DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY (Dumfries), (E c)
National Grid NY 514656
N 54o58´41´´/W 003o29´55´´ 587 ha (WWT), 8168 ha (NNR) 0-10 m, fairly flat inland, grazing marsh and estuary, freshwater ponds
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Caerlaverock Reserve and Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve (Scottish Natural Heritage)
Anytime, winter especially (16.11.07)
Birding Site Guide
Take the M6 n past Carlisle where it ends and continue on A75 turning off at Annan s onto B721 continue on B724 then turn left (sw) onto B725 and follow past Bankend. From Bankend it is less than 2.5 miles to left turn (s) to Blackshaw and follow this road to the end (1.5 miles). The white former farm buildings are the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s excellent Eastpark Farm centre. Admission is free to members. There is a very good shop selling a large number of wildlife books, optics cards and gifts, there is also a very popular and good cafe.
There is a small visitor center and car park for the NNR on the road from the WWT centre back towards the B275, which is located down a dead end side road (left if leaving WWT centre) at NY 04173 65863. Back on the B275 heading w the road leads past part of the Scottish Natural Heritage’s National Nature Reserve. Follow this road past the castle turning and to the bend, here (NY 01825 65220) there is a parking area and the woodland can be birded. Carrying on further W on the same road leads to the village of Kelton, there is a layby here (NX 98909 70823) where it is possible to observe the Merse salt marsh from.
There are hides and tower hides all around the reserve overlooking the scrapes and grazing marsh and the estuary (Solway Firth) can be seen further in the distance. Basically from the visitor centre, you can view from the tower hide there (using the massive ex-naval binoculars housed there if you want), or walk along one of 2 tracks which join at a right angle at the centre (therefore no circular route). These tracks are embanked and have some grand old Sycamores and other trees forming an avenue along them. Along the tracks are many small hides made from road-workmens plastic huts, with several more substantial wooden hides. At the end of the tracks are the largest hides with towers or upper decks.
Especially famed for its 30,000 wintering Barnacle Geese and large numbers of winter Whooper Swans, there is a large variety of wetland and water birds, including ducks, geese, swans and waders with ever watchful birds of prey such as Peregrine, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk etc, but the star bird of prey are the Ospreys, which you can watch on the video link. Anything can turn up, recent rarities being the extremely rare White-tailed Plover Vanellus leucurus and Red-breasted Goose.
Other fauna include Natterjack Toads Bufo calamita and Otters Lutra lutra .
SNH, Caerlaverock NNR office, Hollands Farm Road, Caerlaverock, Dumfries DG1 4RS Tel: 01387 770275. Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Eastpark Farm, Caerlaverock, Dumfries DG1 4RS Tel: 01387 770200 www.wwt.org.uk/visit/caerlaverock