Bute Park in Cardiff has butterflies and bees

by BardofEly

Bute Park in Cardiff is often called the Castle Grounds and is very near Cardiff Castle, as well as being on the bank of the River Taff and near Cardiff City centre.

Welcome to Bute Park
Bute Park is one of the biggest and most popular parks in Cardiff. It is situated right next to Cardiff Castle and the bank of the River Taff runs along one side of it. Some people call it the "Castle Grounds."
As an area of parkland right in the heart of the city it offers plenty of space for people to enjoy walking, relaxing, and attending events when these are held there such as rock concerts and festivals. At the same time it is has a large variety of wildlife that can be seen in the varied habitats it offers. The River Taff supports many fish and water birds as well as a varied flora along its banks and the accompanying woodland.
Flower borders in the park as well as wild-flowers that are allowed to flourish provide a much-needed environment for butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects to enjoy.

Butterflies, Honeybees and Bumblebees


Several species of butterfly can be seen in Bute Park and in late summer and early autumn colourful species such as the Small Tortoiseshell (Vanessa urticae) and the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) can be seen sipping nectar from flowers in the well-planted and tended borders.

The Small Tortoiseshell, until recently, has been a very common insect in the UK but its numbers have been dropping fast. To find it holding its own in Bute Park is very encouraging conservation news.

The caterpillars of both the Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell feed on Stinging Nettles and these grow in large patches along the banks of the Cardiff Dock Feeder Canal and elsewhere in the park. This slowly moving canal runs along the opposite side of the park to the river. It has a footpath that you can stroll along as far as the playing fields by the St John's Ambulance depot.

Mallards can often be seen swimming on this stretch of water and shoals of Roach also frequent these waters. Clumps of the feathery foliage of Water Crowfoot (Ranunculus fluitans) provide hiding places in the gentle current.

All butterflies depend on the availability of their specific food-plant species, and it is a credit to Cardiff Council Parks Department that they allow the Nettles to grow here.

Along the Feeder Canal other interesting wild flowers can be seen including Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and Gipsywort (Lycopus europaeus).

Honeybees and at least two species of Bumblebee are often seen feeding from the cultivated and wild flowers in Bute Park too. Bees have been increasingly becoming far less in numbers over the past decade, so it is excellent to see these insects also thriving in this Cardiff park.

There have been many theories as to why the Honeybee has been dying out and the term "Colony Collapse Disorder" has been coined to give a name to their mysterious disappearance from many parts of the world. Pesticides, diseases, mites and the pollen from genetically engineered crops have all been held to blame for4 killing bees so it is encouraging to see these insects in Bute Park.

The pretty pink flower-heads of the Showy Stonecrop (Hylotelephium spectabile) are usually covered in bees, bumblebees, hover-flies, drone flies and butterflies. This plant, which was previously known as Sedum spectabile, is also aptly known as Butterfly Stonecrop.

Postcard of Red Admiral in Bute Park in Cardiff

Butterflies on flowers

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Red Admiral butterfly on Sedum

Butterflies feeding on late summer flowers

British Birds in Bute Park

Bird watching

There are plenty of birds to be seen in the grounds of Bute Park. Common garden species like the Blackbird (Turdus merula ), the Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) and the Robin (Erithacus rubecula), are easy to spot, and you might also see Tree Creepers (Certhia familiaris) that run like mice up the trunks of trees, and the tiny Goldcrest (Regulus regulus).

Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus), Magpies (Pica pica), Carrion Crows (Corvus corone) and Jackdaws (Coloeus monedula) can often be sighted scavenging and looking for worms on the lawns. Wood Pigeons (Columba palumbus) can be seen and heard.

The River Taff has the occasional Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) and Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) can also be seen here. If you are really lucky you might even catch a glimpse of that living jewel the Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).

In autumn and winter, the Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) is a migrant visitor to Bute Park, and can be seen in small flocks on the grassy lawns. This bird is very similar to its relative the Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) which can also be found here, although it has suffered a serious decline in many parts of the UK.

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Grey Squirrels

Plenty of huts

Grey Squirrels are found all around Bute Park and in autumn they have a plentiful supply of nuts to feast on. There are Beech, Sweet Chestnut and Horse Chestnut trees as well as Pines.

These enterprising animals also raid the litter bins of the park as they scavenge around for food.

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A Haven for Wildlife

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In conclusion it can be said that Bute Park provides a much-needed haven for wildlife right in the heart of the capital of Wales. It is a wonderful place to spend time in at any time of the year if you enjoy the wonders of the natural world.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

How to find Bute Park

By Cardiff Castle
Updated: 10/24/2012, BardofEly
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