Bird Watching South West Scotland

Kirkmabreck is not only home to the cattle and sheep we breed but we are fortunate to be able to see much of Scotland’s wildlife just by looking out the window.

In the sky you can regularly watch Buzzards soaring and our new visitor the Red Kite with its distinctive tail.

Peregrine Falcon’s screeching as they teach their young to fly or diving through the air at record speeds to catch their lunch.

Travel a little further and you can admire the migrating geese and other waders that live on the Wigtown bay salt marshes or go into Wigtown County building to view the Wigtown Osprey.

Photograph of a Peregrine Falcon Photograph of a Red Kite Photograph of a Buzzard Photograph of a Raven Photograph of a Tawny Owl

Peregrine Falcon

The peregrine is a large and powerful falcon. It has long, broad, pointed wings and a relatively short tail.

It is blue-grey above, with a blackish top of the head and an obvious black 'moustache' that contrasts with its white face. Its breast is finely spotted. It is swift and agile in flight, chasing prey.

The strongholds of the breeding birds in the UK are the uplands of the north and west and rocky seacoasts. Some birds, particularly females and juveniles, move away from the uplands in autumn.

You may not be able to see them but listen out for them they can really screech when they are flying. Especially when they are teaching their chicks to hunt.

Red Kite

This magnificently graceful bird of prey is unmistakable with its reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail.

It was saved from national extinction by one of the world's longest running protection programmes, and has now been successfully re-introduced to England and Scotland.

You will easily recognise the Red Kite if it flies over the farm, they are slow and elegant to watch.


The Buzzard is the most common and widespread bird of prey in the UK. It is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail.

When gliding and soaring it will often hold its wings in a shallow 'V' and the tail is fanned.

Birds are variable in colour from all dark brown to much paler variations; all have dark wingtips and a finely barred tail.

Their plaintive mewing call could be mistaken for a cat.

You would be really unlucky not to spot one of these birds during your stay, there are lots of them.


The raven is a big black bird, a member of the crow family. It is massive - the biggest member of the crow family. It is all black with a large bill, and long wings.

In flight, it shows a diamond-shaped tail.

Ravens breed mainly in the west and north although they are currently expanding their range eastwards.

Most birds are residents, though some birds - especially non-breeders and young birds - wander from their breeding areas but do not travel far.

A pair of Ravens often breeds up at the quarry; they can appear quite intimidating looking down at you from the rocks.

Tawny Owl

The tawny owl is an owl the size of a pigeon. It has a rounded body and head, with a ring of dark feathers around its face surrounding the dark eyes. It is mainly reddish brown above and paler underneath.

It is a widespread breeding species in England, Wales and Scotland but not found in Ireland.

Birds are mainly residents with established pairs probably never leaving their territories. Young birds disperse from breeding grounds in autumn.

We have an owl box in the Hay shed. Sadly only a few pigeons have made it their home, no owls as yet.

Barn Owl

With heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white under parts, the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird.

Widely distributed across the UK, and indeed the world, this bird has suffered declines through the 20th century and is thought to have been adversely affected by organochlorine pesticides such as DDT in the 1950s and '60s.

Nocturnal birds like the barn owl are poorly monitored by the Breeding Bird Survey.

If you hear a loud shriek in the middle of the night, the Barn Owl is likely to be the culprit. They don’t hoot but have a soft wheezy cry or a rather scary shriek.

Nature Reserve

Wigtown Bay, which includes the River Cree and River Bladnoch estuaries, is the biggest local nature reserve in the British Isles and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The reserve is protected for its mudflats & salt marshes habitats which are home to several thousand geese in the winter months.

There are two bird hides at the Martyr's Stake car park in Wigtown and at Wigtown Harbour and a flooded area to attract resident birds.