The coastline of West Wales has always been an attractive home for various plant and animal life, and one of the best places to see the various species is in Cardigan Bay. Some parts of Cardigan Bay have been designated Special Areas Of Conservation because of the ecosystems they support, which include biogenic or living reefs, River and Sea Lamprey, and Atlantic Grey Seals.
Cardigan Bay is also one of the most popular spots in the UK for sighting Bottlenose Dolphins, or Tursiops Truncatus to give them their scientific name. They can be sighted regularly throughout the year from New Quay Pier, or visitors can book a place on a Dolphin survey boat trip. These boat trips are run by the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, which functions both as a research centre, and a public info; and education point. The centre in New Quay has displays on marine wildlife, and their research into Bottlenose Dolphins, along with details of the other species they have spotted in the bay.
Harbour Porpoises, Starfish, the Dahlia Anemone, and schools of cod, herring, mackerel and sandeel (which the Dolphins and Seals feed on) are regularly seen, and the bay has its share of visitors too. These include Basking Sharks, Sunfish, and the Leatherback Turtle.
If you’re not lucky enough to see any of these species during your visit, why not go and explore the rock pools on New Quay and Cei Bach seashores. You may see Molluscs like Limpets and Scallops, Crustaceans such as the Shore Crab, and seaweeds like Codium, Kelp and Japanese Seaweed.
Away from the seashore, Cardigan Bay is also an important habitat for the bird of prey, the Red Kite, while Choughs also choose the crevices and caves in the area as a nest site. Look down on the ground along the Cardigan Bay Coastal Path, and you’ll also see some of the alpine like ground hugging plants that are rooted in the area. Look out for the Stonecrop, Marsh Orchid, Buckshorn Plantain and Sea Beet.
There’s plenty here to awaken the wildlife watcher in people of all ages, you just have to know where to find it, so why not take in some Dolphin spotting, or enjoy a coastal walk among the flora and fauna, next time you pay a visit to West Wales.