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Wales is not a big country,
but packed into it is a vast array of different habitats
and a wealth of wildlife.
There are not many places in the world
where you can walk from mountain top, through moorland,
through woodland, on to the sea.
And all of that in just a few hours.
My name is Iolo Williams.
I've lived and worked with wildlife in Wales all my life.
I want to share my passion
for Wales' wonderful variety of wildlife with you.
In this series, I'll be taking you all over the country in all weathers.
I'll be visiting fabulous landscapes,
and I'll be sharing with you the insights I've learned
on this journey of discovery through Wales.
In this programme, we'll travel to Gwynedd and Snowdonia
to see ospreys and relics of the Ice Age.
Through the old county of Meirionnydd
to track wild goats and deer.
And end on the Lleyn Peninsula with seals
and Wales' most important bird, the manx shearwater.
But I begin on Anglesey.
At the extreme tip of Holy Island,
you'll find South Stack and its lighthouse.
It's a dramatic stretch of coastline,
and a great place to start on a wildlife journey,
especially if you want to see birds.
As the wind blows off the sea and hits the tall cliffs,
the birds seem to fly for the fun of it.
These are ravens and their speciality is tumbling.
They delight in flying upside down.
Kestrels simply hover.
But the real stars of South Stack are the choughs.
75% of the chough population of Britain live in Wales,
and most of those live along the Welsh coast.
They open their wings
and because there's so much lift here from the sea,
the wind whips in here, and they bounce up.
If they close their wings, they go back down.
It looks like someone's got them on a piece of string like a yo-yo.
They come up and down. They're great characters.
Choughs, like ravens, their close relatives, are very agile flyers.
Without effort, they dance in the air.
They're cracking birds. They've got to be one of my favourite birds.
Largely due to the severe winter of 1947,
and the lack of close crop pasture where they feed,
they became extinct on Anglesey.
But they gradually re-established themselves at South Stack,
and it's now become a stronghold for this charismatic crow.
The choughs landed and I thought he was going to feed or preen,
but no, the chough is fast asleep in the sun.
He's dozed off in the sun.
If you stay here long enough, you never know what you're going to see.
Just going around the headland there is a pod of Risso's dolphins.
These are quite rare dolphins.
They're much rarer than bottlenose and common dolphins,
and you don't usually see them this close in-shore.
But this is a big pod. There are 20 or more of them,
and at three metres long, they're big animals.
They have bulky heads and a prominent, tall dorsal fin.
There's a mother with her calf sticking close to her.
They're found in all oceans
but prefer temperate seas and usually deeper water.
Sightings off the coast of Anglesey
generally occur in late summer or early autumn.
No-one knows for sure why they arrive during that period.
It's most likely associated with food.
They're probably passing the Anglesey headland
in search of better feeding waters locally in the Irish Sea.
Further down the west coast of Anglesey,
you'll find Llanddwyn Island.
It's associated with Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers.
According to legend,
she's believed to have lived here during the fifth century
and prayed for all lovers to find happiness due to unhappinness in her own life.
It's clear she didn't meet her perfect man.
On both sides of the island, there are long beaches.
It's an exceptionally cold but beautiful winter's day.
There's even snow lying on the sand.
What a stunning place.
This is Newborough beach on the west coast of Anglesey.
It's over a mile long.
Golden sands and there's nobody here but me.
It's also great for wildlife
because behind these dunes is Newborough Forest
and that holds the biggest raven roost in the whole of Britain.
The first birds should be coming in any time now.
During winter, around 800 ravens roost every night in Newborough Forest.
It's one of the biggest assemblages of ravens in the world.
During the day, they travel widely for food.
Some may even fly 40 miles or more.
At dusk, they return to the security and relative warmth of the forest.
The spectacle here is not so much what you can see, but what you can hear.
As they arrive and occupy roosting positions in the forest,
they constantly call and communicate with each other.
I've sneaked in under the trees,
right to the edge of the raven roost now.
Most of the birds are away to my left
and there are one or two in the distance to my right as well.
They make the weirdest noises.
They say that ravens have more than 30 different calls,
and sitting here, I can well believe that.
It's a language really, when you think about it.
A language we don't understand maybe, but still, it is a language.
They're communicating with each other constantly.
Probably telling each other where the best feeding grounds are.
Bear in mind that most of these will be young birds,
so they're going to be pairing up for life as well here.
But an incredible array of noises.
There must be a reason why ravens are calling like this.
They're not simply calling for fun.
For the time being, it's a mystery. We don't understand their language.
But there's good evidence
that they may be sharing information about food sources.
A raven cannot defend a carcass from other predators on its own,
but it can if it's part of a group.
It's thought that the volume and nature of a call may be giving
information about the location, distance and size of a find.
By sharing the information,
they can all go back together the next day to benefit from the food.
Later, I'll be tracking fallow deer
in the biggest conifer forest in North Wales.
But for now, I'm heading for Snowdonia.
What a morning and what a view!
It's one of those cold, frosty mornings
when you're really glad to be alive.
Anglesey in the distance over there, bathed by the sunlight.
And then over here,
you can see the top of Snowdon just about peaking through.
Behind me, in the middle of the trees, is Catell Dolbadarn.
Llanberris, the town, at the back there afterwards.
And of course, this itself a sign of industry over the last 250 years.
This is a glacial valley, gouged out by the last Ice Age.
You see the lakes left behind, you see Llyn Peris.
Then we jump over to Llyn Padarn.
This is the interesting lake from a wildlife point of view.
It's very deep and very cold and living in there even now
is a relic from the last Ice Age.
These are Arctic char and they're one of the rarest fish species in Britain.
They live only in deep, cold glacial lakes.
Llyn Padarn is one of the very few lakes in Britain where they're found naturally
and the most southerly lake in the world where they live.
Towards the end of the last Ice Age, as the ice melted around 18,000 years ago,
Arctic char began to migrate from the sea to spawn in the glacial rivers that existed at that time.
But as sea levels and sea temperatures rose,
they became land-locked in our coldest and deepest lakes.
Alun Jones and his son Bryn operate a pleasure boat on the lake
and have built up a wealth of local knowledge.
-What is this? Is this...? Metres, that is.
-That's in metres, yeah.
-Is this a deep lake?
-It's quite a deep lake. It's 120ft at the max.
-I suppose that's why, because of the depth, that you've got the Arctic char.
The Arctic char, yes. The locals fish them at night, not as many as they used to.
So they come up then at night, do they, to the shallower waters?
I think they usually fish them about 15m. There's a name for it, the difference in temperature.
'Thermal climb' because you've got that very cold water below it.
-So they'll come up to that line?
-Just about to the level, I think.
-Have you eaten them?
-Yes, it's a beautiful fish. It tastes half between a salmon and a trout.
Beautiful. They only grow about 12 inches long, you know.
Male Arctic char are the most colourful freshwater fish
that you'll find in the rivers and lakes of Britain, especially when they're about to breed.
They develop a bright red colour on their belly to attract females.
And these fish have come up from the deepest part of the lake to spawn in the river outlet.
The numbers of Arctic char are reducing here, as they are in the rest of Britain.
Some believe that this is associated with global warming.
That would hardly be surprising, given that they need cold water to survive.
On the mountains of Snowdonia, there's another Ice Age relic.
It's found on the highest peaks and on the coldest slopes.
It appears in late February.
To find it, I need to keep up with Hywel Roberts,
the warden that looks after this fabulous landscape. He's as fit as a wild goat.
We're near the pig track, just below Snowdon.
You'll always see ravens high up on the mountains.
It's their natural habitat
and these may well roost at night on Anglesey, in Newborough Forest.
But we haven't climbed up here to see a raven.
Hywel walks many miles on these slopes, looking for wildlife,
and he's found something very special on a rock facing the sun.
And this is it, the purple saxifrage.
Indeed, yes. Very bright colours.
Beautiful. The petals are a bright purple colour.
What you've got here is tight clusters of leaves on the stems.
Of all of them, because mossy saxifrage, starry saxifrage,
stone lily, a real speciality here,
this is my favourite because this is the kind of skinhead of the Arctic alpines.
It comes out in February, March, when you've got ice and snow.
-This is the real hard one, isn't it?
-A tough guy, this one.
And of course, the term saxifrage itself means tough creatures.
They are literally breaking the rock, they are rock-breakers.
In this instance, where they're growing is on dark rock,
which is slightly less acidic than the general type of rock here.
There's just that bit more nutrient there that leaks into the rock and that's the opportunity they want.
The other thing that Arctic alpine plants want is altitude and the right aspect.
We're relatively high up here, about 500m above sea level.
Today, we're fortunate to be facing the sun. It's getting the best of it.
It's had an early start at this location.
Saying that, we are late in the year for flowering, about a month to six weeks later than usual
because of the exceptionally hard winter we've had.
It's the only bit of colour here.
The grass has died back from last summer, autumn, the hard winter,
and the only bit of colour, a bit of purple, is this one little flower.
It is a gem. It's something to raise the spirits at the end of winter, the start of spring.
Spring is here now, for me.
Later in the programme, I'll be heading to another stunning upland,
the Rhinog Mountains and there, I'll be tracking wild goats.
Before that, I head to the Menai Straits.
Between the mainland of north west Wales and Anglesey,
the Menai Straits opens onto Conway Bay.
Here you find Traeth Lafan, a big expanse of mudflats
and a very important wildlife habitat.
It's overlooked by Penrhyn Castle, a mock medieval castle
built during the 19th century.
As the tide drops, the mudflats are quickly exposed
and they then become the richest feeding grounds in Wales for wading birds.
Many species come here to feed.
It's one of the best places in Wales to see the tremendous range of birds
that live on our coasts.
The small birds are dunlin - our most common estuary bird.
This oystercatcher is being pestered by a turnstone.
He's prised open a mussel. The turnstone wants a piece of the action.
But with the constant hassling, he picks up the wrong bit.
There are also many species of wildfowl here.
These are pintail.
They're migratory birds that have come from northern Scandinavia and Russia to escape the Arctic winter.
They arrive during September and leave in early March.
And even though it's now still winter, this pair is mating.
As the Arctic summer is short, most migratory ducks
will mate before their journey north, so they can start breeding
as soon as they arrive on the Arctic tundra.
The tide comes in very quickly on the Menai Strait.
When that happens, the feeding area is reduced and the waders move up the shore.
Traeth Lafan's a great place for birds.
It's a huge expanse of sand and mud
and it's especially interesting when the tide comes in
because it pushes a lot of these birds before it
and that's when the dunlin and the redshank and the teal and the wigeon
are at most danger from predatory birds, like the peregrine.
A male peregrine begins his search for prey.
A female, probably his partner, is also hunting.
Peregrines are often seen on estuaries during winter.
The tell-tale sign that they're about is the sight of flocks
turning and twisting, trying to evade capture.
The problem for the peregrine in such a big open area
is that he'll be seen immediately by his target birds.
But he has speed and a strategy.
He swoops low to make the birds scatter,
in the hope that in the confusion, one might be caught.
Being the fastest living thing,
with a dive that can reach a speed of more than 120mph,
it's a strategy that usually works.
But not always.
In the old county of Meirionnydd, you'll find Llyn Trawsfynydd.
The two large landmarks of the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear power stations lie on the far bank.
But this manmade reservoir was built for a different and much earlier power station,
the small hydro-electric power station of Maentwrog, that lies at the bottom of this deep gorge.
In the gorge, there's an ancient woodland.
The damp conditions that exist there create an unique habitat
and as a result, very rare plants grow.
I'm right down at the bottom of the gorge here
and the environment is a very wet one.
With higher rainfall throughout the year, you've got waterfalls
and that means that there's humidity in the air constantly
and because of that, everything - the tree trunks, branches, rocks are covered in plants.
It's what they call a temperate rainforest,
just as rich as a tropical rainforest,
and the one special thing here is this moss on the rock in front of me
That is found in only four sites in the whole of Britain,
all of them in gorges like this in north Wales.
It's here throughout the year. It belongs to a group called bottlebrush mosses.
Close up, the arrangement of the leaves looked like the filaments on a bottlebrush.
A few miles from Llyn Trawsfynydd, there's another ancient temperate woodland at Ganllwyd.
Here too, the wet conditions promote the growth of mosses and lichens,
some of them so rare that this is the only place in Britain you'll find them.
Some of the trees in these ancient broadleaved woodlands date back to the Middle Ages and beyond.
When they die, they're just left to rot, like this old oak trunk here.
And that, along with the very high rainfall we have in north west Wales
means that they're ideal places for all kinds of fungi.
These play an important role in this habitat.
As the trees rot, they break down the dead wood
and recycle nutrients for new growth.
They're also a wonderful addition to the beauty of the woodland.
The rich growth of plants exists in these woodlands
because it's humid, the soil is acidic and the climate is always relatively warm,
and they're all close to the coast.
They're specific conditions that make these Welsh woodlands unique.
In another temperate woodland called Coed Crafnant, near Harlech,
there's a terrific example of resourceful bird behaviour.
Woodpeckers drill holes in trees to form a nest.
When they've finished with them, other birds use them.
The nuthatch adapts a woodpecker's nest in an ingenious way.
The hole is too big for it, so it makes it smaller.
It adds mud to the opening.
It takes a breeding pair about two days to achieve the desired size.
They're amazing birds.
They're the only ones that can run up and down a tree in any direction.
The next is then left to dry for two weeks,
until the mud becomes as hard as concrete.
An inventive way of using someone else's home.
Not far from the temperate broadleaved woodland of Meirionnydd
lies a much bigger forested area.
Coed y Brenin is the biggest conifer plantation in North Wales.
Trees were first planted here around 100 years ago.
It's now a vast area covering 9,000 acres.
It's only when you climb up above it that you get some idea
of the sheer size of Coed y Brenin. It is huge.
It extends for miles all around me here.
Mainly coniferous trees but a few broadleaves as well,
scattered here and there.
And there are hundreds of fallow deer in this forest.
They're difficult to find because these really are wild animals.
If you want to see them, the best time is first thing in the morning.
Wild fallow deer, in an area like this, are difficult to track.
They have great hearing and a very keen sense of smell.
They usually come into these glades in the early morning or late evening
to feed on the grass.
If they detect you, they simply disappear into the forest.
Coed y Brenin is open to the public
and is one of the best places in Wales to see wild fallow deer.
After resting inside the forest overnight,
these have come out into the open, to a small patch of pasture, to feed.
There are about 300 deer in the forest
and glades have been created to tempt the deer out into the open.
They vary a great deal in colour.
There are plain, reddish-brown ones...
..and ones with spots.
Others are a lighter, grey-brown colour.
This does not reflect the different age or different sex.
It's simply a variation.
Some of the deer in Coed y Brenin are a dark brown colour -
its very own speciality.
This one is a young male.
Fallow deer are not native to Britain.
They were introduced during Norman times for hunting in deer parks.
Many, like these, live wild in our woodlands and parks.
This is Cwm Nancol in the Rhinog mountains.
I'm tracking some even more elusive mammals.
They're wild goats.
You can spot them quite easily.
But if you try and get near them, they keep on moving.
It's thought these uplands have the greatest wild goat population
per hectare in the entire United Kingdom.
That may be so.
But it's hard work tracking them.
I've been following this heft of goats all morning.
They've given me the run-around. I've finally found them.
They're in rut at the moment - they're fighting.
There are three big billys.
The billys are the ones with the huge flat, swept-back horns.
And they've got five or six nannies.
They've got smaller spiral horns.
Every now and again, they'll stop, they'll fight.
The dominant billy will mate with all of those nannies.
They're well-equipped for life out here.
I've come out in my gear, but they're much faster than me.
They can cross rocks using their hooves.
They've got this thick coat
that will keep out the worst of the winter rain and cold.
Amazing animals. Superbly well adapted for this environment.
Wild goats are not true wild animals. They're feral.
Some may be derived from domestic goats
that escaped during the land clearances of the 19th Century.
Others may even be derived from much earlier stock
and possibly date back to the Ice Age.
There may be as many as 500 goats on these mountains.
During winter, some of these goats can become a nuisance.
They move down the valley to browse.
That's often in someone's back garden.
But here in the uplands, they're a wonderful addition
to this rugged landscape.
And during the autumn rut, they put on an incredible show.
These three males are fighting over a female.
But with little success.
Many people come to Wales to walk and climb
the mountains and hills of Snowdonia.
Indeed, on a beautiful sunny day,
the coast and estuaries are particularly striking.
Shortly, I'll be learning about shags and Atlantic grey seals.
But for now, I head for a piece of iconic landscape.
On a rocky outcrop overlooking the big expanse of sand and mudflats
stands the unique village of Portmeirion.
Built by the architect, Clough Williams-Ellis
and made famous in the 1960s' TV series, The Prisoner.
But during the past few years, the dramatic views that you see here
are not restricted to beautiful landscape.
It's also a place where you'll see some spectacular wildlife.
See the tower there, the tall tower?
The stone that built that was taken from an old 12th-Century castle
situated up on the hill in front of me.
You can see why they built the castle and the village here.
It looks out over the Dwyryd Estuary. What an amazing view.
And I like estuaries.
I hear the term 'big sky' and I always think of estuaries.
Look at that. Very little land and a lot of sky.
Blue sky here now.
The estuary is shallow, even when the tide is all the way in.
That encourages a lot of fish.
Flat fish and particularly mullet.
Those are the favourite food of Wales's rarest breeding bird.
It's an osprey - a bird of prey that eats fish.
Grey mullet often come close inshore, particularly at summer.
They swim in very shallow water.
They feed by shovelling mouthfuls of mud
and swallowing just about anything that's edible.
They also spawn inshore. During the summer, they're seen in big numbers.
Fishermen find them hard to catch
because hooks don't attach readily on their soft lips.
But that's no problem for the master fisherman.
It doesn't need a rod, it has claws.
In flight, an osprey looks like no other British bird of prey.
It's white and has big, floppy wings.
Ospreys bred for the first time in Wales during 2004.
And a pair has returned to the same nesting site a few miles from here
every year since then.
They are migratory birds
and fly here all the way from Africa every spring to breed
and return in early autumn.
This particular osprey has chosen the Dwyryd Estuary
as one of its main feeding sites
and during the summer, can be regularly seen here.
But it doesn't always catch its prey.
It will have several attempts before it's successful.
In deep water, they often go over their heads.
Because they are big birds, they can struggle to take off again.
In shallow water, they use a different technique
and try to grab the fish at the surface.
Eventually, this one succeeds.
Once it has a fish in the safety of its talons,
it turns it so that the head is pointing forward
to minimise wind resistance.
Most of the people on the shore at Portmeirion
are completely unaware of the amazing spectacle
taking place out on the estuary.
Always keep your eyes open. You don't know what you may be missing.
Not far from Portmeirion, another special bird can be seen.
This one only comes to Wales during the winter.
These are whooper swans.
They're grazing on a field in the Glaslyn Valley.
Like the osprey, they're migratory birds.
But these come here from the far north.
They're visitors from Iceland.
You've got to be so careful with whooper swans.
They're really nervous, very jumpy birds.
Their necks and heads are up straightaway.
I'm not within 300-400 metres of them yet.
These whooper swans have chosen this big field carefully.
Here, they can see a long way.
If there's a threat, whether it's a human, like me,
or a predator, like a fox, they'll see it a long distance away,
giving them plenty of time to take evasive action.
Even when they're busy eating,
there's always one or two with their heads up, keeping watch.
I think there are about 60-odd whooper swans in this flock.
It's the biggest one in Wales.
If you look carefully, you'll see that most of them are pure white.
Those are the adults, with a big wedge of yellow on their beak.
But every now and again, you see one with a colourless beak
and quite a grey colour all over its body.
Those are the youngsters.
Unlike many migrants, like, say, the swallow, for example,
where once the young have left the nest,
they abandon them and make their own way down to Africa.
Adult whoopers are fantastic.
They breed up in Iceland
and bring the youngsters all the way down here to their wintering ground.
So they teach them the best areas to stop off, the best areas to feed.
They show them exactly where they have to come for the winter.
They're really good parents.
Whooper swans are very different to the mute swan
that you see all-year-round in Britain
on canals, lakes and rivers.
A few mute swans have mixed in with these whoopers.
They have orange and black bills.
Whooper swans have bright yellow ones.
You frequently see them grazing together.
The mute swans benefit because the whooper swans are so observant.
They both eat grass. That's the great attraction here.
Not only can they see all around them,
but feeding is also good, thanks to a very tolerant farmer.
This group of whooper swans
has been coming to the same fields on the same farm for decades.
They arrive here during October
and leave during April to return to Iceland to breed.
What's terrific about these birds
is that they can be viewed from the roadside near Portmeirion.
I can't imagine there are many other places in Britain
where you can view such a stunning bird
in such a magnificent landscape.
The royal borough of Caernarfon
and its famous castle, built by Edward I.
But a part of Caernarfon that's usually overlooked by visitors
is the bay just outside the town.
It's called Y Foryd, the Welsh word for an estuary.
Like Traeth Lafan, the best time to visit here is the winter.
It's then you'll see visiting waders and wildfowl in their thousands.
But surprisingly, one of the main attractions here
is a rather ordinary bird exhibiting extraordinary behaviour.
Crows are intelligent birds.
There are three or four here, trying to open cockles and mussels.
But their beaks are not adapted for battering shells.
So what they do, they pick them up, fly into the air
and drop them on the rocks.
If it doesn't open the first time, they'll repeat the process again.
And what I find fascinating is that this isn't instinctive.
This is learnt behaviour,
which means that initially, there was just one bird doing it.
All the others have learnt from that individual.
That's a sign of intelligence.
They're incredibly patient.
Picking the shell up is obviously tricky.
But in the end, it's clearly worth it.
A small morsel of mussel can be enjoyed.
When the tide is right and the mudflats are exposed,
you'll see a far less common bird on the Foryd -
one that's come a long way to be in Caernarfon.
These are brent geese, pale-bellied brent geese.
They've bred in Arctic Canada.
About 210 birds have made it all the way down here to Foryd Bay.
They've been waiting for the tide to go out
because it's exposed a bank of seaweed here. They'll feed there.
But they won't feed on the thick, leathery, brown seaweed.
What they're after is the green,
succulent, palatable seaweed, like sea lettuce.
They absolutely love it. They're tucking into that right now.
Brent geese arrive on the Welsh coast in early October
to spend the winter feeding on our shores.
During April, they'll begin their truly mammoth journey.
They'll first head off to Iceland,
and stop there to fatten up, ready for the next leg of their voyage.
After increasing their bodyweight by forty percent,
they'll then travel a further 2,000 miles north over Greenland
to reach their breeding grounds on the Canadian Arctic tundra.
No other goose breeds further north than the brent goose.
Conveniently, they're in Caernarfon during the winter,
so you don't have to go on an arctic expedition to see them.
To the south west of Caernarfon,
you quickly reach the north coast of the Lleyn Peninsula.
It's a beautiful stretch of coastline facing Caernarfon Bay.
There's something special about the area around the village of Trefor.
It may have its own microclimate,
or perhaps the conditions in the surrounding sea are unusual.
Whatever it is, something here affects the breeding behaviour
of one species of seabird.
We're really lucky in Wales
because we've got this incredible coastline.
A rocky coast like this is a fantastic place for birds.
You've got gulls dotted everywhere, some out on the sea as well.
You've also got shags nesting on this cliff facing me, over there.
And shags are like small cormorants, really.
Usually you see them and think it's a black bird.
But close up like this with the sun on them, they are stunning.
They're kind of a bronzy-green colour
with this amazing green eye. A bit of yellow on the beak, as well.
There are three or four colonies around the bay here
that are pretty much unique in Wales
because they nest a month earlier than other shags do.
Nobody really knows why. Nobody's looked into it.
But it's got to be connected to food.
So there must be an influx of fish out there early in the year
which allows them to nest earlier than the other birds in Wales.
It's a great place to come. You can sit down not far away
and you can watch them. It's brilliant.
Cliff nesting has its obvious hazards.
It's important to build on a safe ledge away from the waves.
It's what the experienced birds do.
Some of the nests have been here and reused for decades.
They use all sorts of material.
Most of these birds are sitting on eggs,
but some are still courting.
This is a young, inexperienced pair.
The male raised his prominent crest and offers nesting material.
The female is not particularly impressed.
Though breeding is clearly not a problem,
finding nesting space will be more difficult.
The spot they have chosen will not be suitable
and they'll probably fail to raise young.
As you would expect, for birds that predominantly feed on fish,
they are great swimmers.
It's a fairly sheltered part of the Welsh coast
and the sea isn't churned up by big sea movements.
As a result, you have great views of the shags swimming underwater.
They can dive up to 45-metres deep to find prey on the sea bottom.
But this one is collecting seaweed for its nest.
Towering above the village of Trefor and its shags lies Yr Eifl.
At around 1800 feet,
it's the highest mountain in this part of north west Wales
and marks the beginning of the Lleyn Peninsula.
On a hill beside it lies the Iron Age hill fort of Tre'r Ceiri.
A fabulous site with a magnificent view.
It's one of the most well-preserved remains
of this type of fort in Britain.
Most of the peninsula is flat farmland.
Generally, people visit here for the large, unspoilt beaches.
One of the tourist destinations on the peninsula is Pwllheli.
And in the least obvious location, by the side of the main road,
you'll witness a fantastic spectacle between February and June.
It's really unusual to be eye-level with nesting herons like this.
Usually, they nest right at the tops of the highest trees.
But here, they're low down in willows.
And I like herons. They're kind of primordial birds.
They look as if they belong 1,000-2,000 years ago, not now.
They've got this prehistoric look about them.
Here, you have glam and punk together in one nest.
The adults with their magnificent head feathers,
the chicks with their ruffled Mohawk hairdos.
But why do the adults need to look so exotic?
It must be related to courtship.
They only look like this during breeding season.
It's clear that pair bonding plays an important part in their lives.
Every time one of them returns to the nest,
they go through a greeting ritual.
They have one of the longest breeding periods of any Welsh bird.
It will last four months.
The chicks will need to be fed in the nest for two months.
This is precisely why they start nesting in early March.
It's all timed so that plenty of food is available
when the chicks need it most, during April, May and June.
Although the adults mainly eat fish,
during the spring, they'll eat anything.
Frogs are easy targets and abundant during that crucial period.
At the tip of the Lleyn Peninsula lies Bardsey Island.
For me, this is the most important part in terms of wildlife.
Colin Evans runs a ferry service to Bardsey from the mainland,
which operates only on a calm day.
It's a treacherous crossing.
It's a lovely coastline.
The rock formation, some of the inlets in the bays.
-It's an incredible place.
Especially as there are some of the oldest rocks in Europe here.
They say that about 9,000 years ago,
Bardsey Sound, which we're about to cross
and has got 150 feet of water in it, was a dry valley.
The earliest indications of human life that we've got on Bardsey
are early Neolithic, about 7,000-9,000 years ago.
From the density of things they've found,
they could have been nomadic people who came back year after year,
which wouldn't have been easy with a sea crossing.
-No. They would have walked.
-I'm sure they would.
-That's incredible, isn't it?
And now, the tidal race here,
you can't even cross for most of the day, can you?
Not for a lot of the day, depending on the size of the tide.
But they used to row and sail
when men were men and a bit tougher than we are now.
I wouldn't fancy rowing that. I really wouldn't fancy it.
You'd get used to it, like anything else.
Bear in mind, when it was regularly rowed by the island's inhabitants,
the island was at its heyday.
-It was a massive site for pilgrims, wasn't it?
They say three pilgrimages to Bardsey were equal to one to Rome.
So that gives you an idea of its importance.
This is a good spot for seals, just as we come in the bay.
This is one of the main bays on the island. It's called Yr Honllwyn.
-There's some hauled up here.
These are Atlantic grey seals.
You can see them all year round on Bardsey,
as you can along the whole Welsh coast.
This pile of rocks near the small harbour
is a favourite spot for them.
At low tide, they haul themselves out onto the rocks
to sunbathe and rest.
In most places, seals usually scatter back into the water
if people get too close, and you have to be aware of this.
Although they're big and can protect themselves by biting,
they're very sensitive and can easily be upset.
The big seal in the centre that's pestering everyone is a bull.
He has a bigger head than the female and a very prominent nose.
A century ago, 100 people lived on Bardsey.
It was a thriving self-sufficient farming community.
Today, that number is down to eight people.
It's a quiet, remote and tranquil location.
A wonderful place.
I do love offshore islands.
They're just... I don't know.
It's somewhere you can come and find a bit of peace, I always think.
Just you and nature.
They're great places.
There's a hive of activity here - a lot of birds,
a lot of seals off shore, porpoises and dolphins.
Bardsey is a terrific place.
What's interesting as well with Bardsey, see all these holes?
Well, Bardsey's main attraction, in a way, isn't active by day.
They come out at night.
Underneath me at the moment, in these holes,
there are 17,000 pairs of Manx shearwaters -
Wales's most important bird.
You can stay on Bardsey overnight.
That's very important for anyone interested in wildlife,
as it's at night, during the hours of darkness in the summer months,
that the island comes to life.
The first thing you notice at night is the noise.
It's quite haunting.
And the sounds are made by thousands of Manx shearwaters
as they come out of their burrows.
These have been filmed with a night-vision camera.
Although they're great flyers, they're clumsy on land
and can hardly move on their feet.
That's one of the principle reasons why they stay in the burrows by day.
Out in the open, they'd be easily picked off
an eaten by marauding gulls.
Shearwaters spend most of the year out at sea.
They fly here from the South Atlantic every year.
From the Argentinean Coast, past Uruguay,
across to West Africa, arriving here on Bardsey in March.
Each pair will produce a single egg, rear their chick
and return late summer back to the South Atlantic.
An incredible round trip covering thousands of miles.
One bird ringed on Bardsey 53 years ago
still returns to the island each summer.
She's estimated to have travelled
more than four-million miles in her lifetime.
They say that 20,000 saints have been buried on Bardsey.
If it's true, then I can't think of a better place of rest.
I've lived in Wales all my life.
Through my work with wildlife, I've been lucky enough
to have visited every part of the country
and seen pretty much everything there is to see.
But for me, what makes Wales unique
is that it's small enough to get to know it intimately,
yet big enough to always have a few surprises in store.
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