The Abersoch area has an amazing variety of wildlife right on its doorstep. There is one of the U.K.'s rarest birds, rare orchids on the golf course, dolphins and seals in the bay, one of the finest examples of heathland in North Wales and sea-cliffs with a microclimate matched only by the south coast of the Isle of Wight!

The headlands surrounding the village are home to the Chough, one of Britain's rarest birds. They used to be common in coastal and inland areas around western and southern Britain, but are now to be found only in parts of Wales, the Isle of Man and south-west Scotland, with the Lleyn being one of their strongholds. They are the true masters of the air and their acrobatic flight and loud "cheeow"calls are characteristic of these wild headlands. They are a member of the crow family and can be told apart by their glossy black plumage, red beak and legs.

Other birds include Buzzards, Peregrines, the Raven (a relative of the Chough), the penguin like Guillemot, the Fulmar (a relative of the Albatross that goes on honeymoon before nesting!), Stonechats, Linnets, Whitethroats and Willow Warblers. Puffins nest nearby and the occasional exotic visitor turns up, such as the Hoopoe, that seems to prefer a misty Welsh headland to a Spanish olive grove!

Mammals include Badger and Fox, Rabbits are common and the area has a good population of Brown Hares. Polecats can be seen if you are lucky, as can both Weasel and Stoat. Probably the most obvious of the mammals are the seals and dolphins. The Abersoch area is famous for its Bottle-nosed Dolphins with up to 20 being seen throughout the year. The smaller Harbour Porpoise and the Risso's Dolphin are also to be found, the latter around Bardsey Island. Grey Seals are found around the peninsula and can be seen resting on rocky islets or scaring surfers throughout the year. They give birth to their pups in the autumn in the more isolated coves and inlets.

There are many wild flowers around Abersoch and the mild climate means that several species can be seen in flower in the depths of winter. The headlands are home to a very special collection of heather and gorse that is found only on the west coast of the UK and are a blaze of gold and purple in late summer. Many interesting species are to be found including the rare Green-winged Orchid, Spring Squill and the very rare Spotted Rockrose can be seen nearby. This tiny plant only flowers for a matter of hours before its petals fall off. Another very rare plant is the Prostrate Broom which grows on the edge of the very highest and steepest cliffs on the peninsula - so is a rather dangerous plant to look for.

The mild climate and abundance of wild flowers mean that there are many interesting insects in the area. The microclimate on some of the low cliffs is similar only to parts of the Isle of Wight and there is a type of beetle that is found only at these two locations. Other beetles include the Glow-worm, the Minotaur Beetle (which looks like a mini Triceratops), and the Green Tiger Beetle, which is one of the fastest predators in the world! Butterflies include the Dark-green Fritillary and the rare Marsh Fritillary and day-flying moths such as the Emperor and the stunning Scarlet Tiger.

Written by Dave "Chough" Lamacraft of the RSPB.