Birdwatching Holidays in Dumfries and Galloway
We are ideal for birding holidays all year round with a high proportion of the birds of Scotland on the estate.
The Arbigland Estate is sandwiched between 2 reserves:
But often we have as many birds on the estate as either! And in fact we have a much wider range of habitats than either reserve and consequently a wider variety of species. We have a wildlife guide on the estate who can arrange birdwatching sessions and activities for children by arrangement.
We take care to farm sympathetically. The diversity of cropping practices provides habitat and food and budding twitchers will see many different farmland birds on our farm walk. In winter large flocks of small birds can be seen feeding on stubbles and patches of unharvested kale and oats. In spring pairs of lapwings can be seen soaring and swooping above their nesting sites in emerging spring crops and throughout the summer our thick hedges resound with birdsong.
The woodland at the centre of the estate supports many woodland birds such as nuthatches, blackcaps, wood warblers, chiffchaffs, owls and woodpeckers.
An RSPB Survey in 2008 identified a number of rare species on the estate including thrushes, bullfinches, barn owls, skylarks, linnets, grasshopper warblers, spotted flycatchers, ringed plovers, yellowhammers and reed buntings. Currently our bird table hosts goldfinches, greenfinches, coaltits, long tailed tits, lesser spotted woodpeckers and nuthatches as well as red squirrels. Over the winter there are sightings of rare corn buntings and waxwings on the estate. Birds of prey include buzzards, red kites, peregrines, goshawks and merlins.
In the winter the estate is often covered with geese, mainly barnacle and pinkfoot. We are participating in a goose tracking study and our geese can now be followed on their migration via their electronic trackers on www.Telemetry.wikispaces.com/pinkfeet2 . The geese tagged at Arbigland are numbrs PIF015-25 excluding 17.
And the Arbigland foreshore is an internationally important area for waders such as curlews, oyster catchers and dunlins. Designated part of the Upper Solway Flats and Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), it is monitored by Scottish Natural Heritage who praised existing management practices in their most recent survey and reported the following species in good conditions:
* Dunlin * Golden Plover * Grey Plover * Knot * Oystercatcher * Pintail * Redshank * Ringed Plover * Scaup * Shelduck * Svalbard barnacle goose
we have had the rare sighting of spoonbill off Carsethorn and also an egret on the foreshore.
If you are into birding don't forget your binos!
Wildlife of South West Scotland
In addition to our amazing birdlife (see birdwatching holidays) it's great for wildlife watching and you can glimpse a wide range of unusual flora and fauna around the estate. We have a good range of Scottish wildlife. Arbigland is one of the last bastions of the red squirrel, although grey squirrels are now not far away in East Dumfriesshire. Most days we see roe deer and brown hares and, more rarely, otters. If you keep your eyes peeled at certain times of year you may see seals and dolphins out to sea.
On summer evenings you will see bats circling overhead at dusk. We are also home to the very rare natterjack toad - listen out for its booming call on summer evenings.