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