Come and See the Black Grouse Lek in North Wales
From the end of March until early June, male black grouse gather at dawn on the edges of the forest to strut their stuff, flash their white tail feathers and impress the watching females, hiding nearby.
RSPB Cymru are organising free early morning guided walks to the lek site at Coed Llandegla forest. Black grouse are renowned for their elusive nature, so the guided walks offer visitors a special chance to witness a lek first-hand, without the danger of disturbing the birds.
Des James, of RSPB Cymru, said: ‘The lek is mesmerising. In dancing terms, I would liken their performance to one of the Latin American styles, like a Pasa Doble – the passion and the drama is tremendous as these males strut proudly, showing off their moves in an effort to entice a female.’
The population at Coed Llandegla represents some 50 percent of the approximately 220 lekking black grouse found in Wales. The species is red-listed in Wales, which means it is of the highest conservation concern.
Des continued: ‘The work of conservation organisations and landowners to create ideal conditions for black grouse has helped their population in Wales increase from a low of 131 lekking males in 1997 to 213 in 2005, showing that conservation efforts really do have an impact.’
Coed Llandegla Forest is located on the A525, 7 miles west of Wrexham. From Chester take the A483 south from Chester towards Wrexham then take the A525 west, signposted Ruthin. From the Ruthin area take the A525 east towards Wrexham. Coed Llandegla Forest is signposted from the road.
Coed Llandegla Forest Visitor Centre
Llandegla, Wrexham LL11 3AA
Grid Reference: SJ 227520
There are usually guided walks to the viewing hide. Visitors with limited mobility can join selected trips. Telescopes and binoculars are on-hand to help visitors get the best view of the birds, plus a camera and microphone will capture all the action and help bring the spectacle even closer. After an hour or more enjoying the lek, the group will head back to the visitor centre in time for breakfast.
The guided walks usually take place from the end of March to the end of May. Spaces are limited so booking is essential. There is usally a small charge.
More details from the RSPB
Coed Llandegla trails, car park and toilets are open seven days a week but the visitor centre is closed on Mondays.
These maps are intended as a guideline only; you must check the exact location of the reserve yourself. Wildlife Extra assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or usefulness of the information on this website.