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Nature comes naturally to us. Our coast is one big Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty rich in wildlife, while the entire island is studded with nature reserves large and small, some of international significance. Desert island Get lost among the Saharan sands of Aberffraw Dunes. This vast expanse of wind-shifted sands is one of the most extensive examples of a mobile dune habitat anywhere in the UK. Along with the adjacent Traeth Mawr beach, the dunes are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the variety of unusual plant and animal species found here. Park life Despite its proximity to bustling Holyhead, Penrhos Coastal Park’s combination of coast, wood and meadow offers unspoilt nature in abundance. Resident wading birds like ringed plovers, oystercatchers and curlews patrol the fertile mudflats in search of food, while ducks, geese and grebe visit over the winter months. Woodpeckers, treecreepers and the occasional tawny owl can be spotted amongst the trees and wildflower-specked grass provides habitats for butterflies and bees. Another natural oasis close to Holyhead is Breakwater Country Park. Nature lovers can take their pick here. Watch grey herons patiently fishing in lakes, see peregrine falcons hunting from their nests in old quarries and spot porpoises, dolphins and seals frolicking in the waves. There’s flora as well as fauna, with a variety of orchids to be seen alongside eye-catching displays of pink thrift that bloom in spring along the coastal heathland. Living on the edge The craggy cliffsides of South Stack are an ornithologist’s paradise. Huge colonies of guillemots, puffins and razorbills nest on these seemingly sheer rock walls in the spring and summer months, creating a vertical city of squawking and swooping seabirds. You’ll get an excellent view at Ellin’s Tower RSPB Seabird Centre. Borrow binoculars and telescopes for a closer look or watch live television feeds that take you right inside the birds’ nests. A flying visit No prizes for guessing one of the birds you might spot on Puffin Island, just off Penmon Point on Anglesey’s eastern side. But puffins are just one of the feathered residents of this steep-sided, uninhabited island. Take a boat ride to get a closer look and you might also see guillemots and razorbills nesting on the jagged cliffs, plus terns and cormorants diving into the waves in search of fish.


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