Birdwatching and Wildlife
The National Park is a haven for all sorts of wildlife - so keep your eyes peeled!
All sorts of birds can be found here, thanks to the diversity of habitats - if you know where to look, who knows what you will see!
In the west of the Park, you won't have to try too hard to see red kites wheeling overhead with their distinctive forked tail. But for a truly spectacular close-up show, you can visit the feeding station at Llanddeusant.
The uplands of the National Park are also good places to try and spot some of the rarer birds that live here - although there are no guarantees! Look out for red grouse in the heather along Offa's Dyke, golden plovers and curlews in the grasslands and wetlands and ring ouzels and peregrine falcons near the cliffs and crags. More common species that can fill the air with song on a summer's day are skylarks and pipits, as well as the mewing of the buzzard (which is where it gets its name bwncath in Welsh ... which roughly translates as cat-bird).
The lowlands are also great places for bird-watching. Our farmland and woodlands, orchards and meadows, streams and canal are home to a wide variety of species. Look out for the red flash of a bullfinch near orchards, spotted and pied flycatchers in woodlands, yellowhammers singing from their perches and barn owls in the dusk. As you wander along streams, rivers and the canal see if you can spot the blue flash of a kingfisher, dippers with their white bibs and sand martin colonies in sandy river cliffs.
A winter visit is well worth the trip - many of our reservoirs provide important refuges for wintering wildfowl and waders. Look out for pintails, wigeon, teal, goldeneye and lapwings. You may even see the occasional whooper swan, especially at Llangorse lake, where you can also see the amazing acrobatic displays of thousands of starlings as they prepare to roost each evening.
But keep an eye out for other wildlife as you travel around. On a summer's evening by a quiet stream, you might be really lucky and hear otters whistling to each other, whilst you can watch the salmon leap upstream on the River Usk as they pass through Brecon in November. And look out for bats chasing down insects along the Brecon-Monmouthshire Canal, or common lizards basking amongst the heaths and grasslands. And don't forget the flora - from the purple haze of the heather and the carpets of Springtime flowers to the amazing insectivorous plants such as sundews and butterworts.
Wildlife Walks There is a booklet of 12 short walks visiting the National Park's most interesting nature reserves. The walks are less than 2 hours long and many are less than an hour so if you have young ones or don't fancy a hike this booklet is for you. You can purchase a copy from Information Centres in the National Park or via our online shop or you can view them through Park Explorer under nature trails.
Go to Wild Places for information on sites to visit.
For more information on wildlife in this area go to:
- Brecknock Wildlife Trust - information on nature reserves and conservation campaigns
- Brecon Beacons Biodiversity - find out more about local biodiversity, what the National Park Authority and partners are doing to protect and manage local biodiversity with up-to-date news on projects and surveys
- Countryside Council for Wales - the national statutory conservation body
- Gwent Wildlife Trust -information on nature reserves and conservation campaigns
- Glamorgan Bird Group and Gwent Ornithological Society - information on latest sightings and nice photos.
- RSPB - all you need to know about bird conservation
- Wildlife Trust for South West Wales - information on nature reserves and conservation campaigns
- Woodland Trust - local woodlands, management and conservation