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Birding in Wales - summer visitors

(June 01, 2014)

Summer visitors

The spring heralds not only warmer weather, but an increase in the number of bird species we see here in Wales. From March, we see visitors from other continents. The first to arrive from Africa are Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Sand Martins. And sometimes, although not very often, we get a real surprise, just as we had this year in Pembrokeshire. A few miles west of Tenby, on a golf course at Penally, a Great Spotted Cuckoo – more usually found in southern Europe and western Asia - turned up out of the blue. With only 40 or so ever having been spotted in Great Britain, it drew quite a crowd from all over the UK; although the arrival of a Marmora's Warbler – a usual native of Mediterranean islands - on Blorenge mountain, Gwent a few years ago, drew hundreds upon hundreds of birders.

Marmora's WarblerMarmora's Warbler

Later in the month, and into April, the mainstay of our summer visitors arrive, with swallows, swifts and House Martins everywhere and redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, nightjars, Tree Pipits and Common Cuckoos on the uplands. Other species will be 'passing through', en route to their breeding grounds further north.

Pied FylcatcherPied Flycatcher

Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit

Redstart (male)

Redstart (female) Male Redstart
 Redstart (female)  Redstart (male)

It is worth keeping an eye on ponds, lakes and rivers for species like Garganey or Black-necked Grebes who will be passing through. Reed and Sedge Warblers will be singing loudly from reed beds, with Coots and Moorhens keeping their offspring close by and away from predators, from both above and below.


Black-necked Grebes

Black-necked Grebes

Black-necked GrebesBlack-necked Grebes

Only last week, a Savi's Warbler turned up at the Newport Wetlands RSPB; normally found in southern Europe and western Asia, or wintering in northern and sub-Saharan Africa. This was the first time one has been recorded in Gwent, and one of only a handful of recorded visits to Wales.

Nigel Addecott - Savi's WarblerSavi's Warbler, at the Newport Wetlands

Wales has an amazing variety of birdlife. Even the most common species have an extraordinary beauty. And you don't always need to go far to see them – sometimes, they come to you!

Nigel Addecott, June 2014

All images © Nigel Addecott


These, and many more, beautiful images are available on Nigel Addecott's wildlife photography website.

If you liked this, you'll also enjoy:
The Puffins of Skomer Island, March 2014


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