Nature Highlights

Where We Are >> Galloway Tour >> Naturalist Country >> Nature Highlights

If you would like to come on a guided wildlife break, see Activity Weeks.


  • Red Kites - for certain sighting, go to the feeding station at Bellymack Farm at 2 p.m.! (Picture & caption in slideshow on previous page.)
  • Ospreys - see news item in News And Offers (menu above)for story.
  • Owls - we have a good population of Tawny and Barn owls on the estate and locally, which obviously come to life at the darkening, but with luck you can also see them by day - the other day I disturbed a Tawny in a lovely old spreading oak tree on a walk from home over Barlae Hill, and got a wonderfully close view of him.
  • Other Raptors: an extensive range including the relatively rarer Goshawk (est. 20+ breeding pairs, and rising), Hen Harrier (20 pairs), Peregrine falcon (80 pairs), and even the Golden Eagle (1 - 3 pairs) up in the Galloway Hills, where I have also seen Merlin. For beginners there's the obvious Buzzard, of which you can easily see 6 before breakfast (good chances of seeing them very close on walks, if you are unobtrusive), and also Sparrowhawks a-plenty.
  • Snipe and Woodcock - the estate has some classic wetland and woodland habitat for these (respectively), with resident populations supplemented by wintering incomers from November onwards.
  • Seabirds, Waders etc. - The Solway is of international importance for wintering Curlew (known in Scotland as a whaup): picture in slideshow on previous page; see also Winter In Galloway, in the section When To Come.

"When visiting the Solway I marvelled at the thousands of nesting curlew massed at the edge of the incoming tide." [Michael Seago, Birds of Britain].

There's so much more on seabirds that we'd better not get started here, but the wonderfully Chaplinesque Black Guillemots (with their clownish bright red feet) that nest in Portpatrick harbour through the Spring are well worth the hour's drive from Gelston.

  • 100 other birds - friends who live on the estate have logged 102 species in Galloway!

Other flora & fauna

Dragonfly enthusiasts should note that the rare Azure Hawker [aeshna caerulea] can be seen at the Silver Flowe, its most southerly location in Britain.

The Silver Flowe is a wonderful wetland habitat in one of the wildest corners of the Galloway Hills - a huge bog which is gently dome-shaped and home to many species of flora and fauna.

Some relatively uncommon butterflies can be found in some of Galloway's upland bog areas (two examples in slideshow on previous page).

More coming soon.

More wildlife information

Birdwatching guide for Dumfries & Galloway

To get this excellent free booklet from Dumfries & Galloway Council Ranger Service, just send a self-addressed A5 envelope with 2 x 1st Class stamps to:

Ranger Service (Keith Kirk), 4 Market Street, Castle Douglas DG7 1BE.

Nature Downloads (PDF)

These free downloads require Adobe / Acrobat Reader, and preferably a colour printer if you want to print them. You can choose to save the file or open it now (Adobe starts separately, while this web page remains open).

Coming soon

External Links (menu above)

Several good sites, incl. Keith Kirk's D&G natural history website, with details of best wildlife places etc.

Rejoin the Galloway Tour

Back to Naturalist Country, or go on to the next stop:

  1. The Debris Of History

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01556 502211
From abroad:
+44 1556 502211

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Last modified: Mon Sep 6 12:14:00 2010
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