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Ramsey Island - BirdForum Opus


This 260ha island is an RSPB reserve and lies about 1.5km off the Pembroke coast to the north of St Brides Bay near St David's.

Unlike Skomer and Skokholm to the south, Ramsey consists of erosion-resitant igneous roaks and consequently the island is more rugged and hilly reaching 137m at Carn Llundain and there are offshore rocks and islets of various sizes. In the north much of the land is made up of farmed land with the fields separated by traditional Pembroke banks but the south is largely maritime heath, a scarce and declining habitat in Britain.


Notable Species

Ramsey is well-known for its population of Red-billed Chough but the island has other cliff-nesting birds such as Common Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon, Jackdaw and Northern Raven as well as seabird colonies including Shag, Northern Fulmar and Kittiwake and other gulls, Common Guillemot and Razorbill.

Small numbers of Manx Shearwater and Atlantic Puffin now breed and although Northern Gannet do not nest they can usually be seen at sea. The resident Common Scoter flock from St Brides Bay may also be seen. Other breeding species include Mallard and Common Buzzard, Oystercatcher and Northern Lapwing, Feral Pigeon and Little Owl.

Nesting passerines are few with the most numerous being Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Rock Pipit, Stonechat and there is a large population of Northern Wheatear. Small numbers of Barn Swallow, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird and other passerines also nest.

A wide range of migrants occurs on Ramsey from waterfowl and waders to warblers, thrushes, finches and buntings. Offshore in autumn shearwaters including Sooty Shearwater and Mediterranean Shearwater, skuas, gulls and terns pass by.

Scarcer migrants recorded regularly include divers, Little Egret and occasionally Greater White-fronted Goose, raptors including Hen Harrier and Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Osprey, Merlin and there are records of Red Kite and Northern Goshawk. Eurasian Dotterel is regular in September as is Wryneck and a Hoopoe is often seen in May.

Among the scarcer passerines usually recorded on Ramsey are Ring Ouzel in May, Common Firecrest in autumn and Snow Bunting and Lapland Bunting which both occur in late autumn-early winter.


Birds you can see here include:

Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Northern Fulmar, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, European Shag, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greater White-fronted Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Common Scoter, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Northern Goshawk, Common Buzzard, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Eurasian Dotterel, Eurasian Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Common Greenshank, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, Feral Pigeon, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Common Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Magpie, Red-billed Chough, Eurasian Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Northern Raven, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Eurasian Linnet, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Reed Bunting

Other Wildlife

This island is also important as a breeding site for Grey Seal with the largest colony in south-western Britain and there is a thriving herd of Red Deer.

Botanical interest on Ramsey lies mainly in the colourful maritime heath with Spring Squill Scilla verna, Western Gorse Ulex gallii and Thrift Armeria maritima but there are many other plant species of interest including Yellow Centaury Cicendia filiformis, Lanceolate Spleenwort Asplenium billotii, Floating Water Plantain Luronium natans and an unusual maritime form of Juniper Juniperus communis, found here and at a very few cliff sites on the Pembroke coast.

Site Information

Access and Facilities

The island can be visited by the general public between Easter and the end of October but is closed on Fridays and there is a limit of 40 visitors per day.

Boats for Ramsey leave the lifeboat station at St Justinians at 10.00 and 13.00, returning at 13.15 and 16.00.

Grid Ref: SM706237

Contact Details

Groups visits should be arranged in advance with RSPB Ramsey c/o Tegfan, Caerbwdi, St Davids, Pembrokeshire, SA62 6QP (November-March), or RSPB Ramsey Island, St Justinians, St Davids, Pembrokeshire SA62 6PY. Tel: 07836 535733 (April-October).

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve