Summer in West Wales really starts in late March and ends mid October as far as visitors from Africa are concerned. Amongst the little birds classified as inland summer birds, the Wheatear is one of the first to arrive and the last to leave. The various warblers, Redstart and Whinchat are amongst others which make the long journey to breed here. Swallows, Swifts, House Martins and Sand Martins are amongst the swooping, aerodynamic visitors associated with the arrival of summer.
Of course you might hear a Cuckoo from about early May and might even be lucky enough to see one darting past with its sharp grey wings and barred grey/silver feathers.
Summer seabirds in profusion
When visiting Pembrokeshire you will have the chance to take a boat trip to one of the superb offshore islands there to see nesting seabirds. See pretty Kittiwakes performing their ‘billing and cooing’ mating ritual. Fulmars, related to Albatrosses, fly low over the sea and ride the updraughts near the cliffs. They also nest at Giltar Point near Tenby and on Cardigan Island. Puffins are the main attraction on Skomer and Manx Shearwaters are a rare treat: if you spend the night on the island you can stay up late and see (hear!) them return to their burrows. Thousands of breeding Gannets can be seen on the more distant Grassholm Island. See our Birds to see near sea water in West Wales page for details of trips.
As well as nesting on the islands, Guillemots and Razorbills are present on the cliffs and stack rocks around the coast of Pembrokeshire: Stackpole Cliffs and Elegug Rocks on the South Pembrokeshire coast are good places to see them and they also love Needle Rock on the north side of Dinas Island near Newport. In Ceredigion, New Quay Head is their favoured spot. Choughs and Peregrines also breed on the coasts and islands. You stand a good chance of spotting the Choughs at Strumble Head or from the Coastal Path in South Ceredigion.
Oystercatchers with their vivid orange beaks and black and white plumage are often to be seen and heard in flocks around the estuaries.
Reserves to visit
If you’re staying at a cottage in Carmarthenshire, there are lovely little reserves such as Gwenffrwd-Dinas, 10 miles north of Llandovery on the road to Llyn Brianne. You can see Pied Flycatchers, Dippers, Common Sandpipers and Grey Wagtails there.
In North Ceredigion, the Dyfi Estuary and RSPB Reserve at Ynys-hir are great places to spot summer waders such as Lapwing and Redshank.