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.

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Coal Tit

Resident
Has black head, white cheek, white patch on back of neck and 2 rows of white spots across wings. Otherwise similar to Marsh and Coal Tits. Very agile. Takes whole nut from feeder and buries it or eats it alone.
Size: 11cm
Where: Inland

Willow Tit

Resident
Less easy to spot than Marsh Tit. Chunkier head with thick neck and dull cap. Favours damp woods: alder and willow so less likely to be close to casual spotters. Song quite musical: si-si tchay-tchay-tchay.
Size: 12cm
Where: Inland

Linnet

Resident
Carduelis. Likes open heath and cliff scrub. Perches on bushes or wires. Male: rosy breast in summer; tawny brown on top with dark wings showing white streaks in flight. Tail black and white with deep fork. Feeds on seeds on ground, often flocking with finches and sparrows in winter. Chi-chi chiu plus warbling.
Size: 15cm
Where: Sea coast, Inland

Redpoll

Resident
Carduelis genus. Likes trees but also comes down to feed. Very streaky underparts, black bib. Male: pale rosy breast and dark red forehead. Birch and larch preferred food. Flocks bounce around in flight and make loud rattling 'check' sound.
Size: 12cm
Where: Inland

Reed Bunting

Resident
Mostly beside water but may appear in winter fields. Male: black head in summer (grey/brown winter) with white collar. Streaky brown/black back tinged with yellowish brown. Freckled greyish underparts. Female: dark crown and white eye stripe. Tail: blunt. Black with broad white patches on sides.
Size: 16cm
Where: Inland, Fresh water

Meadow Pipit

Resident
Walks around on open moors and marshes and flocks on fields in winter. Pale grey or brown above with dark streaks and prominent white-edged black 'frill' at top of wing when at rest. Very streaky breast - cream or pale orangish buff. It flutters about jerkily doing squeaky chirps.
Size: 15cm
Where: Inland

Treecreeper

Resident
An extremely cute little bird; it creeps up tree trunks to find insects. Little downcurved bill. Mottled pale brown on top with darker patches on wing. Pales underside. Doesn't visit garden feeders.
Size: 13cm
Where: Inland

Sparrowhawk

Resident
Upperparts all-over grey/blue with pale rust bars and white below. Shorter, more pointed tail than Kestrel. Long, yellow legs. No spotted feathers above. Often flies a few feet above the road for quite a distance. Females bigger than male with browner upperside.
Size: 27-37cm
Where: Inland

Common Gull

Resident
Medium sized. Dainty bill not bright yellow. Grey and white. Herring gull is much more common in West Wales.
Size: 40-42cm
Where: Sea coast, Inland

Wheatear

Summer visitor
Early summer visitor. Appears March. Favours open grassland on cliffs. Back pale greyish brown and yellowish breast; black eyestripe edged white above; in flight: dark wings, bright white rump and black T-shape at tip. It runs along the ground rather than hopping around.
Size: 14cm
Where: Sea coast, Inland

Pied Flycatcher

Summer visitor
Likes old woods, particularly oak with clearings. Very recognisable with striking black and white plumage. They have been tempted into Welsh woods with nesting boxes.
Size: 13cm
Where: Inland

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

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

Wood Warbler

Summer visitor
Very similar to Chiffchaff but with warbling song. Rather yellow in tone with long wingtips. Likes high trees with spaces between: beech and oak. Hard to see when trees in leaf. Never seen around coasts or gardens.
Size: 12cm
Where: Inland

Willow Warbler

Summer visitor
Arrive April. Brighter and more yellowish than chiff chaff. Legs pale pinky. Longer primary feathers so longer wings. Long distance migrants. Trilly warble with descending tone at end.
Size: 10cm
Where: Inland

Jay

Resident
A glamorous bird often seen in flight near oak woods or on tree-lined verges. Striking blue on front edge of wing, white in centre and black at lower edge. Wing tips grey; white rump and black tail. Russet elsewhere.
Size: 34cm
Where: Inland

Whinchat

Summer visitor
Rough grassland or coast with gorse, bracken and heather. Perches on bushes or hops on ground. Spring male: speckled crown, dark cheeks edged with white stripes. Breast is pale orange fading to buff. In flight: tail dark tip; white patch each side. Song like robin but has some harsh sounds thrown in.
Size: 13cm
Where: Inland
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