A cliff-top bird­ing walk and a chance of watch­ing dol­phins

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - DAVID SAUN­DERS

NEW QUAY RE­MAINS hid­den from the land­ward ap­proach un­til the fi­nal de­scent to­wards the sea. The wide ex­panse of Cardi­gan Bay – stretch­ing be­yond with the Lleyn Penin­sula and Bard­sey Is­land some 44 miles away – is eas­ily vis­i­ble in clear weather. Snugly shel­tered from all but the most northerly of winds, the town is now a vi­brant hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion. Cardi­gan Bay is renowned for the largest Bri­tish pop­u­la­tion of Bot­tlenosed Dol­phins, reach­ing a peak of about 200 in Septem­ber and

Oc­to­ber. Al­though it of­fers good sight­ings from land, a boat ex­cur­sion from New Quay pro­vides an ideal op­por­tu­nity for see­ing both the Dol­phins and Har­bour Por­poise close up. Let’s not for­get the noisy Guille­mot colonies at Bird Rock and, nearby, the largest such gath­er­ing in Cardi­gan Bay. On land, a steep climb takes one from near sea level at the fish fac­tory through thick scrub to the open cliff-top. Stop and rest and lis­ten for the ser­e­nade of Whitethroats, Wrens and other birds. The re­mains of the quarry and the buildings be­low look an ideal lo­ca­tion for Black Red­starts in au­tumn and win­ter. There are sev­eral points on the coastal path from where sec­tions of the seabird colonies can be seen. Off­shore, es­pe­cially in late sum­mer, feed­ing pas­sages of Manx Shear­wa­ters and Gan­nets from the Pem­brokeshire colonies can be seen, while oth­ers from fur­ther afield, like skuas and terns, may well be seen from the rather splen­did and snug look­out, for­merly used by coast­guards. Sev­eral hun­dred Ra­zor­bills nest, usu­ally in the more bro­ken parts of the cliff. Guille­mots, per­haps 5,000 in num­ber, jos­tle nosily on the open ledges. Kit­ti­wakes also nest, and what chance a Black Guille­mot?

3Rock Pip­its, Stonechats and Lin­nets are res­i­dent along the slopes, and in the past, I have watched the con­tin­ual north­wards pas­sage of Swallows on spring mi­gra­tion. Many hun­dreds must have passed and will re­turn this way in Septem­ber.

4OTHER WILDLIFE Bot­tlenosed Dol­phin and Har­bour Por­poise off­shore with a chance of Grey Seal

Guille­mot Ra­zor­bill

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