Birds to see inland in West Wales - West Wales Holiday Cottages
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Birds to see inland in West Wales

Birds which can be seen inland but which live on or near lakes and rivers are included in our page on Birds to see near fresh water.

Clifftops and moorland

Some birds, whilst not strictly water birds, certainly favour clifftops close to the sea. They love the scrubby vegetation of gorse, heather and thorn bushes. These include Stonechat, Wheatear, Whinchat and Linnet. Many birds favour open moorland as a breeding ground, but they manage to stay well hidden and are very elusive in this habitat.

Woodland

Conservation projects and intervention of bodies such as the RSPB and National Trust have allowed many areas of ancient woodland to support a profusion of small woodland birds which depend on deciduous trees for their nesting and feeding. Coniferous plantation forests attract particular species but their ephemeral nature tends to discourage rare species from setting up permanent residence.

Some woodland birds are likely to visit garden feeders too. For example, the Great Tit and other Tits, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker. Siskin or Brambling might also visit in winter.

Common birds

Your cottage garden may attract a variety of the more sociable birds which may be seen in parks and gardens everywhere: Dunnock (or Hedge Sparrow), Robin, Blue Tit, Blackbird and Song Thrush have not been included as they are well-known and easy to identify.

There are four common members of the Crow family:

Carrion Crow (46cm) is all black and hangs out over moors and farmland as well as by the sea. Not usually in flocks.

Rook is a similar size but has steep forehead and pointier bill. It hangs out in noisy flocks, nesting at the tops of trees on farmland or around villages. Bear in mind the saying is that "a Crow in a crowd is a Rook, a Rook on its own is a Crow".

Jackdaw is smaller with greyish body and head; cap blacker. They bound around in flocks making loud chattering ‘chack-a-chack’ noise.

Raven is huge (63cm) and much like a crow in appearance. They nest on cliff ledges, so you’ll see them on the coast and on mountains. Not to be confused with Chough, which has RED legs and bill.

The Swallow is also fairly well-known but not to be confused with the House Martin and Swift. Swallows are the ones which are dark blue on top, white underneath, with a red chin and very fine, long, forked tail. They sit around on cables; the others do not.

Oystercatcher

Resident
Black and white with long, narrow orange bill. Black head and rump with white underparts. Flight shows broad angled white stripe on each wing and white rump with black tail tip. Large flocks often utter high-pitched twee-twee when in flight. They land in a big tumble and set to feeding on shore or mud.
Size: 43cm
Where: Sea coast, Fresh water, Island

Curlew

Resident
Largest wader of its kind with long down-turned bill. Mainly grey-brown speckled plumage. Reveals white rump in flight. Calls "Cu-urlew" often late into the evening. Breeds on uplands but is often around the Teifi estuary in late summer as well as winter.
Size: 53-58cm
Where: Sea coast, Inland, Island

Herring Gull

Resident
Large and noisy. Grey and white with large yellow bill which has red spot on lower tip. Legs pinkish - NOT yellow.
Size: 56-62cm
Where: Sea coast, Inland, Island

Buzzard

Resident
A large bird sitting on a fence or telegraph post is usually a buzzard; not a golden eagle. Flies with stiff wing beats, then glides. They eat carrion from roads but also small live prey. Streaky brown with paler breast and very dark wing tips with spread 'fingers' in flight.
Size: 55cm
Where: Inland, Island

Chough

Resident
Crow family but more attractive. Slim bird with striking slim, curved, orange beak. Legs orange. It uses upcurrents near cliffs to soar and dive around. In flight: feathers end of wing spread and curled upwards like fingers
Size: 40cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Cormorant

Resident
Water bird with dark plumage and white throat, white feathers on head in spring. Yellowish bill. White patch on thighs. Long and low when swimming. Dives for long periods. Flies low over water with head held well forward. Often stands with wings half spread.
Size: 90cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Lapwing

Winter visitor
Numbers declining. Distinctive long head crest and loud ‘peewit’ call. Flocks swoop and wheel as if blown by wind. Distinctive broad wings with blunt end in flight. Dark greenish with purple of blue wings, white throat and belly plus inner part of underwing. Shows white band above black tail when in flight.
Size: 30cm
Where: Sea coast, Fresh water, Island

Peregrine

Resident
Much larger than Merlin. Male: dark grey head and back with pronounced horizontal grey barring on underside and fluffy legs, yellow at ankle and feet. Nests on cliffs and likes to catch pigeons and waders on the wing. Females much bigger.
Size: 37-48cm
Where: Sea coast, Inland, Island

Kestrel

Resident
The most common of falcons. Bright rusty brown upperparts spotted with black and long, slim tail barred with black, grey head and tail with black band at tip. Female has tail barred brown. Silvery underparts. Hovers or sits on posts.
Size: 33cm
Where: Sea coast, Inland, Island

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Resident
Nests in many coastal locations. Like Herring Gull but dark grey back/upper wings and very yellow legs. Wingtips darker than rest of wing. Inner two thirds of trailing edge of upperwing is white. Bill yellow with orange spot. Red ring around yellow eye. Roosts on reservoirs and lakes.
Size: 55-60cm
Where: Sea coast, Fresh water, Island

Greater Black-backed Gull

Resident
It is largest gull; very dark on back and upper wings. Bill very large and chunky and adult legs pink. Broad white trailing edge on wing plus white patch at tip of wing. Bill yellow with orange spot. Winter can be seen inland but not in W Wales. Nesting pairs are solitary.
Size: 65cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Storm Petrel

Resident
Pelagic. Skokholm mainly . Smallest seabird in British waters – a bit bigger than a sparrow! Dark plumage, white rump, showing as V shape in flight (like House Martin). It flutters near sea with feet dangling. Very square tail; white bar on underwing. Migrants pass close to headlands Sept/Oct – especially in stormy weather.
Size: 14-16cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Manx Shearwater

Resident
Pelagic. Skomer, Skokholm and Ramsey It flies low over water with wings held stiffly. Dark upper and white under. It is a summer visitor and you only see it at night when coming back to nesting burrows. Legs not adapted for land so it can hardly walk.
Size: 30-38cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Fulmar

Resident
Pelagic. Skomer and Ramsey. Looks like gull but petrel family. Has tube nostrils. Flies with stiff, rectangular wings. Often groups to feed; breeds in colonies on cliffs. Regurgitates on intruder if alarmed. Blue grey on top and white under. Dark smudge around eye. Often lingers around breeding grounds all year.
Size: 44-50cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Kittiwake

Resident
Pelagic Skomer and Ramsey. Also Flimston in caves. Very pretty gull. Makes nest with mud, wet grass and saliva. Winter: blue-grey back and upper wing. Black wingtips. White elsewhere. Bill yellow, legs dark and dark patches on head. A few around harbours in winter. Offshore August to October.
Size: 40-42cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Gannet

Resident
Pelagic. Huge colony breed on most remote Pembrokeshire island, Grassholm . Unmistakeable, it has long, narrow wings with black tips. Rest of upper body is white with yellowish head and neck. Very large grey bill and blue eye. It can be seen flying close to headlands all year.
Size: 90cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Common Scoter

Resident
Pelagic. Flies in flocks (sometimes large) quite low over water. Black all over but for yellow bill patch. Close up it has some paler flight feathers. More numerous in winter but can be spotted all year although it does not breed here.
Size: 46-51cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Razorbill

Summer visitor
Pelagic. Most on Skomer; also Skokholm, Ramsey Lots between Angle and Stackpole on South Pembs coast and Needle Rock by Dinas Head. Easy to spot: huge chunky bill with distinctive white stripe. Black and white. Rarely seen outside breeding season.
Size: 38-41cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Guillemot

Summer visitor
Pelagic. Most on Skomer; also on Ramsey Few on Skokholm as ledges not good. Chocolate brown with white belly. Birds favour long, narrow ledges on sheer cliffs and cram themselves in. Lots between Angle and Stackpole on South Pembs coast and on Needle Rock close to Dinas Head.
Size: 41cm
Where: Sea coast, Island

Puffin

Summer visitor
Pelagic. Skokholm and Skomer. None on Ramsey. They are around from March to end August but you won't necessarily see them till they have laid eggs June to mid-July.
Size: 30cm
Where: Sea coast, Island