Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Gwynedd

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus ©Nigel Blake Website

Birding Gwynedd

Gwynedd is an area in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. As a local government area, it is the second biggest in terms of geographical area and also one of the most sparsely populated. Most of the population is Welsh-speaking. (The name Gwynedd is also used for a preserved county, covering the two local government areas of Gwynedd and the Isle of Anglesey. Culturally and historically, the name can also be used for most of North Wales the area covered by the Gwynedd Constabulary, corresponding to the approximate territory of the Kingdom of Gwynedd at its greatest extent.)

Gwynedd borders the counties of Conwy, Anglesey over the Menai Strait, Powys, and Ceredigion over the River Dyfi. The current area is 980+ square miles, (slightly smaller than Luxembourg) with a population (2011) of over 120,000. The largest settlements are Bangor, Caernarfon, Bethesda and Ffestiniog. The largest settlement in the south is Tywyn. It encompasses the former counties of Caernarfon and Meirionnydd, which are still used as bird recording areas. Gwynedd includes the scenic Llŷn Peninsula, and most of Snowdonia National Park.

Gwynedd Local Nature Reserves spread across 1700 hectares of land, which protects important habitats and species. Most of Gwynedd is mountainous, with a number of peaks over 1,000 metres high, and only a narrow strip of coastal plain in the north of the county. There is lower, but still hilly, ground on the Llyn peninsula to the west.

The mountain areas have good numbers of Peregrine, with smaller numbers of Chough, while in May Dotterel on passage are regular on the Carneddau range. Bardsey Island at the tip of the Llyn peninsula has a bird observatory that welcomes visitors and is a site where almost anything could turn up. Buzzard and Raven are both present in large numbers and can be seen almost anywhere.

Top Sites

Bardsey Island

Website

Satellite View

Buzzard, Raven, and almost anything else can turn up.

Lafan Sands

Information

Satellite View

Wildfowl & Waders - The area has a range of exposures and a diversity of conditions, enhanced by freshwater streams that flow across the flats. The site is of importance for wintering waterbirds, especially Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus. In conditions of severe winter weather, Traeth Lafan acts as a refuge area for Oystercatchers displaced from the nearby Dee Estuary.

Contributor

Rhion Pritchard

Caernarfon County Recorder

Pant Afonig, Hafod Lane, Bangor, Gwynedd. LL57 4BU

rhion678pritchard@gmail.com

County Recorder

Jim Dustow (Meirionnydd)

Afallon, 7 Glan y Don, Rhiwbryfdir, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd LL41 3LW

01766 830976

jim.dustow@rspb.org.uk

Rhion Pritchard (Caernarfon)

Pant Afonig, Hafod Lane, Bangor, Gwynedd. LL57 4BU

01248 671301

rhion678pritchard@gmail.com

Useful Reading

Best Birdwatching Sites in North Wales

by Alan Davies & Owen Roberts | Buckingham Press | 2015 | Paperback | 192 Pages

ISBN: 9780955033940

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Breeding Birds of North Wales / Adar Nythu Gogledd Cymru

Edited by Anne Brenchley, Geoff Gibbs, Rhion Pritchard & Ian M Spence | Liverpool University Press | 2013 | Hardback | 448 Pages & 200 Colour Illustrations & Photos with maps

ISBN: 9781846318580

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

County Bird

There is no official county bird - however the Cambrian Ornithological Society have a Peregrine Falco peregrinus as a logo and the Bangor Bird Group have a Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Organisations

Cambrian Ornithological Society - Cymdeithas Adarydda Cambria

Facebook Page

The COS is for all birdwatchers with an interest in the north-west Wales area; the new counties of Anglesey, Gwynedd and the western part of Conwy.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)

Accessible Reserves

Webpage

Each of the following links lead to a BFA assessment of the reserve by BFA members and others, using the BFA form. ALL types of mobility problem are assumed so there are details of path surfaces, gradients and distances as well as benches and hide details.

BBFO Bardsey Island Bird & Field Observatory

Information

Satellite View

Bardsey Bird & Field Observatory is one of only two accredited bird observatories in Wales and is one of a network of 20 around the coast of the UK and Ireland. Founded in 1953, the Observatory has been monitoring the island's birds and wildlife ever since.

Gwynedd Local Nature Reserves

Webpage

Annotated list of reserves - Gwynedd Nature Reserves spread across 1700 hectares of land, which protects important habitats and species. All these sites are managed in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, RSPB Cymru, a number of town or community councils and other community groups.

NNR Morfa Harlech

Webpage

Satellite View

A coastal landscape with a vast dune system of international importance. The sand flats and salt marsh in the estuary are important feeding grounds for winter wildfowl while otters and water voles use the estuary’s waterways.

NP Snowdonia

Information

Satellite View

Snowdonia is a mountainous region in north west Wales and a national park covering 823 square miles. The English name for the area derives from Snowdon, which is the highest mountain in Wales at 3560 feet. The park is governed by the Snowdonia National Park Authority, which is made up of local government and Welsh representatives.

NRW Coed y Brenin (King's Forest)

Information

Satellite View

Black Grouse may be spotted on the forest fringes where the moor meets the trees.The males are easy to recognise with their distinctive black feathers and lyre shaped tail in flight. The females, however, are less easy to distinguish from Red Grouse which also inhabit the forest edges. Large and small raptors can be spotted all over the forest. Buzzards soar high above the valleys; Goshawks (known as the phantom of the forest) are more secretive and are extremely difficult to spot as they glide through tall mature trees and into thick undergrowth to catch their prey. Red Kites are also becoming more common as they distribute themselves north of their range. They are the easiest big raptor to spot with their large forked red tail. Peregrines are also present but not common. If you are really lucky you may spot a Merlin but you have to be quick…

NWWT Spinnies - Aberogwen

Webpage

Satellite View

Spinnies Nature Reserve is very close to Bangor, and is situated on the edge of the Menai Strait at mouth of the River Ogwen. This nature reserve, along with Traeth Lafan which is connected to it, and Morfa Madryn and Morfa Aber, all three of which are managed by Gwynedd County Council, is one of the top locations in Wales to see wildfowl and waders.

NWWT Traeth Glaslyn

Webpage

Satellite View

A good place to see estuarine birds throughout the year with a range of habitats from open water to woodland. A large estuarine site to the east of Porthmadog, part of the Glaslyn Marshes SSSI. It is especially interesting because it provides a good example of seral succession - the habitat changes from brackish open water, through mudflats, marshes and wet grassland to damp alder carr. Excellent views of estuarine birds can be had throughout the year, particularly good for winter wildfowl.

RSPB Mawddach Valley - Coed Garth Gell

Webpage

Satellite View

Nestled in the spectacular Mawddach Valley, Coed Garth Gell is a woodland and heathland nature reserve which is internationally important for the rare mosses, liverworts and lichens which grow amongst the ancient oaks. Pied flycatchers, redstarts, wood warblers and lesser horseshoe bats all call this wonderful place home.

Forums & Mailing Lists

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birds of Snowdonia

Tour Operator

Immerse yourself in the most beautiful scenery the British Isles has to offer. Welcome to Snowdonia, land of myths and legends, with the National Park covering over 800 square miles. Where else can you find beautiful valleys, snow capped mountains, stunning lakes and rivers, not to mention the unrivalled beaches?

Shearwater Coastal Cruises - Pelagics

Tour Operator

Shearwater is a large, stable luxury charter boat conducting seabird watching tours along the beautiful coast of the Lleyn Peninsula, from Pwllheli…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Minffordd Hotel - Talyllyn Tywyn

Accommodation

Visit the many local bird sanctuaries and see the rare Red Kite…

The Sandpiper Guesthouse - Barmouth

Accommodation

The Sandpiper is situated on the seafront at Barmouth with sea views and free parking.

Wern Fawr Manor Farm

Accommodation

Exceptional self-catering cottages and B&B offered in the heart of the Lleyn Peninsula, North Wales. We have buzzards, barn owls and numerous others.

Observatories

Bardsey Bird Observatory

Observatory Website

Satellite View

Bardsey Bird & Field Observatory is one of only two accredited bird observatories in Wales and is one of a network of 20 around the coast of the UK and Ireland. Founded in 1953, the Observatory has been monitoring the island's birds and wildlife ever since. The Observatory is based in the old farmhouse at Cristin (built by Lord Newborough in 1874). There is accommodation for up to 12 guests from Saturday to Saturday. Everyone is welcome, birder or not! The whole observatory can be booked for group visits.

Blogs

Rich & Giselle - Lighthouse Journal

Blog

Not updated since 2013 - Rich is the Assistant Warden at Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory. He has lived on remote Welsh Islands for the past six years. He's spot on with all things avian; a brilliant birder, fantastic ringer and a patient photographer. He's my boyfriend and I share his way of life with him….

Zac Hinchcliffe - Zac Hinchcliffe's Birding Blog

BLOG

I love birds and all wildlife. Here are some of my trips and my attempt at pretending to know what I'm talking about.

Other Links

Bio-diversity in Gwynedd

Website

It is difficult to associate Gwynedd with one particular type of landscape as it contains a varied range of habitats. On the Lleyn Peninsula we have wonderful views of the coast, dramatic rocky cliffs leading down to beautiful beaches and sand dune systems. The landscape of this area has been forged from a system of open rough grazing, white farmhouses, and hedges which line the narrow little lanes around the Lleyn…

Shell Island

Webpage

Based in North Wales and boasting stunning views of the unspoilt Welsh countryside, including Cardigan Bay and the Snowdonia National Park, Shell Island is one of Europe’s largest Campsites. Although there are many birds to be seen in the Summer, the Winter brings in the wintering wild fowl. Ducks, Geese, Grebes, Cormorants, Herons, Lapwings, Oyster Catchers, Redshanks, Plovers, Snipes, Curlews, to name but a few, can all be found here.