It has been a busy year for wildlife at South Stack in 2019. Our breeding pairs of Chough (the rarest member of the crow family with approximately 300 on mainland UK) have had 26 chicks that left the reserve! This is great news for the local chough population and our highest number in decades.
Our Guillemot and Razorbill numbers have done really well too with our highest ever recorded numbers. Denise the Warden counts the total number of individual birds on the cliff in the summer. We had nearly 1400 Razorbills compared to 612 in 1999 and 11,000 Guillemots compared to 3315 in 1999! Why? There are lots of influences that keep seabirds breeding here - from lots of fish to feed on to other bird colonies moving to the site. One of the big changes which began in the 1980’s was to restrict the time of year when people are allowed to climb on the cliffs, which meant the birds can breed in peace. This was the first initiative of its kind in the UK.
23 fluffy seal pups were spotted on coves around the reserve. Some of these sites are only visible from the sea so it does make counting them interesting! Did you know that seal pups are abandoned by their mums at just 3 weeks old and left to fend for themselves! This is because she doesn’t eat while she is feeding them.
Ellin’s tower was very popular this year with a film about the reserve made by a local volunteer. Despite the wind and rain, we have kept it open most of the year with portaloos and a catering van in the car park.
2020 will bring lots of new things for South Stack. The demolition and rebuild of the public toilets, staff area and lower café along with the refurbishment to the rest of the building will create a fantastic new space for our visitors. The team is really looking forward to welcoming you. We are also pleased to have somewhere to eat our lunch and plan the day’s activities. The old building leaked a lot so we are all looking forward to being cosy with our environmentally friendly air-source heating and solar electricity panels.
Our café will offer a mouth-watering menu made fresh on site with local produce along with cakes baked on the island from Becws mefus and local ice cream from Mon ar lwy.
We will have a new guided walk this year taking in the human history of the reserve and visiting all the scheduled monuments with a picnic included. With other guided walks about the reserve run by a local volunteer throughout the season. We look forward to working with the lighthouse staff and offering the best possible experience to all that visit South stack.
Building project update
The building will become water tight in the coming weeks. You may notice some work on the slope below the visitor centre towards Ellin’s tower. This is a new sewage system with reed beds for the visitor centre. The car park and footpath will be off limits until mid-February whilst this work occurs.
What’s Going On in 2020?
The Birds are Back on May 23, 24, and 25. 10.30 – 16.00
A weekend of learning about the seabirds at South stack from Puffins amazing journey to Guillemots chicks taking a 100 meter jump from the cliffs when they can’t fly. With over 10,000 seabirds to see it is an experience not to be missed!
Meet the Sheep, May 16 10.00 – 17.00
Meet RSPB South Stack's sheep, see them being sheared, learn about what happens to the wool. With spinners and weavers ready to answer any questions.
South Stack in Bloom, August 8 & 9. 10.30 – 16.00
South Stack is carpeted with purple, pink and yellow it is a natural wonder not to be missed. Learn about why these plants grow here and why people harvested them for thousands of years. With stands selling local produce and children’s activities.
Get in touch
We would also love to hear direct from you with your own stories, experiences and local knowledge of the site. Visit us at the reserve; give us a call or send us an email.
RSPB South Stack
South Stack, Holyhead, Anglesey LL65 1YH
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654