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The Wildlife of Wales

The wildlife of Wales is very much influenced by its geology. In south, mid and north Wales, ancient rocks have been pushed up into mountain ranges, and then scoured by ice-age glaciers to produce a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems. Similarly the coastline of Wales varies according to the local geology. In the south the coastline is largely flat, but past Swansea and the Gower are the rocky cliffs and coves of Pembrokehire

kite The Red Kite

The Red Kite has made a remarkable comeback in Wales. Once persecuted by farmers and gamekeepers to the point of near extinction, the Red Kite is now a common sight throughout mid and west Wales.

The kite in the photo is a rare leucistic Red Kite - This kite is a colour variation, and has survived probably because of the various Red Kite feeding stations that have been established. Click on the photo for more information.

 marine life Rock Pool Life

The many rock pools along the Welsh coast show an incredible diversity of marine life. This page shows some of the most commonly seen species. Click on the photo for more information.

 dolphins

Dolphins

Many  who come to stay on the coast of Cardigan Bay are interested in seeing wild Dolphins, for in all of Britain, this is probably the best place to see them. In the New Quay / Llangrannog area they can be seen from the shore and from boats which take groups out from New Quay on a regular basis. One cannot guarantee to see the Dolphins on a given day, but the chances are good for the dedicated Dolphin watcher. Information on sightings can be found at The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife site. Click on the photo for more information.
 

 Cors Caron Peat Bogs

There are some very important peat bogs in Wales, the one in the photograph is Tregaron Bog - Cors Caron. Sphagnum moss growing in flat wet ground has the ability to absorb and hold a large quantity of water. Countless generations of this plant have led to a deep build up of moss, leading to the formation of raised bogs. The acidic conditions here support a range of plant and animal species found nowhere else. Click on the photo for a page about the Tregaron Bog and its wildlife.

 flowers Flowers of the Coastal Path

Coastal plants - especially those on the sea cliffs and on the thin soils above are in many ways much like Alpine plants. They are often exposed to strong winds so they tend to be small  and ground hugging. They must also be able to tolerate the often considerable salt spray. Many of them  are tiny gems - easily missed unless you look carefully. Some of the larger plants, fleshy and thick-leaved are found on shingle banks and dunes close to the beach. They are all salt tolerant, have wide root systems to catch the rain which rapidly drains away, and thick leaves and stems for water storage. Click on the photo for more information.

rare marine life  Rare Marine Life

The Oceans of the world are a continuous circulating mass of water, joined together by the southern ocean and the unfrozen waters around the north pole. As a result those species that can tolerate cooler waters are found worldwide. The waters of the North Atlantic circulate in a clockwise motion and warm waters from the Gulf of Mexico are sent to Cardigan Bay by the Gulf stream.  With the advent of global warming, sea temperatures have increased and a number of tropical species have been observed in West Wales coastal waters. Click on the photo for more information.

 Butterflies Butterflies

With little arable farming, the coast of West Wales offers a wide variety of habitats for Butterflies - some rare like the Marsh Fritillary and Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, are making a comeback with local schemes of ecosystem management. Click on the photo for more.