Wildlife in 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 Stoat Photograph of a Weasel Photograph of a Red Fox Photograph of a Roe Deer Photograph of a Brown Hare Photograph of a Red Squirrel

Roe Deer

Roe deer are native to Britain, having been present since before the Mesolithic period (6000 to 10000 years).

Forest clearance and over-hunting led to Roe deer becoming extinct in England by 1800 but remained in wooded patches in Scotland.

Several reintroductions during Victorian times and their subsequent, natural spread aided by an increase in woodland and forest planting in the 20th century has meant that roe deer have become widespread and abundant today.

Pheasant

The Pheasant is a large, long-tailed gamebird. Males have rich chestnut, golden-brown and black markings on body and tail, with a dark green head and red face wattling.

Females are mottled with paler brown and black. They were introduced to the UK long ago and more recent introductions have brought in a variety of races and breeds for sport shooting.

Stoat

The stoat is a small sized mammal, closely related to weasels and ferrets. Stoats are also closely related to otters, badgers and wolverines and stoats share similar characteristics with all of these animals.

Stoats are solitary animals and are not generally territorial. The only exceptions for both of these lifestyles are during the breeding season when stoats come together to mate and the female stoats are known to become territorial during this time, probably so that the female stoat is able to protect her young.

Weasel

These tiny but vicious predators are the smallest carnivorous mammals in the world growing to no more than 6 inches from their nose to the tip of their tail.

Weasels belong to the mustelid family of carnivores and are most closely related to similar species such as Stoats which are larger in size and have a black tip at the end of their brown tail.

Red Fox

The scientific name of red foxes is Vulpes. Foxes are a member of the dog family, the Canidae and for this reason they are known as canids.

Sorry, but as you can imagine these are not the most welcome guests on a sheep farm, especially during lambing. Their appetite for lamb is quite fierce and they often take lambs for the fun of. They kill the lamb but eat very little.

Brown Hare

The brown hare is a larger, more athletic relative of the rabbit.

It is able to adapt to a variety of habitats and so is one of the most widely distributed land animals in the world.

No other British mammal is better able to survive in totally open habitats where it is at the mercy of severe weather conditions and predators.

You can often spot these in the field in front of the farm house.

 

Red Squirrel

There are two species of squirrel living wild in Britain today - the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis).

Unfortunately, the introduced American grey squirrel is replacing the native red squirrel at an alarming rate with local and regional extinctions in large areas of England and Wales, and some areas of Scotland. It is estimated that Scotland supports three quarters of the 160,000 red squirrels thought to be living in Britain today, with south Scotland accounting for a quarter of the Scottish population.

South Scotland remains one of the few remaining strongholds of the red squirrel in Britain, and the Red Squirrels in South Scotland project have been established to maintain this status.

You often see a Red Squirrel at the bottom of the road where the houses are. You can also pop in to the Creetown Museum and see them on their web cam.