COVID UPDATE: The car park, viewing structures and trails are open. Masks must be worn (unless exempt) in hides, with distancing advised. Numbers inside the hides will therefore be restricted at any one time. Please follow the instructions on site and be considerate of other users. All of Scotland’s wild places and green spaces are vital for the survival of its unique, amazing wildlife. If you plan to head out to these areas please respect and protect Scotland’s great outdoors and leave no trace. #RespectProtectEnjoy #ScottishOutdoorAccessCode #CheckBeforeYouGo
A natural place, with 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.
The view that opens up in front of you as you approach the car park is breathtaking. Cairnsmore of Fleet and the Galloway Hills act as a backdrop to wild saltmarsh and mudflats which positively ooze with birdlife. Watch thousands of golden plovers, lapwings, knots and dunlins wheel in the sky in a mesmerising display.
Between December and March the Crook plays host to thousands of winter visitors such as pink-footed and barnacle geese and a large number of shelducks, whooper and mute swans that feed and roost on the merse. In the hawthorn and crab apple trees you might see hundreds of redwings and fieldfares. Other birds that can be seen are oystercatchers, curlews, ringed plovers, pintails and wigeons.
Along the upper saltmarsh there are wheatears, meadow pipits and skylarks, as well as linnets and goldfinches.
The vast amounts of visiting birds attract birds of prey like peregrines, merlins and sparrowhawks. Ospreys can sometimes be seen fishing in the bay, but these are better viewed from the comfort of the osprey viewing room in the county buildings in Wigtown, with its live camera feed from a nest site.
The reserve is open all year. Entry is free, but we'd love it if you made a donation to help us continue our work here. For information about events on this reserve, check http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/.
Please note that this is a nature reserve with livestock. For your safety, please keep dogs on a short lead (less than 2 metres) to prevent the scaring of livestock.