Spring & summer wildlife in Mid Wales

There are bits of the Cambrian Mountains where the rarest species is humans. For the rest of the natural world, early summer is the busiest time of year, as the clifftops and woodlands burst with colour, and the ospreys and dolphins lead a star cast of wildlife. 

  • A pod of Cardigan Bay dolphins seen on a dolphin spotting boat trip
    A pod of dolphins in Cardigan Bay, Ceredigion by A Bay To Remember

    You can spot dolphins almost anywhere along the west coast in summer. But to give your chances a boost, visit the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre in New Quay and take a boat trip, or simply keep an eye out to sea from the glorious clifftop walks. 

  • Red Kite hunting for prey
    Red Kite

    Mountain bikers and red kites both flock to the visitor centre at Bwlch Nant yr Arian. It became a red kite feeding station in 1999, designed to give the small numbers of kites a helping hand and to encourage them to gather together. Nowadays around 150 birds swoop to daily feedings, which take place at 3pm in the summer.

  • Northern lapwing resting on floor
    Northern lapwing

    Lapwings were once common on farmland, but their numbers have dropped alarmingly. Ynys-hir is one of their most important strongholds, and they share this fabulous reserve with dozens of other species. There’s all kinds of habitat, from marsh to meadow, but a walk through the ancient oak woodland, when it’s carpeted with spring flowers, is a particular delight. 

  • Cors Caron National Nature Reserve in Tregaron, Ceredigion
    Cors Caron Nature Reserve in Tregaron, Ceredigion

    Cors Caron's vast raised bog is the most important in the UK, and supports a staggering amount of life, including around 16 species of dragonfly. They’re gorgeous to look at… and pretty tasty, judging by the number of hobbies - agile little hawks - that predate on them. 

  • A close up of some bluebells in the Old Warren Hill Woods
    Bluebells in Old Warren Hill Woods, Ceredigion by johnny the cow

    This Iron Age hillfort has long surrendered to nature, and its wooded slopes are now the ideal home for all kinds of birds, while badgers live in the ramparts. In early summer it’s one of the best places in the area to enjoy bluebells and other ground flora. 

  • The ‘witch’s pool’ was carved by a waterfall where the River Enig plunges down a wooded gorge. It’s especially lovely at Pwll-y-Wrach in spring, when wood anemones poke like white stars through a yellow carpet of lesser celandines. Later on, bluebells fleck the woodland floor with shimmering blue and the heady scent of wild garlic fills the air. 

  • Abergwesyn Pass in Powys, Mid Wales
    Abergwesyn Pass, Mid Wales

    When we describe this as the back of beyond, we mean it as a compliment. When you drive the Abergwesyn Pass, up the winding Devil’s Staircase, there are genuine moments when you wonder if you’ve passed through some time portal. Strike up into the hills on foot, head north, and you’ll be in the loneliest part of the Cambrian Mountains, the only human traces being ancient stone circles. Splendid isolation, indeed. 

  • An osprey soaring above the Dyfi Osprey Project nature reserve in Machynlleth, Mid Wales
    An osprey at the Dyfi Osprey Project, Machynlleth, Mid Wales by Monica & Tony

    Monty the osprey spends his winters in West Africa, but comes back home to Cors Dyfi each spring. In 2013 he found a new mate, raised two chicks, and with any luck they’ll all be back again from April to September. Spring and summer are also the best times to see Cors Dyfi’s other plants and animals, which include nightjars, warblers and water buffalo, which graze the marshes and keep the reserve in tip-top shape.

  • Arthog's small wetland, one of the few remaining fragments of the Mawddach Estuary’s raised bog, is a wonderful place to see weird and wonderful plants, flowers, butterflies and birds. With more than 130 species of plants recorded, there are colourful displays of marsh marigold and yellow flag in the spring and hemp agrimony, meadowsweet and ragged robin through the summer. 

  • An owl
    A speckled owl by Nick Kaye

    More than 30 breeding species of bird live in the willow and alder woodland of Withybeds along the River Lugg, including flycatchers, woodpeckers and little owls. In spring and early summer the wood is full of birdsong, which can be enjoyed by all, thanks to a boardwalk which is suitable for wheelchairs. 

More information on wildlife in Wales