Pembrokeshire: a birders delight

It must be something to do with Pembrokeshire’s mild climate and westerly position plus those great Atlantic storms that sweep in every now and then that makes Pembrokeshire such a ‘twitchers’ delight.

There are such great locations right across Pembrokeshire, just don’t forget your ‘bins’!


Boats run daily (expect Mondays) from Martins Haven between 1st April or Easter (whichever is the sooner) and 31st October (weather depending) Check out Dale Sailing for details

The seabird colonies are conveniently sited for viewing, particularly at The Wick, comprising Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills and the opportunity to watch Puffins at close quarters. It is best to visit between May and early July for the birds leave the island as soon as the young are ready to leave the nest.

Skomer hosts the largest colony of Manx Shearwaters, best seen towards the end of the summer,  in the world, but you will not see them flying around. They nest in burrows, which they only leave during the hours of darkness. However, you can sample what is happening underground, live, by looking at the video display situated in the Barn.

Several pairs of Short Eared Owls breed on the island and they can often be seen hunting in daylight, against a backdrop of commuting Lesser Black-backed gulls. Oystercatchers, Curlews, Peregrines and Choughs.


Boats run daily from St Justinians, near St Davids. Thousand Island Expeditions are the only boat operator allowed to land on Ramsey and there is a limit on the number of people permitted on to the island each day, so it's best to make a reservation.

Ramsey is another fine island for seeking migrants; Britain’s first Indigo Bunting was seen here, so it's always worth a visit. The island has fine colonies of Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes as well as nesting Shags, Lapwings, Peregrines and Choughs.

Guided walks to explore the beautifully wild and rugged island nature reserve of Ramsey with its lovely flowers, ferns and heathers, dramatic scenery, Atlantic grey seal colony and a wealth of resident and migrating birds


Extensive reed-bed habitat abutting the Teifi estuary and flanked by woodland. Restaurant and shop on site and the Reserve is fully equipped with accessible hides. Breeding Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers, Water Rails and Reed Buntings.

The adjacent woodland and gorge is the breeding ground for Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Wood Warblers, Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers. Waders and wildfowl visit in the winter and on passage, as do other migrants. Richard's Pipit, Spotted Crake and Aquatic Warbler have been seen and there is always the chance of encountering a Goshawk or Red Kite (also Otters!).


These 200 year old lily ponds are set among woodland and dunes on The Stackpole Estate. Winter ducks, breeding Heron and woodland birds plus Bitterns visit in winter when Chiffchaffs and Firecrests can also be found. Attractive to spring and autumn migrants, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper and Red-rumped Swallow have been spotted on the estate.

THE GANN, near Dale

Good numbers of passage and wintering waterbirds, particularly Dunlin, Curlew, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Wigeon, Teal and Shelduck. A variety of other species occur, such as Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes, Whooper and Bewick’s Swans. Like most estuaries, one never knows what might turn up. Spoonbill, Avocet, American Wigeon, Long-billed Dowitcher and White-winged Black Tern have been seen.

Read more about birdwatching and other wildlife in Pembrokeshire

 Just come back from a week’s break in St Davids - loved the area completely, and the local people are brilliant. Highly recommended is a boat trip to Ramsey Island.  
Adam, Somerset

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