Pembrokeshire, with its spectacular coastal scenery, offshore islands and sheltered inland bird habitats, offers an excellent variety of places for keen bird watchers and beginners alike. Our course is suitable for those with no bird knowledge and those with some experience, focusing mainly on outdoor activities. Time will be spent learning to distinguish species by calls as well as by sightings, and examining their general ecology. You will visit important bird haunts, ranging from coastal areas to wetland and woodland, and see nature reserves being managed for their important wildlife habitats.

Weather-permitting, we will take a short boat-trip to Skomer Island, famous for its internationally important seabird colonies (boat and landing fees included). If the weather is unsuitable for a crossing, we will visit another important wildlife site – Teifi Marshes at the Welsh Wildlife Centre.

Tutor: Bob and Annie Haycock

Bob Haycock, until his retirement, worked for the Countryside Council for Wales, as Senior Reserves Manager in Pembrokeshire with responsibility for managing national nature reserves. Annie Haycock is a professional naturalist and keen wildlife photographer, working with birds, butterflies, bees and mammals. They are joint Regional Representatives in the area for the British Trust for Ornithology. They have both been actively involved with studying and conserving coastal birds in Pembrokeshire over the last 35 years and have a wide interest in the county’s natural history.
  • Meadow Pipit taken by Bob Haycock
  • Chough taken by Annie Haycock
  • Puffin taken by Annie Haycock
  • Course members watching seals and puffins on Skomer taken by Bob Haycock

Example Timetable

Friday evening

Introduction to the course after evening meal: Who’s who, programme. General talk: Pembrokeshire bird habitats and haunts.

Saturday

An introduction to coastal and estuarine birds; followed by a walk within Stackpole National Nature Reserve, including Bosherston Lily Pools, and the Elegug Stacks (some of the finest limestone sea-cliffs in Britain and a special area for Chough). Evening, short walk plus introduction to “BirdTrack”.

Sunday

Skomer Island NNR (weather permitting; boat and landing fees included). A walk of approximately 4 miles around one of Britain’s premier sea-bird islands supporting colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills and many other species. Evening: short walk or slide show.

Monday

An excursion to Minwear and Canaston Woods, along-side the upper reaches of the Cleddau Estuary, followed by wetland habitats at Corsydd Llangloffan NNR and other good bird haunts in mid Pembrokeshire.

Tuesday

Depart from Centre after breakfast.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

Start and Finish Times

Resident guests are requested to arrive between 3.00-5.00pm and register at Reception on arrival. A welcome talk takes place at approximately 5.30pm followed by an evening meal at 6.00pm.  Non-resident guests are asked to arrive in time for the welcome talk at 5.30pm. The course begins with an introduction after the evening meal. Breakfast will be at 8.00 am. The course will end after breakfast on departure day.

What to bring

  • Binoculars (essential)
  • Telescope / spotting scope plus tripod (useful but not essential)
  • Notebook / pencil (useful)
  • A camera (if you wish) to take advantage of frequent photographic opportunities
  • Water bottles and/or thermos flask and packed lunch box
  • Small day rucksack (for your flask, lunchbox and other items)
  • Outdoor footwear – sturdy shoes or boots
  • General outdoor clothing, including warm, water-proof outer-garments. (Waterproof jacket and trousers can be borrowed from Centre.)
  • Warm hat and gloves for inclement weather and sunhat and sun-cream for sunny days.
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