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The Galloway Forest Park is a fantastic sanctuary for birdwatchers with huge range of natural habitat capable of sustaining a wide selection of birdlife, including the recently returned Osprey and the re-introduced Red Kite.
Highlights of a bridwatching trip in and around the Galloway Forest Park include:
The 'Papy Ha' Bird Trail
Choice of 3.5 or 5 mile trails in Galloway Forest Park attracting birds from park & garden, woodland, farmland, heathland, mountain and moorland, marsh, loch, river and estuary. You may expect to see over 100 species in the course of a year. This is a mostly flat walk, following a Forestry Commission "bird trail" in Kirroughtree Forest, which is situated within the Galloway Forest Park, near Newton Stewart.
The Galloway Red Kite Trail
An exciting and inspiring new birdwatching opportunity to view spectacular Red Kites in breathtaking scenery is now attracting the attention of walkers, cyclists, wildlife lovers and birdwatchers in Dumfries and Galloway and from much further afield. The 'Galloway Kite Trail' runs alongside the beautiful western shore of Loch Ken near Mossdale, which also helps promote the population of Kites, recently re-established in Kirkcudbrightshire.
Wood of Cree
Inhabitants and visitors are extremely lucky to have the largest ancient wood in Southern Scotland, right on the doorstep. Wood of Cree lies just four miles north of Newton Stewart. In spring, the wood comes alive with birdsong, along with fabulous flora, as the resident birds are joined by Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers and Garden Warblers from Africa.
Mull of Galloway
The most southerly point in Scotland. The cliffs are home to thousands of breeding seabirds including Guillemots, Razorbills and a few Puffins. Best time for nesting seabirds - April to July. The nature reserve in the Mull of Galloway is one of the RSPB's smallest reserves, yet, it contains many diverse breeds of birds. This small circular walk allows three types of habitats to be viewed: lichen-covered cliffs, rugged grassland and heathland. This provides a unique and captivating visit.
Ken - Dee Marshes
Both wetland and woodland attract winter wildfowl including Greenland white-fronted Geese with distinctive white masks and black bars across their bellies. During the spring migrant Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers join the resident woodland birds. This is also an excellent place to catch a glimpse at a Red Kite in the designated "Special Protection Area". There are two hides with the option of interpretation, as well as the Kite/Goose Viewing Platform.
An exciting new reserve of farmland, wet meadows, salt marsh and mudflats allows the visitor to take in the breathtaking views which surround the area. An important wintering wildfowl area including Barnacle Geese, Pink Footed Geese, Widgeon and Pintail. The beauty of Merseheaed is that visitors can take their time and go at their own pace around the nature trails and stop at one of the many viewing hides to watch these wonderful birds.
Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve is the largest Local Nature Reserve in Britain, it is an estuary with large areas of saltmarsh and mudflats that are important for many of the species that live here. It is particularly important for salt tolerant plants, wintering wildfowl and fish, such as the Allis Shad and Twait Shad, and has long been a popular venue for a range of recreational activities including wildfowling, angling and bird watching. Birds are free to feed and roost here, without disturbance as the area is now a special sanctuary, dedicated to protecting these birds.