A pick of bird watching trails for all the family
Wales has great wildlife and our many nature reserves make them accessible for the whole family, here we mention just some of the highlights.
Canadian geese by Nathaniel3390The Grey Heron Trail around the perimeter of the RSPB Conwy nature reserve is about two miles long and is great for seeing the wildlife on the estuary saltmarsh.
At the east end of the reserve, there is a choice of trails, with one giving access to the Vardre viewpoint where you can see wading birds roost at high tide.
In the reedbeds opposite the Vardre viewpoint listen out for a noise like a pig squealing - its a water rail, and further along this trail you might also spot herons and little egrets in the pine trees on the other side of the estuary.
For a longer route you could follow the coastal footpath and cycleway to Llandudno or Conwy, along the banks of the river Conwy, or make your way back through the car park for a nice cuppa in the cafe and a mooch round the reserve shop.
The trail is accessible to all, but muddy and uneven in places, with areas that may be more challenging to wheelchair users.
RSPB Ynys Hir
RSPB Ynys Hir, Ceredigion by Michael DayThe wetland route at the RSPB wetland trail at Ynys-hir will take you more than 3.5 miles round the reserve and you’ll see pools, peat bog, reedbeds and saltmarsh. In winter you’ll be able watch lapwings, wigeons and teals from the Ynys Feurig hide.
The Breakwater Hide is the place to view the Greenland white-fronted geese that visit for the winter. In summer you can spot lapwings and peregrines while red kites soar above and lizards lounge on the boardwalk.
Newport Wetlands Reserve
Newport Wetlands RSPB Reserve, Vale of UskRunning directly alongside the Wales Coastal Path, Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve (NNR) covers over 1,000 acres of unspoilt wildlife habitat, and is a haven for birdlife. The Wetlands are ideal for families, with events, walks & activities throughout the year offering entertainment and education.
This walk starts form the RSPB Visitor Centre down Saltmarsh lane. As you walk along the lane you will be able to see Cetti's Warbler and bearded tit in spring, in summer orchids and shrill carder bees call it home, during the autumn stonechats and large starling flocks can be seen flying overhead, with short-eared owl and bittern a common sight in the winter.
From Saltmarsh lane to the Goldcliff Lagoons you will be able to see displaying lapwing and skylarks in spring, dragonflies and hobby in summer, redwings and fieldfare in autumn, and larger lapwing and wildfowl flocks in winter.
The final section of this trail at Goldcliff Lagoons will showcase spoonbill and nesting avocet in spring, wader chicks and ringed plover on passage in summer, black tailed godwit and shoveler flocks in autumn, large flocks of dunlin and knot on winter high tides.
A pied flycatcher at RSPB Gwenffrwd Dinas nature reserve, Mid Wales by Roger HewittNestled in the rolling valleys of Mid Wales between Llanwrtyd Wells and Llandovery, Gwenffrwd-Dinas is a stunning woodland clothing a hill in splendid green, with paths leading the walker through undulating woodland, following the tumbling river and gorge and climbing through moss clad rocks.
The woodland is beautiful with its lichen covered oak trees and spectacular scenery, but in spring it comes alive, the carpets of bluebells and wildflowers and the incredible noise of bird song lift it to a new level. Pied flycatchers, redstarts and many of the woodland birds here seem more confiding than usual and almost flirt with the watcher.
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