Birdwatching in North Wales

Wales is such a varied and diverse region that the opportunities for bird watching are endless. We have a beautiful coastline, mountains, moorland, lakes and rivers all supporting a vast range of bird species. It you want to research bird watching opportunities in Wales further I would recommend you visit the fatbirder website.
Our holiday cottage is situated in the small village of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog in the beautiful Ceiriog Valley. Where is that you may ask? And it is a fair question as it is not somewhere you just stumble upon as we are the last village in the valley. So you really do need a good reason to travel here. And reasons to travel to Llanarmon there are plenty of. Beautiful scenery, plenty of wildlife, two great historic inns and lots of great bird watching in the area. Please get in touch if you are looking for bird watching holiday accommodation in North Wales. We are just on the border of Powys, Denbighshire and Gwynedd and near Llangollen and Bala.
Following are some of our recommendations for birding in our little corner of North Wales. However, we also have some fantastic bird watching in the Ceiriog Valley itself, often have Red Kites circling over the cottage and a splendid range of birds at the feeders in our paddock. After a busy day bird watching we also have two historic inns within a two minute walk serving wonderful food.

Berwyn National Nature Reserve

Our cottage is located in the Berwyn Range which forms part of the Berwyn National Nature Reserve. The reserve is huge – estimates put it at around 20,000 acres most of it moor covered upland. But it also includes areas of heath, bog, grassland, screes, cliffs and quarries. The easiest access point is the village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant which is about 10 minutes drive from the cottage. From there you can park at Pistyll Rhaeadr and walk.
Here are some of the birds reported in the Berwyn Range:
Upland birds
Red Grouse, Black Grouse, Curlew, Golden Plover, Snipe, Dunlin, Short-eared Owl, Wheatear, Stonechat, Whinchat and Ring Ouzel.
Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Red Kite and Hen Harrier.
Woodland birds
Pied Flycatchers, Nightjars, Bullfinches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers.
Pistyll Rhaeadr

Lake Vyrnwy RSPB Reserve

Located about 20 minutes drive from the cottage is Lake Vyrnwy. This is one of my favourite places to visit. I truly think it is one of the most beautiful lakes in the UK. There is a circular road running around the lake which makes it very easy to explore and facilities include a cafe, bike hire, canoe hire and toilets. For bird watching there are various hides scattered around the lake and an RSPB office. The landscape is quite diverse. Notwithstanding the lake, there are rivers running into the lake, bogs, woodland and areas of moorland.
Here are some of the birds reports at Lake Vyrnwy:
Woodland birds
Pied Flycatchers, Nightjars, Bullfinches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers.
Migrant birds
Dippers, Grey Wagtails, Common Sandpipers and Great Crested Grebes.
Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, Hen Harriers.
Wildfowl on the lake
Mallards, Teal and Little Grebes.

Clocaenog Forest

Lying about 40 minutes north of the cottage is the Clocaenog Forest which sits around Llyn Brenig and Llyn Alwen. Access is good and there is a great visitor centre at Llyn Brenig with a cafe, bike hire and toilets. Running to the east of the lake is a tarmac road ideal for cycling and walking (however access seems to be restricted to fisherman – perhaps ring the visitor centre to check). The area includes the largest population of red squirrels in Wales.
Birds you may see include Black Grouse, woodland birds, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard and Raven. In 2018 Ospreys returned and nested in the area for the first time in 100 years.

Llyn Clywedog

About an hour and a half drive south of the cottage is the little visited Llyn Clywedog. It is a beautiful area just a bit tricky to get to from most places. When we visited this summer we were treated to a wonderful sighting of the nesting Ospreys circling overhead and swooping down to the lake.

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