Other songs and calls we we were  unable to identify this time.  Nearer the pond, at the edge of the wood, the hawthorn trees were blossoming, and we noticed the small yellow flowers of wood avens in the bank bordering the path, and spikes of foxgloves just about to flower.  The air in this part of the park was filled with the floating, downy seeds of the goat willow.

Crossing the bridge onto the meadow, it was astonishing to see how much the meadow had changed in one month, from clumpy green grass, to a sea of flowering grasses and bright yellow buttercups.  Looking across the pond from the meadow we saw a small flock of mallard ducks on the water and a moorhen  amongst the reeds on the edge of the island.  Also, many floating water lily leaves had appeared on the surface of the pond since last month.  Further along, we saw a grey heron standing in the water, then taking off and flying to the other end of the pond – a magnificent sight!  We saw and heard other birds in the hedgerow, including blue tits and a magpie.  We had a look in the ditch where we had seen frogspawn back in March.  Initially, it looked as though there wasn’t much happening, until we saw movement, which turned out to be wriggling tadpoles!  While we were watching them, we also saw a leech crawling across the mud at the edge of the ditch.

Along the edges of the path around the meadow there were occasional patches of other flowering plants, including ribwort plantain and red clover, the latter attracting a large bumblebee, plus cow parsley, and emerging meadowsweet, especially near the haha.  Further in, there were patches of sorrel beginning to flower amongst the grasses. The corner of the field was full of nettles so we were unable to get to the deeper part of the ditch where we saw minnows last month.  The horse chestnut trees were in full leaf and flower this month – a big change in just a few weeks!

Moving on to the walled garden, we were once again struck by the rapid growth of many plants, both wild and cultivated, since last month.  The elderflower was beginning to bloom, especially on the sunnier side of the bush.  We saw more insect activity here too, with common carder bumblebees in evidence, and various flies, hover flies, and fleeting glimpses of small white butterflies – too far away to identify – but possibly females of the orange tips we saw in April.  Whilst we were looking at something else, we were startled to see a very large (at least 3cm long) insect fly right in front of us, with a striking red thorax and yellow abdomen.  We had no idea what we had seen, but having looked it up later, it was almost certainly a queen hornet!

There was a lot of activity around the bee hives, and indeed we saw many honey bees around the park, busy amongst the flowers in the formal gardens and wild areas.  Whilst in the beehive area, we saw a great tit investigating holes in the wall, and amongst the shrubs, we noticed a small (approx 2cm) pure white moth with very furry shoulders, although without an expert to hand we couldn’t identify what species this was.

Overall, the most striking thing we noticed this month was just how much the trees and meadow had changed – so much rapid growth in just a few weeks, paving the way for summer.

Debbie Rose Lewis – Volunteer


April 2023

The April Wildlife Watch Walk was held on Tuesday 18 April at 2.00pm, with 2 volunteers, one staff member and one member of the public in attendance.  It was a lovely, sunny afternoon with a fresh breeze, and it felt like spring had finally arrived in full force.

In the Jenkinson garden, a magnificent display of flame-like tulips stole the show, but around the edges, in the wilder areas there were snakes head fritillaries blooming amongst the grass and we saw several bumblebees on the pulmonaria flowers bordering the garden.

Following the path towards the wooded area, dandelions at the woodland edge were in full bloom and attracting several bumblebees and hover flies – insect life that was absent in March, now awake and going about their business. Further along the path, many more spring plants were beginning to bloom, including lady’s smock (also known as cuckoo flower, milkmaids or May flower), herb robert, violets, cuckoo pint, red campion and a few large clumps of wood anemone.  The celandines and daisies we saw last month were also still going strong.

From the trees overhead we could hear blue tits and great tits calling. We heard a wren singing, then saw it fly across the path into a nearby bush.  Other birds we heard as we continued the walk included chiffchaff and a male chaffinch high in a tree.  A loud, almost “guinea pig” like bird call was identified by one of the volunteers as a nuthatch, and following the sound, we saw the small, striking grey/blue and pinkish bird on a nearby beech tree.

In an area where some laurels had been cut back, we saw a small brown grasshopper sitting on a stump.  Further up the bank, where sap had been oozing from a stump, this had been colonised by an orange and yellow slime mould.  The blackthorn trees were covered in white blossom, and a wild cherry overhanging the ha-ha by the bridge was also blossoming.

On the pond, we saw several mallard ducks, a pair of Canada geese and a moorhen on the water, and on the banks wood anemones and celandines were still flowering, joined now by lady’s smock.  Also emerging was a carpet of Himalayan balsam seedlings – less welcome, as this plant is an invasive non-native species that is hard to keep under control and out-competes native plants in the areas where it grows.  In the sky overhead, two buzzards and two red kites could be seen.

The large trees in the meadow were beginning to break into leaf, especially the horse chestnut.  Further along, in the ditch, we looked to see if the frogspawn we had seen earlier in the year had developed into tadpoles or froglets, but were unable to see anything in the murky water.  In another area of clearer water we saw a pond skater on the surface, and a small shoal of minnows in the water.  Walking back through the meadow towards the park we saw several invertebrates including a small black spider and a small, bright, shiny golden/green beetle – probably a dock beetle, as docks were growing nearby.

We were able to access the walled garden today, and in the sheltered borders forget me nots, pink purslane (possibly naturalised from plants previously grown for salad leaves?) and alkanet were flowering abundantly.  The bright blue alkanet flowers in particular seemed to be very attractive to insects – bumblebees, hoverflies and a couple of honey bees from the hives in the park.  We saw a few goldfinches in the walled garden, and a pair of blackbirds looked like they were  nesting in a large shrub by the wall.  We also saw our first butterfly of the season – an orange tip male – mostly white, with unmistakeable bright orange wing tips (the females have black wing tips).

Finally, on the way back to reception, we saw two dunnocks on the woodpile outside the walled garden, and saw and heard some house sparrows nearer the buildings.

We saw a lot more wildlife this month: trees beginning to green up, wild flowers blooming, other plants growing lush foliage getting ready to flower, and many more insects beginning to emerge.  Spring has definitely sprung!

Debbie Rose Lewis – Volunteer


March 2023

The March Wildlife Watch Walk was held on Tuesday 21 March at 2pm, an overcast afternoon with a strong, blustery wind.  The cultivated area in the Jenkinson Garden showed that spring is advancing, with daffodils, primroses and hellebores now in full bloom.

The lawns at the edge of the woodland were dotted with daisies and celandine flowers, and clumps of daffodils.  Under the trees in the woodland, there was plenty of fresh new growth of nettles, cleavers and lords-and-ladies (cuckoo pint) leaves growing strongly.  There was one dandelion in bloom – the first of many more to come, and a few clumps of primroses along the path edge.  We also spotted bluebell leaves emerging from the ground, foxglove foliage and other leafy plants we were unable to identify until they flower.  We couldn’t see him, but a blackbird was singing loudly in the trees above our heads.  We heard and spotted a crow cawing in the trees, and a great tit in the undergrowth.

In a sheltered spot in the woodland, the leaf buds were beginning to break on some of the hazels, showing fresh green new leaves ready to unfurl.  The usual flock of chaffinches was absent today, but we did see a few individuals on the ground and in the undergrowth.

At the edge of the pond and on the island, the goat willow flowers had matured from the silver grey pussy willow catkins of last month to bright yellow with pollen.  In and around the water there seemed to be very little activity today, with a solitary male mallard duck on the water, and a robin singing in the trees at the edge of the path.  We heard a loud bird call from the island, but were unable to see or identify what bird this was (our volunteer bird expert was unable to attend today).

The meadow was very wet and muddy following the recent heavy rain, so we kept to the drier areas.  Just across the fence bordering the pond, we could see clumps of snowdrops and wood anemone flowering beneath the trees.  There were lots of plants beginning to grow strong new leaves, together with many lesser celandine flowers on the meadow.  We could hear a wren singing loudly somewhere in the hedgerow.  Up in the sky beyond the pond, we caught a glimpse of what was probably a buzzard, but it disappeared behind the trees before we could get a second look to identify it for certain.

Heading back through the park, we saw a thrush feasting on ivy berries, and a couple of wood pigeons flying towards the trees.  Nearer the house, there were lots of snowdrops in big clumps along the bank by the haha and under the trees.  Also lots more nettles and docks emerging here too, and yet more lesser celandines and daisies on the lawns, plus evidence of moles in the form of  molehills.  We saw more wood anemones in the shrubbery area behind the museum, and the empty shell of a bird’s egg in two halves on the ground – a fairly large (approx 3cm long?), pure white egg, most likely pigeon.

A fairly quiet day for wildlife, probably because of the blustery wind conditions, but there was definitely a sense of spring in the air and the energy of new growth getting ready to burst forth!

Debbie Rose Lewis – Wildlife Volunteer