Male adder

Male adder
By Peter Byles

Thursday, 28 July 2016

NURSERY WEB SPIDER Pisaura mirabilis

This striking spider was found in a neighbour's garden. She was vigorously
defending a web full of purple spiderlings and quite hard to photograph. I
had quite a time trying to identify it, but found an excellent website. As I
keep finding with creatures I've never identified before, it is described as
widespread and common!

Peter Byles.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Water Voles

One, possibly two, seen on the Western Cleddau over the weekend, between St Catherine's and Trefgarne bridges.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Nature is tough

A huge hole had been dug at the base of an old Pembs bank alongside the coast path.  One of our local badgers has had a good feed. The Red-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, have lost their home.
Peter Byles, Ceibwr.

Thursday, 14 July 2016


We have a breeding colony of Soprano Pipistrelle bats in our bedroom roof - they are extremely noisy at night (sounds like they are running around with clogs on) but it only lasts for a couple of months so we put up with it. Usually they go up into the roof under the fascia board but this morning in the garden I could hear more-than-usually-loud bat communication squeaks and realised that there was a little cluster of about 7 bats tucked up underneath the gable end. I wonder why they are there? Are they adults or juveniles? Are they juveniles that couldn't find the way back in?
That's the trouble with wildlife - every sighting just leads to more questions!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Tree Bumblebee nest

We have had Tree Bumblebees in our garden for several years now - we often see them on the raspberry flowers - see pic. 

This year they have nested in our compost heap - the entrance is between two wooden slats at the front of the centre bin. Peter unsuspectingly heaped a new load of stuff on to the top only to be confronted with about 6 angry bees whizzing out of the hole and he actually got stung. When we realised what was going on we also noticed a single bee patrolling up and down outside the nest - we thought it was a "guard" bee but we now know it was a "male on surveillance" because we read an excellent paper on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website about Tree Bumblebees and their nests.
So we know not to create sudden vibrations - Peter has found he can put compost on the adjacent heap very carefully without being attacked! Since we noticed the nest the weather has been awful so I'm not sure how they're getting on.

But you can see how they have spread so successfully - they nest in protected places where badgers can't dig them up and they are quite aggressive.

Ruby-tailed Wasp up to something

With a West wind howling off the sea the only insects out and about
today were intrepid Bumblebees. However we have a lean-to greenhouse with
lots of stuff in flower and an open door. Many different  bees ,wasps and
hoverflies and a family of Great Tits have taken to popping in when it is
rough outside.

      A little earlier in the year Mason Wasps were using the open ends of
bamboo canes for nesting.

     Today I found this Ruby-tailed Wasp, Chrysis ignita -( you can see the
'horns' on the tail end) . It is a Kleptoparasite (like a cuckoo) and lays
eggs in the nests of Mason Wasps. This one kept buzzing about, sunning
itself and repeatedly returning to this cane and disappearing down the hole
at the end. Do they lay clutches of eggs? I'd just love to know what goes
on. I am loth to cut the cane open just to satisfy my curiosity. Has anyone
any ideas?

      Peter Byles

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Volunteers required for otter survey

We urgently need volunteers in your area for otter field work. Please could you consider helping us, and sharing the advert below with your local mammal contacts?

Do you have experience of otter surveys and can survey the Tywi, Tefi or Cleddau catchments in west Wales?
We need your help to investigate if otter diet has changed over the past 30 years. In the next couple of months we need to visit around 90 river sites in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion and collect otter spraint for diet analysis. We are repeating surveys conducted in the 1980s and 1990’s. 

We can provide site maps, sample gloves and bags and travel expenses. If you are interested in helping, please contact To find out more about our work, please visit

Many thanks

Eleanor Kean

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Puffins busy feeding chicks!

A great workshop on Skomer yesterday with adult birds frequently flying in with beak-fulls of small sandeels for their newly hatched chicks. The little owl showed well and an oystercatcher was very confiding on the rocks on the track back to the ferry. A guillemot chick was seen near the landing and another pair were incubating an egg. The island is now pink with a fantastic floral display by the pink campion.

Strange sightings in Dale Roads and Castle Beach Bay

2 razorbills  just off Dale Fort and Monkhaven and 4 puffins seen in Castle Beach Bay in the fog this morning  Were they lost?  Did they feel safe because of the fog?

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A New Wildlife Recording Group for Pembrokeshire?

It would be great to encourage keen naturalists and wildlife spotters who may not be actively involved in recording at the moment to meet up and do some focussed wildlife spot-ting and identification in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside. Working with the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre (WWBIC), 1km squares which are currently very under-recorded could be targeted, or sites of particular wildlife interest could be explored. The group would aim to identify accurately the species seen and submit these sightings as biological records to WWBIC.

Anyone with a keen interest in natural history would be very welcome to come along and take part, regardless of experience or level of knowledge. Support can be provided to the uninitiated in the process of biological re-cording and WWBIC will ensure records are properly verified and entered into their data-base.

If we can get a few enthusiastic and hardy souls together, the focus will be on shared enjoyment of Pembrokeshire's natural heritage and the outcome will hopefully be some good quality biological data, helping to fill some of the gaps in the County's database of records. If you'd like to have a chat about coming along and getting the group going, please email me at

Clare Flynn