County of Ceredigion

Buzzard Buteo buteo ©David Miller Website

Vice County No: 46

Ceredigion is a county (and vice-county) in Mid Wales known for centuries in English as Cardiganshire. This historic county was abolished in 1974 before being reconstituted in 1996 under the Welsh name Ceredigion. Its largest town, Aberystwyth, is one of the two administrative centres; the other being Aberaeron. Aberystwyth houses Aberystwyth University, Bronglais Hospital and the National Library of Wales. The inland town of Lampeter houses part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Ceredigion is a coastal county, bordered by Cardigan Bay to the west, Meirionnydd & Montgomeryshire to the north, Radnorshire and Brecknockshire to the east, Carmarthenshire to the south and Pembrokeshire to the south-west. Its area is under 700 square miles and has a population of c.80,000 (making it the second most sparsely populated county in Wales) more than half of whom speak the Welsh language – the county is considered a centre of Welsh culture.

The county is mainly rural with a low coastal strip along the margins of Cardigan Bay surrounded by a mountainous hinterland; the Cambrian Mountains cover much of the east of the county. There are a number of sandy beaches linked by the long-distance Ceredigion Coast Path. On the slopes of Pumlumon five rivers have their sources: the Severn, the Wye, the Dulas, the Llyfnant and the Rheidol, the last of which meets the Afon Mynach in a 300 feet plunge at the Devil’s Bridge chasm. The largest river is the River Teifi which forms the border with Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire for part of its length.

The economy became almost completely dependent on dairy-farming and the rearing of livestock, which were sent to the English market. During the last century or so, livestock farming has become less profitable, and the population of Cardiganshire has been in decline as people emigrated to more prosperous parts of Wales and elsewhere. More recently, the population has started rising again as elderly people move into the county for retirement, and various government initiatives have encouraged tourism and other alternative sources of income.

Birding Ceredigion

Ceredigion is one of only two places in the United Kingdom with a permanent presence of bottlenose dolphins. Red kite may be seen in various localities in the county, but at the Red Kite Feeding Centre near Tregaron, they are fed each day, and large numbers congregate along with hungry crows, buzzards and other birds.

For birders the county is probably best known for Tregaron Bog in the South East, which was Wales best Kite hotspot, although with the widespread re-introduction scheme across the UK this is less of a draw than it once was.

Apart from the top sites in the section below, the following offer some terrific birding: New Quay (a few breeding auks & gulls; seawatching; dolphins / porpoises). Aberaeron (seawatching [dolphins / porpoises], etc.) Devil’s Bridge [Nr Aberystwyth] (raptors – inc Kites – etc.) Clarach [Nr Aberystwyth] (seawatching, etc.) Ynyslas [nr Borth] (W-f Geese, waders; seawatching, etc.).

Top Sites
  • NNR Cors Caron (Tregaron Bog)

    InformationSatellite View
    Cors Caron covers an area of approximately 862 acres (349 ha). It represents the most intact surviving example of a raised bog landscape in the United Kingdom. About 44 different species groups inhabit the area including various land and aquatic plants, fish, insects, crustaceans, lichen, fungi, terrestrial mammals and birds.
  • RSPB Ynys-hir

    WebpageSatellite View
    Just off the A487, North of Aberystwyth, six miles South of Machynlleth. An unusual RSPB reserve in that it combines a western woodland, with all the associated birds [see Dinas, above] with a wetland: Breeding R-b Mergansers, Goosanders, Shelduck, Canada and Greylag Geese [feral], a few [declining] waders, etc.. Winter: Greenland White-fronted Geese, a few Whoopers; ducks and waders galore. Uncommon migrants regular; rarities from time to time; Kites increasing. Nearby Borth Bog [SN 620 910] is also well worth a visit, especially in winter.
  • Eric Wydenbach

County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 292

  • eBird Field Checklist

    This checklist is generated with data from eBird (, a global database of bird sightings from birders like you. If you enjoy this checklist, please consider contributing your sightings to eBird. It is 100% free to take part, and your observations will help support birders, researchers, and conservationists worldwide.
Useful Reading

Useful Information
  • BTO Rep: Naomi Davis

    Organises all BTO surveys apart from those by Russell Jones (see County Bird Reporter above)
  • County Bird Report

    PDF Latest Report
    The Ceredigion Bird Report is now published as a PDF and is available for download on the WOS website.
  • Ceredigion Birds and Wildlife

    Facebook Page
    Public group · 10.1K members
  • The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales

    The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is one of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK. We are the fourth largest in area, covering from Cardiff and Caerphilly in the east to Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire in the west, and include 3 of the West Wales islands amongst our 90 or so nature reserves - Nature Centre, Parc Slip, Fountain Road, Tondu, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan CF32 0EH
  • WOS Ceredigion

    Although there is no bird club, monthly field trips are organised for resident and visiting birdwatchers. Click under Contacts on the Ceredigion Birds blog for details.

Abbreviations Key

  • LNR Allt Crug Garn

    WebpageSatellite View
    The southern third of the site contains the remains of an old plantation, while the northern two thirds is made up of tall old heathland growing on 80cm of peat.
  • LNR Allt Pencnwc, Ystrad Aeron

    WebpageSatellite View
    Quite large Oak trees form the greater part of the canopy, and the reserve has a particularly attractive spring ground flora, with carpets of Lesser Celandine and Wood Sorrel. Bluebells are also present. Woodland birds include Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
  • LNR Caeau Llety Cybi

    WebpageSatellite View
    Steep neutral lowland meadows, enclosed and divided by ancient and species rich hedgerows.
  • LNR Cardigan Island

    WebpageSatellite View
    An island consisting of maritime cliff and slope and grassland plateau, adjacent to northern shore of estuary of river Teifi. There are good views from Cemaes Head & Cardigan Island Farm Park…
  • LNR Coed Penglanowen

    WebpageSatellite View
    The diversity of mature trees provides an excellent habitat for hole nesting birds and all three woodpecker species have been recorded in the past, together with Nuthatch, Pied Flycatcher, Stock Dove, Tawny Owl, and Treecreeper.
  • LNR Coed Phoenix

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Coed Phoenix is a former Spruce plantation that we are transforming into a mosaic of wildlife habitats. The woodland is gradually being restored to predominantly site-native woodland. This will be mainly Sessile Oak, Birch, Willow and Rowan. A variety of additional habitat areas are being created, restored and maintained, including south-facing banks, standing water, reptile hibernation sites, glades, dead wood piles, areas of coppiced woodland and bird and bat boxes. Grassland, wet heath and areas of scrub have also been created or restored and these will be extended over the coming years.
  • LNR Coed y Cwm

    WebpageSatellite View
    The woodland has a range of nooks and crannies where a wide variety of species flourish. In particular, the old quarry area last worked in the 1950's provides many different micro habitats with its rocky cliffs and sheltered hollows.
  • LNR Cwm Clettwr

    WebpageSatellite View
    The breeding bird assemblage, typical of these sorts of habitats, includes Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Nuthatch, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Sparrowhawk and Wood Warbler.
  • LNR Pant Da, Rheidol Valley

    WebpageSatellite View
    The result of this management history has been that the ground flora of the peripheral area is much richer and the many of the trees on the boundary support an interesting epiphytic flora. Since the replanting in the 1980s, an understorey, including Bracken and Bramble scrub has developed, meaning that the reserve has a much greater diversity of woodland birds than the neighbouring, grazed mature Oak woodlands.
  • LNR Parc Natur Penglais

    WebpageSatellite View
    It contains lovely deciduous broadleaved woodland that has a spectacular showing of bluebells in spring, and an old quarry area that gives fantastic views over Cardigan Bay. There is an active local support group for the site and they assist the Council in reserve management.
  • LNR Pen Dinas and Tanybwlch

    PDFSatellite View
    A reserve with something to interest everybody, it consists of an Iron Age Hill-Fort, hay meadow, river, beach, vegetated shingle spit, an old railway track and even a disused landfill site!
  • LNR Teifi Marshes

    InformationSatellite View
    Litterally just across the river (Afon Teifi) in Pembrokeshire the huge Teifi Marshes reserve at Cilgerran extends over some 100 hectares. here are a wide range of habitats, hence the diversity of wildlife, from pasture and wooded hedgerows to freshwater marsh and reedbeds to tidal mudbanks. Asian Water Buffalo are great grazers - their horns help to break up unwanted scrub with the result that they keep the marshland as fen and swamp. The Teifi reserve is also home to a large number of birds such as Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Cetti's Warblers, Kingfishers, Marsh Harriers and even Red Kites.
  • NNR Cors Caron

    InformationSatellite View
    In 2005, construction started on a state-of-the-art bird hide at Cors Caron.[8] Opened in February 2006, the hide provides a viewing point to observe wildlife, especially birds at close range. The bird hide was constructed from sustainably harvested materials, such as Welsh oak. The bog is now maintained by Natural Resources Wales.
  • NNR Dyfi : Ynyslas

    WebpageSatellite View
    The stunning landscape of estuary, sea and mountain is home to a remarkable range of habitats. The area covers Ynyslas Sand Dunes, the Dyfi Estuary Mudflats and Cors Fochno. It is famous for being the Welsh nesting site for Ospreys.
  • NNR Llyn Eiddwen

    WebpageSatellite View
    The lake which extends for 4.5 ha, may be described aptly as a sister to Llyn Eiddwen about 2 km away. It is a more sheltered locality, with a steep sloping basin mire at the southern end and heathland on the steep bank nearest the footpath. The lake is particularly good for dragonflies, damselflies, and caddis flies, as well as a few aquatic Lepidoptera.
  • NNR Rhos Llawr Cwrt

    WebpageSatellite View
    This relatively small NNR is an absolute gem and is home to possibly the largest colony of Marsh Fritillary Butterflies (Euphydryas aurinia) in Britain. Other butterfly species thrive there, too, along with numerous dragonflies and damselflies, soif you are interested in insects this NNR cannot be missed. The small Bwdram Stream runs through the reserve, and signs of Otters (Lutra lutra) have been observed on its banks.
  • NRW Black Covert

    InformationSatellite View
    Black Covert is a peaceful spot by the River Ystwyth which flows through this steep sided valley on its way to Aberystwyth. The Ystwyth Valley woodlands are a mixture of broadleaf and conifer mixes which gives good habitat for Red Kite.
  • RSPB Ynys-hir

    WebpageSatellite View
    With the mountains of southern Snowdonia to the north and the Cambrian hills to the south, the Ynys-hir reserve is stunning whichever way you look. Summer brings wading birds, such as lapwings and redshanks and some very special butterflies. Come the colder months, ducks and geese move in.
Other Links
  • Birds and Wildlife of Cardigan Bay

    West Wales was the last outpost of these once common birds of prey. Hundreds of years of persecution reduced their numbers to a few pairs living in the Tywi and Cothi valleys. Fortunately the efforts of dedicated conservationists has saved the Red Kite from extinction and there are now more than 200 pairs in Wales. You may well see Red Kites as you walk the coast path or drive the lanes of Cardigan Bay.
  • Ceredigion Birds and Wildlife

    Facebook Page
  • Ceredigion Birdwatching

    Ceredigion is a birder’s paradise; the iconic red kite and skylarks soar in the hills, kingfishers and herons fish on the rivers; lapwing, redshank and geese wade on the estuaries while fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes and choughs colonise the cliffs of the coast. Take time to stop, look and listen and you can spot migratory visitors from Africa and the Arctic and rare native birds from warblers to raptors.
  • Ceredigion Coast Path

    The Ceredigion Coast Path follows the spectacular and varied coastline of Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales. Ynys-Lochtyn. Stunning scenery, picturesque villages and a wealth of wildlife - including the highest numbers of dolphin sightings in the UK - make Ceredigion a perfect place for a week's coastal walking.
  • Ceredigion Birds

    Collective Blog - This site has been created to be used and enjoyed by resident birders as well as those visiting Ceredigion. We welcome contributions in the form of sightings and/or photographs from anywhere in the county….

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