Discover Your Wild Side In 2019!

A Manx Shearwater chick. Photo: G Eagle

A Manx Shearwater chick. Photo: G Eagle

A blanket of bluebells on Skomer. Photo: Mike Penny

A blanket of bluebells on Skomer. Photo: Mike Penny

Are you potty about Porpoises and Puffins? Do you know your Razorbill from your Guillemot? Curious about the Cardigan Bay Big 3?

To celebrate the Visit Wales 2019 ‘Year of Discovery’ The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales have developed an unmissable top ten list of WILD activities to see and do throughout the year which will guarantee to unleash your wild side.

1. A Wild Night

Night falls like a blanket muffling the sounds of the day. Offshore the birds gather in huge rafts appearing like a dark skein on the waters surface. Above the old farm the first whoosh of feathers ruffles the air. The noise starts slowly, building until the Shearwaters calls seem to come from the sky, the land and underfoot. Gentle torch light gives you glimpses of the white underwings as thousands of Manxies search the island and for their burrows. Half the worlds' population is coming home for the night. And their home is the islands of Skokholm & Skomer.

2. Tree Top Hide

Take a deep breath and scale the heights of the beautiful ancient green Oak tree that guards the Welsh Wildlife Centre.  Relive your childhood, and venture into the canopy to discover the elusive purple hairstreak butterfly. Witness the branches come alive and dance to song of the summer breeze.

3. Puffin Party

Waddle? March? Scurry? Hop? On Skomer and Skokholm Island we can't quite describe how the Puffins walk past your feet with beaks crammed full of sand eels. Waistcoat? Dinner jacket? Morning suit? We aren't sure how to describe their smart uniforms. Red with yellow? Orange with purple? We can't even decide what colour their beaks are. Ride the waves on the Dale Princess from the mainland over to the island to start your adventure and join the puffin party from April to August 2019.

a group of puffins on skomer

A puffin party

4. The Blue Island

Skomer Island doesn’t have any woodland. It doesn’t even have any trees. But during spring the Island is covered in a display of beautiful bluebells so vast that the whole island appears blue!  The old fields, the valleys, the cliff tops. No part of the island is spared from this bluebell explosion. If it wasn't for the rugged landscape you might think you'd got a boat to a Dutch tulip farm by mistake.

5. Reptile Ramble

A quick movement out of the corner of your eye may be all you’ve ever seen of a snake in Britain, but here at Parc Slip Nature Reserve, you’ve got an excellent chance of seeing one! Over the summer months, join Wildlife Trust staff on a ramble through the wildflower meadows and experience the wonderful sight of a Grass snake or a Common lizard in its natural habitat for yourself.

6. Seal Sensation

You can see seals all around Pembrokeshire's rocky and twisted coastline. But only on Skomer Island will you hear them sing. Their melancholic siren songs travel far in the evening breeze. Up to two hundred seals gather to moult in April at North Haven, entertaining visitors with their squabbles during the day, and haunting their night time walks. Skomer is also one of the best places to see seal pups during September.

7. Fly Away

In the mid-summer sun the paths at Parc Slip and Teifi Marshes are alive with colour and the air is full of beautiful butterflies, buzzing bees, hawking dragonflies and fairylike damselflies. Pay a visit to the ponds around the Visitor Centres, where dainty damselflies flit across the water and the larger dragonflies protect their territories. Wander along the paths through the wildflowers and look out for butterflies on the wing, including Common blues, whites and Peacocks. See if you can spot the tiny Small blue on the Kidney vetch, or the impressive Brimstone, with its leaf-like appearance.

Peacock Butterfly Bob Coyle

Peacock Butterfly Bob Coyle

8. Skomer Spring and Autumn Migration

Calling all birdwatchers! Join Dave Astins of West Coast Birdwatching as you spend three days searching for the best birds Skomer has to offer. Dave is a renowned bird expert and has over 27 years of experience in Pembrokeshire and always makes sure you get the most out of your trip. Spring on Skomer is a great time to witness migration but also to see the returning Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills after their hard winter at sea. Places are limited to 10.  To book email: islands@welshwildlife.org

9. Age, Weight and Height Please!

In August accompany the Wardens on our Wildlife Trust Skokholm Island as they measure and weigh the rarely seen (and incredibly cute) Storm Petrel and Manx Shearwater chicks. Learn about their amazing instinct, predators and incredible journey once they leave the safety of the burrow. Guest accommodation on the island is self catering.

10. The Cardigan Bay Big 3!

Get up close to the Cardigan Bay Marine 3 for an adventure you’ll never forget.  This fantastic marine wildlife experience will be guaranteed to wet your appetite. Go on a journey with Dolphin Survey Boat Trips to see the amazing Welsh coastline  and wonderful wildlife in action.  Witness and capture Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises and Atlantic Grey Seals in their natural environment playing and posing for the camera. On land, the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre is manned by a team of dedicated volunteers who also help monitor the local marine wildlife, and will be delighted to answer your marine wildlife questions and show you around the centre.

Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin

Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin