Featured • May 05, 2023 • Author, Sharon Watkins
Anglesey is a paradise for all wildlife and is particularly phenomenal for bird watching or ‘birding’ due to its diverse range of habitats. The island has a wide variety of bird species. You can spot everything from seabirds and wading birds to woodland birds and birds of prey. From dramatic cliff-top locations to ancient woodlands and secluded beaches, the island’s varied landscape means there are countless birding sites in Anglesey.
Whether you are a local, a tourist, a seasoned pro or a beginner in Anglesey we hope our list of the best birdwatching sites in Anglesey will give you some inspiration on where to start!
South Stack Cliffs RSPB Reserve
This is one of the must-visit bird watching sites in Anglesey
This reserve is a must-visit for any bird-watching enthusiast on Anglesey. Located on a dramatic cliff-top location, it’s home to a variety of seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, puffins and even the occasional chough. There’s a superb walk from Porth Dafarch to South Stack that you may like to do along the coastal path before taking in the South Stack reserve.
RSPB Valley Wetlands
Not far from Rhosneigr, the home of Driftwood, our exquisite boutique guest house in Anglesey, is the RSPB Valley Wetlands. It’s a relatively new nature reserve that covers around 114 acres of wet grassland habitats. With its mix of reedbeds, pools and scrapes, the reserve attracts a wide variety of bird species, including bitterns, marsh harriers, and bearded tits. The reserve offers fantastic bird-watching opportunities year-round, with migration periods in spring and autumn bringing rare and exciting bird sightings. Visitors can enjoy guided walks, wildlife events, and bird watching from the comfort of the hide.
RSPB Cors Ddyga
This magnificent nature reserve in the heart of Anglesey covers 150 acres of marshland and fen. This reserve is home to a variety of bird species, including warblers, reed buntings, and the iconic hen harrier. Cors Ddyga is also an important breeding ground for wetland birds such as the lapwing and snipe. Look out for bubbling curlews and singing skylarks. Check the skies for marsh harriers and buzzards and birds of prey.
Malltraeth Marsh within Cors Ddyga is a popular spot for birding – watch out for singing reed buntings and breeding wildfowl in the spring, autumn waders, marsh and hen harriers, plus merlins, and peregrines. There’s a bird hide at this location.
The reserve is open all year round, and visitors can enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife from the observation hide near the visitor centre. If you’re a bird watcher looking for a unique and peaceful location, Cors Ddyga is a must-visit on your Anglesey itinerary.
Cemlyn Bay Nature Reserve
This picturesque saltwater lagoon, managed by the national trust, is home to a large population of sandwich terns and is also a great place to spot other seabirds such as oystercatchers and curlews.
In the summer months, the Bay becomes a breeding ground for over 3,000 pairs of sandwich terns. It’s an important area for bird conservation and as the only nesting colony of Sandwich terns in Wales and a true wildlife spectacle – not to be missed!
Visitors can walk out to the shingle ridge to observe the terns and other birds. For an even closer view, there’s a bird hide situated on the west side of the bay.
You can visit throughout the year to spot waders and wildfowl near the lagoon’s adjacent shoreline but the ideal time to visit is between May and July when the Sandwich and Arctic terns are breeding on the islands within the lagoon.
The Dingle (Nant y Pandy) Local Nature Reserve
This reserve is home to a variety of woodland birds which can be seen throughout the year. Nesting in the woods you’ll find blue tits and great tits and on the water the moorhen. Along the boardwalk, you can see wrens and grey wagtails. Flying overhead you can spot ravens, buzzards and herons. If you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of the kingfisher or a dipper. At night listen out for the tawny owl.
Llyn Cefni Reservoir
This stunning reservoir is home to a variety of bird species, including red kites, buzzards and kestrels, as well as water birds such as grebes and coots. There’s also a bird hide that provides a great vantage point for watching the wildlife.
There’s a wonderful walk between Nant y Pandy and Llyn Cefni if you fancy taking in the two sites on one visit.
The Alaw Estuary near Valley
This tidal estuary is a fantastic spot for wading birds, such as sandpipers, redshanks and dunlins. It’s a great spot for birdwatching throughout the year and is home to several bird species, including kingfishers. The small village of Llanfachraeth at the head of the estuary is a good spot to see a variety of birds, including swallows and house martins in the summer months. It’s also a great spot for watching birds of prey such as kestrels and buzzards.
Llyn (Lake) Alaw
The lake is designated SSSI because of the variety and numbers of wildfowl visiting the lake, especially over winter. You can often spot the Eurasian Teal, northern shoveler and whooper swan.
Holyhead Breakwater Country Park
The Holyhead Breakwater Country Park, situated on the site of an old quarry is an excellent place for spotting the chough and peregrine falcons as they swoop above the old quarries at Llyn Llwynog. If you’re in the area the Holyhead Mountain circular walk takes in the country park as well as the South Stack reserve mentioned above.
Despite its name puffins are rarely seen on the island, although they were once quite common. Puffin Island is a crucial location for seabirds and waders, earning designations as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). Its extensive seabird colony sees a significant influx of adult birds returning to breed in the spring, with species such as razorbills, shag, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars, herring gulls, lesser black-backed gulls, and great black-backed gulls dominating the population. The island is also home to a breeding population of cormorants of European importance and serves as an essential roosting spot for oystercatchers.
You can visit the island but you must get permission first from the landowner. During the summer you can hop on a boat trip around the island from Beaumaris.
If you have some binoculars or more high-tech gear you can watch the birds from Penmon Point. There is a handy cafe here to grab a brew from as well.
This former copper mine is now a nature reserve and provides a stunning backdrop for bird-watching. Look out for birds of prey such as kestrels and sparrowhawks, as well as woodland birds including tits and finches.
This beautiful island. Reached via Newborough Reserve is home to a variety of seabirds including fulmars and kittiwakes. It’s also a great spot for watching migratory birds such as wheatears and whinchats. The ancient woodland, within Newborough forest is home to a variety of bird species, including the elusive crossbill and coal tit. It’s also a great place to spot migrant birds in the spring and autumn.
The Anglesey Coastal Path passes many of the top sites for bird watching in Anglesey
If you want to spot the enormous selection of wildlife that lives in and around Anglesey then the 125-mile coastal path around the perimeter of the island is the perfect way to do it. The coastal path takes in a variety of bird habitats, from rocky cliffs to salt marsh, and is a great way to see a wide range of bird species and other wildlife.
So, Where are the best bird watching sites in Anglesey?
As you can see, Anglesey birdlife is phenomenal and there is no shortage of places to bird watch on the island. This guide reveals all of the top spots. Whether you’re here for a long weekend or a two-week holiday there’s plenty to keep you entertained. If you’re looking for other things to do and see whilst you’re on the island there’s a plethora of existing or relaxing activities.