Bird watching in Llŷn

Looking for a birding adventure? Beginner or experienced, a walk in the Llŷn countryside will reward you with a wide diversity of habitat and special scenery that makes this peninsula an ideal place for bird watching.

The diverse environments, complex ecology and land forms found in this special place bring together a great variety of species. You can expect to see birds common in many pastoral settings elsewhere in the United Kingdom side by side with visiting migrants who, outside the breeding season, spend their life thousands of miles away.

Coastal delights

The rocky cliffs and offshore islands are important nesting sites for many birds. The dramatic coastal cliffs provide the air currents so enjoyed by the fulmar, puffin and chough along with notable predators such as the raven, buzzard and peregrine falcon.

Carreg y Llam

The ledges of the 100m high Carreg y Llam near Pistyll are bustling with seabirds during the breeding season in spring and early summer and it is one of the most important seabird nesting sites in North Wales. Large numbers of guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes make the most of the inaccessible slopes to lay their eggs, spending the rest of the year out at sea.

Porth Meudwy

A visit to this special valley and cove will reward you with a fascinating range of resident and migrant birds and loads of other wildlife to enjoy in the area. It has been known to welcome rare vagrants too, including a Ruppell's warbler and red-eyed vireo.

Bardsey Island

Explore Bardsey Island and discover the perfect place for bird watching
Bird watching over the sound towards Bardsey Island
Explore Bardsey Island and discover the perfect place for bird watching

Lying off the tip of the peninsula, Bardsey is of great importance to ornithologist and twitchers alike. It is the only accredited bird observatory in Wales.

The nationally important numbers of Manx shearwater that breed here in the summer are one of the reasons why this special place is a Special Protection Area. There is a breeding colony of 10 to 16 thousand birds on the island.

A sizeable seabird colony on the east side of the mountain supports 11 species of seabird including kittiwake, storm petrel, razorbill and guillemot. The island’s other breeding birds include oystercatcher, wheatear, little owl and long-eared owl.

Immerse yourself in beautiful scenery

Heathland and coastal dunes are home to stonechats, goldfinches and sand martins. You may spot the ever-present predators, such as kestrels and buzzards, watching over proceedings.

Away from the coastline, you can catch glimpses of greater-spotted and green woodpeckers, even jays and nuthatches. Local rivers are a great place to spot dippers.

Birds passing through the peninsula

Wildlife is almost constantly on the move. Every year millions of birds travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to the UK to breed. The Llŷn Peninsula is an important route for many migratory birds but it’s not just birds that migrate - fish, butterflies and whales do it too.

Large numbers of willow warbler, chiffchaff and goldcrest arrive in spring and autumn. Regular migrants also include pied and spotted flycatchers, ten species of warbler, three species of wagtail, six species of thrush and 11 species of finch.

Rare visitors

The list of species that have made it to Llŷn is impressive. Some of the more memorable birds include: The eyebrowed thrush, Radde’s warbler and the Isabelline wheatear from Asia. Black-browed albatross from the southern oceans and dark-eyed Junco, yellow warbler, Sora rail, American bittern, American robin and the song sparrow from America have also been seen.

Bardsey also has the only record of a summer tanager on this side of the Atlantic.