It seems that we become blasé about the wildlife we see throughout the year here in the UK and feel the need to jump aboard a plane to a new destination to explore more exotic species. But there is a vast amount of wildlife that goes unnoticed or unappreciated in the UK. We have explored some groups of wildlife throughout the articles I’ve written previously for Bay, but here are my personal favourites from my experiences throughout the UK and the wildlife I recommend you all experience!
Red Kites in Mid-Wales:
The red kite, the national bird of Wales, and the bird that put Wales on the map – and one of Wales’ most loved species. We’ve all seen a red kite at some point in our lives with their numbers being brought back from near extinction in the UK during the 50s and 60s; we now see them in towns, fields and almost everywhere in Wales and around the UK itself. But there is nothing as magical as experiencing HUNDREDS of these birds feeding together at the Gigrin Farm Red Kite Centre in Rhayader, Powys, where they supplementary feed the birds. During the experience you position yourself in a hide and await the magical moment when hundreds of red kites, buzzards, ravens, crows etc. all join together to scavenge the food and feed together.
Puffins of Skomer Island:
The Puffin – the humble sea-parrot. One of Wales’ most beloved birds and one on many people’s bucket lists to see. A visit to Skomer Island just off the coast of Pembrokeshire is a must for any animal lover. Once on the island, you are free to roam around the designated paths and explore what wild-life it has to offer from Little Owls, to Meadow Pipits and of course the auks of the island –
Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills. For the majority of the time you will find most Puffins around the Wick area where they will often come around your feet, but you’ll have to plan carefully as they are only here between April and August, sometimes into September.
Staying down in south-west Wales, a must for all dolphin lovers is a trip out to see the resident Bottlenose dolphin population off Cardigan Bay. These curious creatures can often be seen from land near the harbour or from Mwnt, but nothing is quite like hopping aboard a designated dolphin watching trip – I would personally recommend looking into Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre’s trips as you have a marine biologist on board. They go into great detail and provide lots of information, plus you have the opportunity to ask questions. It’s brilliant to see them playing from the boat but also the chance to see otherspecies such as common porpoise, gannets, fulmar and auks along the cliff edges too.
Ospreys of Glaslyn:
A species that is still fairly scarce in the UK is the Ospreys. I absolutely adore these beasts as watching them hunt for fish on the Glaslyn River is truly mesmerising and will leave you in absolute awe of the sheer strength and precision these birds have when it comes to hunting that prized fish. You can visit the visitor centre here to learn about the species but also visit the Dyfi Osprey Project nearby where both centres have live cameras to watch the parents returning from migration in Africa. You can witness them renewing their pair-bond, watch the female carefully incubate her eggs and hopefully even see the chicks! There’s nothing quite like watching them live – although you can watch the live cameras online if you want to keep up to date with the pair after your visit. You must look into your journey as the birds are only here to breed from migration and will arrive around April time before departing in September/October.
These are my four top recommendations that you must experience this year! Do let us know if you visit one of these places and whether you had that magical experience.