Local wild places

“Galloway is varied, beautiful and rich in bird-life. Within its boundaries mountain and moor march with loch, woodland and river and many a farm is blessed with those wild corners that are so valuable to flowers, insects, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals. Rich estuaries are flanked by rugged coastline and there are uninhabited off shore islands. While much of Britain lives with increasing apprehension among the ravages caused by industry, large-scale monocultural farming and the pathetically short-sighted destruction of lovely countryside Galloway is still a microcosm of all that is bonny in Scotland”.

Those words still largely hold true even although written over twenty years ago by Dr Bryan Nelson as an introduction to our group’s book of Birdwalks in Dumfries & Galloway. Obviously our region has not been totally immune to the economic pressures which have caused piecemeal and widespread habitat damage in the UK, Europe and Worldwide. Not only do we still have a range of relatively unspoilt habitats but southwest Scotland is one of those fascinating zones where northern and southern species meet and overlap.

Most of our best-known birdwatching sites are along our coastline. The Solway is now recognised as one of the most important estuaries in Britain holding up to 40,000 wildfowl and 83,000 waders during the winter. Our westerly coastline also boasts superb sites like Loch Ryan, the Mull of Galloway and Corsewall Point. These southerly and westerly coasts are among the warmest and mildest parts of Scotland.

Our region also has a number of good reserves managed by RSPB and other conservation bodies. This section aims to help you explore our local area with an identified connection to explanatory websites where such exist. While we cannot cover all known sites in our immediate locality, far less the region, we can refer you to Dumfries & Galloway Council’s excellect guide to birdwatching in the region.

In Dumfries and Galloway we are lucky enough to have several RSPB reserves with visitor access. These can be found below or by clicking on the map.

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RSPB Ken-Dee Marshes

RSPB Mersehead

RSPB Mull of Galloway

RSPB Wood of Cree Nature Reserve