Posted on 30/05/2018 by David
The North Wales coast is many things: a water-sports hot spot, a tourist attraction, a romantic setting for a stroll, a national treasure. It’s also the natural habitat for a range of wildlife, and is an incredibly important ecological and biological location within the UK as a whole.
Whether you’re a seasoned wildlife watcher or simply want a day trip with a difference, a trip to the North Wales coast is a superb day out. Conservation and the protection of our coastline is really important to us as a region and organisations such as North Wales Wildlife Trust do amazing work to keep our coastline pristine.
Below, we take a look at some of the area’s most amazing wildlife, and tell you where to visit to get up close and personal with some unique Welsh wildlife.
Cute, lovable and perfect stars for your seaside snaps, grey seals can often be found in and around the waters of North Wales – it is believed there are around 5,000 seals living in Welsh waters.
A particular hotbed for these large mammals is the Llyn Peninsula; combine a stunning coastal walk along the headland here with the chance to spot them; they can often be spotted lounging on secluded beaches.
Puffins are so beloved here that they have their own island named after them! Although the synonymous inhabitants of Puffin Island, just off the coast of Anglesey, are actually quite a rare sight nowadays, the colourful birds are still visible to lucky visitors.
The island is protected, and you can’t actually step foot ashore, though well-organised cruises sail close to the coast and offer the chance to spot hundreds of seabirds basking in the sun, hunting and nesting. The puffins who live here are remarkable too: most breeding colonies make a habit of digging burrows for nests, though Puffin Island’s residents lay their eggs atop the craggy cliff face.
Puffin Island is home to more than its name would suggest. There are around 10 species of seabird on the island, making a cruise around its shores the perfect day out for avid twitchers and nature lovers alike.
There are over 2,000 pairs of guillemots and over 1,000 lesser black-backed gulls here, but it’s the cormorants that really draw the headlines – here you’ll find the UK’s largest population of the large black seabird. Other species here include razorbills, shags, herring gulls, kittiwakes and fulmars.
To see another selection of North Wales’s varied and rich birdlife, head to the Spinnies, near Bangor, for an array of ducks and waders who live in the beautiful ponds and lagoons.
Though Wales’s dolphins have often been known to congregate further south in the past, with the UK’s largest pod calling Cardigan Bay’s waters home, in recent years there have been numerous sightings of dolphins playing and swimming further up north.
Bull Bay, off the Anglesey coast, is a particular hot spot for spotting Risso and bottlenose dolphins. Take to the water for a chance to spot pods – sometimes numbering dozens of dolphins – frolicking in the sparkling water; it really is a stunning sight.
Take a look at this amazing video of dolphins frolicking near Abersoch over the early May Bank Holiday.
Ospreys were considered extinct in the UK for almost 100 years, but in 2004 a pair were discovered right here in North Wales, bringing the species back.
The cosmopolitan birds spend each winter in Africa, before jetting back here to breed and raise their family. In the space of five years the pair had created a dozen-strong brood; now the Glaslyn Osprey Project near Porthmadog keeps a 24-hour watch to preserve the species.
To find the perfect place to stay during your wildlife odyssey in North Wales, browse our collection of charming cottages to find the right one for you and yours.
Images courtesy: grey seal by Amanda Boyd, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Puffin and dolphin, © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales, all rights reserved. Osprey by By מינוזיגfrom Wikimedia Commons.