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The Menai Strait is the narrow stretch of water that separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland of Wales and at its eastern end is is the 70 sq km of Traeth Lavan.
Exposed at low tide this large expanse of sand, mudflats and mussel beds extends from Bangor north-eastwards to Llanfairfechan and almost across the strait to Beaumaris where only a narrow channel of water remains.
A haven for waterfowl and waders, the sands attract several species in numbers of national importance.
Traeth Lavan is famous in ornithological circles for its Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser numbers. Both species can be seen throughout the year but at the end of summer numbers of both rise to several hundred as moulting birds begin to congregate.
Ducks wintering here include Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal and Northern Pintail with small numbers of Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, scoters and Long-tailed Duck and one or two of the scarcer grebes are also recorded.
Waders occur in sometimes very large numbers with Eurasian Oystercatcher and Dunlin the most numerous. Other species include Common Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew and Common Redshank but many others are present in small numbers.
Vagrants recorded in the Traeth Lavan area include a famous and long-staying male American Black Duck which first appeared in 1979. This bird took up residence here and mated with a female Mallard producing hybrid young.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Water Rail, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Common Kingfisher
History and Use
Much of the Traeth Lavan area is now under some form of protection as a series of nature reserves and there are various viewing points.
Areas of Interest
The Morfa Madryn reserve has hides overlooking shallow pools and lies a short distance to the west of Llanfairfechan[Map]promenade.
Further west at Aber a minor road from the A55 leads to the Morfa Aber[Map] reserve where there is a car-park, hide and a footpath to the east and west.
At Llandegai near Bangor a minor road past Penrhyn Castle leads to a car-park by the shore at Aber Ogwen and the Spinneys reserve.[Map]
It is possible to walk the entire length of the shore from Llanfairfechan to Aber Ogwen.
Access and Facilities
- Lavan Sands on Streetmap
- Llanfairfechan on Streetmap
- Morfa Aber on Streetmap
- Spinneys Reserve on Streetmap
Content and images originally posted by Steve