Birdwatching in Dumfries & Galloway

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  • A red kite dives in for food at the Bellymack Hill Farm Red Kite Feeding Station in Laurieston, near Castle Douglas
    A red kite at the Bellymack Hill Farm Red Kite Feeding Station near Castle Douglas
  • An osprey soars in flight.
    A soaring osprey

Whether you are an avid 'twitcher' or just enjoy spotting birds as you explore Scotland's great outdoors, you'll soon discover that there are some wonderful opportunities for bird watching in Dumfries & Galloway.

There is a fantastic variety of avian species to be seen at the various RSPB and other managed reserves across the region including magnificent raptors and huge numbers of migrant wildfowl and geese.


For seabirds, head west to the Rhins of Galloway which offers some of the best seawatching in the region and where you'll regularly find gannet, shags, fulmars and various species of divers. The sheer cliffs along the Mull of Galloway host the largest seabird colony in the area and is home to nesting guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and puffins.

Migrant geese

For geese and waders,  you can see them en masse in autumn and winter at places such as WWT Caerlaverock (south of Dumfries), Mersehead (near Kirkbean), West Freugh (east of Portpatrick) and Wigtown Bay (around and opposite the town of the same name). Huge numbers of migrant wading birds and wildfowl come here from autumn until late spring and the area is internationally renowned for its migrant pink-footed, barnacle and greenland geese flocks as well as its whooper swans.

Golden eagles, ospreys and red kites

There are plenty of raptors to be found on inland sites, particularly around the heather hills, ancient woodland and lochs in the beautiful Galloway Forest Park, Britain's largest forst park. Merlins, red kites, hen harriers, barn owl can all be found here along with the majestic golden eagle on the park's breezy uplands.

There are also several breeding pairs of ospreys in Dumfries & Galloway and if you're lucky, you'll witness them fishing on Loch Ken. Even if you're not, during the summer months you can still watch watch CCTV pictures of the breeding ospreys on their nests as they're fed back to the viewing room in Wigtown County Buildings or to WWT Caerlaverock.

Another undoubted highlight for bird enthusiasts is the Galloway Kite Trail. Following a successful re-introduction programme, the circular trail was set up to let people see these amazing birds in their natural habitat. The trail has various stopping off points where the birds are usually spotted while at Bellymack Hill Farm near Laurieston, a hide overlooks a feeding station where the kites are fed daily.

Browse our listings to plan your birdwatching trip in Dumfries & Galloway today.
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26 results, currently showing 21 to 26
  1. RSPB Crook of Baldoon Reserve


    Nature Centres & Reserves



    One of RSPB's newest reserves, with a superb view accross the Cree Estuary to the Galloway Hills. The return of geese and waders in winter really brings the merse and coast to life. Breeding skylark and lapwing are common in summer.

  2. C-N-Do Dumfries & Galloway


    Hiking Tour


    Dumfries and Surrounding Area

    Whether it’s sweeping coasts, mighty mountains, rolling hills or magical forests, C-N-Do offer many fine walks and hiking trips in this delightful corner of Scotland.

  3. Galloway Kite Trail


    Nature Centres & Reserves


    Castle Douglas

    The trail is a great way to explore scenic, inner Galloway while looking for the spectacular red kite, a bird of prey reintroduced here since 2001. A 24 mile circular road trip, open all year round (plus 14 mile summer trail in Galloway Forest Park).

  4. Kirroughtree Cafe & Bike Shop


    Nature Centres & Reserves


    Newton Stewart

    Kirroughtree has a great restaraunt and bike shop so you can fill up on great food before hiring a bike or using your own on the world renowned 7stanes Kirroughtree trails. Fantastic forest walks and amazing wildlife there to be discovered.

  5. Applegarthtown Wildlife Sanctuary


    Nature Centres & Reserves


    • 2 Wildlife Experience
    2 Wildlife Experience


    Applegarthtown, with its wetland habitat, is internationally recognised for its highly successful artificial sand martin nesting banks.

  6. WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre


    Nature Centres & Reserves


    • 4 Wildlife Experience
    4 Wildlife Experience


    This spectacular 1,400 acre wild reserve of the Wildlife & Wetlands Trust is situated on the north Solway Coast.


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