• Ben Porter

Choughs

Perhaps one of Llŷn's most charismatic inhabitants, the Red-billed Chough (Brân Goesgoch) is a crow species easily identified by its bright red beak and red legs, although it's piercing 'cheeeaaw!' call is one of the first signs you'll often hear announcing their presence in an area.


Choughs in flight

Llŷn is one of the best places to see Choughs in the country: its coastal bays and rocky crevices provide important nesting habitats, whilst many areas of coastal grassland are managed specifically to maintain the ideal conditions for their feeding habitat - a rich feast of invertebrates, such as cranefly and beetle larvae, in the soil. In autumn, breeding pairs become more gregarious and join together into wintering flocks around the coast. These flocks include breeding pairs as well as immature birds from recent breeding seasons, who haven't yet paired up and established themselves in a nesting site.



Where can I see them?


You are in with a good chance of seeing Choughs virtually anywhere along the coast of Llŷn, but particularly good areas include Nant Gwtheyrn, Uwchmynydd, Mynydd Rhiw and Trwyn Cilan. Mynydd Mawr and the area above Ffynnon Ffair (St Mary's Well) are particularly good areas to keep your eyes (and ears!) peeled for these fantastic birds, and some of the best conditions to see them are in autumn gales: Choughs are incredible aerial acrobats, playing in the updrafts and strong winds that pummel the coast, providing a truly breathtaking spectacle when a flock of 15 or more take to the skies in a bursts of calls.



Don't forget to keep your distance and minimise your disturbance when you do see Choughs - it's important they are able to spend enough time feeding to maintain condition over the winter.