The Isle of Anglesey holds a wealth of sites of natural interest and is one of the most rewarding areas for bird watching in Britain.
An absence of pollution, heavy industry and highly intensive agriculture means that plant and wildlife on the island can flourish freely. Only 25 miles across it has an incredible variety of habitats: sea cliffs, rocky shores, muddy and sandy estuaries, dunes, lagoons, large reservoirs, many small land heaths, coniferous and broad-leaf woods, scrub and mixed farmland. Just across the Menai Strait, only 10 miles from the island, are the mountains, moorland and hanging oak woods of Snowdonia.
Jutting out into the Irish Sea, Anglesey is one of the finest places for sea-watching and is a focal point for migrants. The mild climate makes the island very attractive to wintering birds, especially wildfowl.
Up to date information on birds recently seen in the area may be obtained from:
‘Birdline Wales’ – Phone 01891 700 700
The Birds spotted by guest at Parc Newydd
Birds of Prey
Peregrine, sparrow hawk, kestrel, buzzard and barn owl all breed around the area. Red kite sightings are increasing. Hen harrier and Merlin are widespread in winter. Marsh harrier and one report of an osprey perhaps on migration. On Anglesey short-eared owls are regular in dunes and wetlands in winter and on migration. Rough legged buzzards are occasional in winter.
South Stack can be good in spring for shearwaters and skuas. Point Lynas is usually best in autumn. Cemlyn can be good at both seasons. For wintering sea ducks, divers, grebes and gulls, Llanddwyn Bay, Penmon, Red Wharf Bay, Cemlyn Bay, Holyhead Harbour and Beddmanarch Bay can all be rewarding. South Stack is the most spectacular site for auks, and on Puffin Island there is one of the largest cormorant colonies in the country. Cemlyn is the best site for terns.
Wetland and Estuaries
There are over 60 lakes on Anglesey and numerous wetlands, attracting large numbers of wetland species. In winter these usually include arctic swans, brent and white-fronted geese, pintail, a range of more common wildfowl, water rail, jack snipe and bittern. Cetti’s warblers are recent arrivals. Spotted crake have been recorded in recent springs. The estuaries, shallow coastal lagoons and inland waters (if mud exposed) attract a range of migrant and wintering waders including greenshank, green sandpiper, ruff, black-tailed godwit and rarities.
Land Birds – Resident
Grey partridge, stonechat, yellow hammer, reed bunting, redpoll and siskin are all widespread, though local. Crossbills are normally present in the conifer breed at several locations (esp. South Stack) and move about in winter. Ravens are common on the island – the spectacular roost at Newbrough Forest has reached 1600 and said to be the second largest in the world.
The wetlands, dunes and scrub attract a range of warblers including reed, sedge and grasshopper warblers and lesser whitethroat. In woodlands, pied flycatcher, wood warbler, tree pipit and redstart occur only sporadically but are common on the mainland – Try Aber Valley SH6671. Amongst the rarities, quail occur in varying numbers and clear felling in forestry plantations may encourage nightjar to return.
The mild winter climate attracts blackcap, chiff chaff and firecrest. Flocks of redwings, fieldfares, lapwings and bramblings frequent the farmland and woods. Twite from Snowdonia visits coastal sites, plus occasional snow buntings and shore lark. Woodcock can be common in damp woods, especially Newborough Forest.
South Stack and Holyhead Breakwater Park/Soldier’s Point are probably best for spring and autumn passerine rarities: but try also Cemlyn, Penmon and Point Lynas.
Birds are cool