In West Wales, certain birds can be seen near bodies of freshwater such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs and estuaries. The larger ones such as ducks, geese, swans and herons are easy to spot but look out for some of the smaller ones such as Kingfishers and Dippers, too.
Many ducks and waders make their nests by freshwater in upland territory. Whether here in the UK or further north or east, it is unlikely that you will see them during the breeding season as they keep well out of sight. The best time to see ducks is between November and March when large numbers of migrants arrive, descending to large inland bodies of water such as reservoirs, lakes and flooded gravel pits. Ducks which favour fresh water but can also be seen near the mouth of estuaries are Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Wigeon and Golden Eye. The first two of these often flock together and are bold enough to visit urban lakes; they can become quite tame when fed for some time and are resident at the Wetlands Centre. Of course, Mallards remain the most ubiquitous duck and are the ones which do the really loud quacking.
Other water birds
Other water birds are Coot and Moorhen, which pad about in the shallows beside lakes and in spring will often be accompanied by their tiny black pom-pom chicks.
There are numerous herons and swans as well as huge flocks of Canada Geese which are increasing in numbers and have a mixed reception in the Teifi Valley. In late summer and autumn they form massive V shapes across the sky flying to and from their feeding grounds.
The two most common Grebes – Little and Great Crested – favour fresh water and can be seen at several locations in the area.
Rushing streams attract the amazing Dipper, with its talent for standing on the riverbed underwater whilst searching for food. Grey Wagtails also favour this environment so watch out for a flash of brilliant yellow and a bobbing tail.
We’ve also had an influx of Little Egrets over recent years, so if you see a huge, pure white bird a bit like a heron – that’s what it is.
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Llanelli is home to 600 species of birds and hosts events and activities for all the family. Cycle the paths or canoe the waterways to spot wildlife.
Staying in West Wales
Book your bird-watching holiday in West Wales now – see our properties to pick the perfect stay.