Sea and coastal birds

CATEGORY
Pembrokeshire wildlife
ABOUT

Northern gannet

The northern gannet is Britain’s largest seabird, sporting a 2m wingspan.

Gannets are what are called plunge divers. Their remarkably streamlined shape enables them to hit the water at speeds of 60mph in a dive after prey.

Grassholm Island hosts over 80,000 of these magnificent birds.

Manx shearwater

Over half the world’s population, some 360,000 of the Manx shearwater, nest on the Pembrokeshire islands.

The Manx shearwaters are visitors to the Pembrokeshire islands usually arriving around late March to early April and leaving late August or early September.

Manx shearwaters are simply the most beautiful birds to watch flying over water, as their wingtips skim the surface waiting to ride the updrafts from the waves.

Puffin

Puffins are ground or burrow nesters.

They can be seen on Skomer Island, on the North Bishop, occasionally on Ramsey and on the water offshore.

Puffins are famous for their beautiful, brightly coloured bills.

Guillemots and razorbills

Guillemots and razorbills can be seen on Ramsey in large numbers between April and July.

They are more at home in the water than in the air, using their wings to propel themselves.

These birds don’t build nests, but lay their eggs straight on to the sea cliffs.

Kittiwake

The kittiwake is the smallest of the British gulls to breed on Ramsey.

They make elaborate nests of wet grasses, seaweed and often mud which they stick to the rock ledges with guano and saliva.

Kittiwakes spend all winter out at sea, only coming to land to breed.

Oystercatcher 

The Oystercatcher is a resident bird around our coast.

Oystercatchers are waders that feed predominantly on cockles and mussels and other bivalves.

Chough

The chough is one of the rarest species of bird in the UK with around 350 breeding pairs UK wide.

Ramsey is home to between 7 & 9 breeding pairs of chough most years.

The Chough is a striking member of the crow family with a scarlet bill and legs; it is this that has given them their Latin name Pyrrhocorax pyrhocorax meaning fire crow.

Raven

Most years there are 4 pairs of Ravens which nest on Ramsey.

Ravens are often to be seen above the sea cliffs showing off in aerial displays.

Ravens are one of the top predators on the island feeding extensively on the chicks and eggs of visiting seabirds.

Peregrine falcon

Ramsey has 2-3 breeding pairs of peregrine falcon most years.

The peregrine is the fastest living creature on the planet having been clocked at speed in excess of 240 mph in their stoop after prey.