"Caerlaverock -
where the unique balance of agriculture, wildfowling and conservation brings people and wildlife together for the benefit of both."

Birdwatching

Bird Watching

Bird Watcher's Paradise
Caerlaverock is quite simply a bird watchers' paradise.  There must be few places in the UK where one can see so many different species of bird in such large numbers in one day.  The timing of a visit is obviously significant but as far as our bird population is concerned there is always something going on.

Caerlaverock is a popular destination for visitors, human and avian - particularly during autumn when thousands and thousands of the famous Norwegian Svalbard barnacle geese swoop in from the north to land on their winter grazing grounds. These geese numbered only around 1,000 in the 1950s and since then due to successful conservation both at Caerlaverock and in Norway, they now number around 30,000. Ironically, the management of such a vast number of geese has recently become fairly complex since the geese are over-grazing the surrounding farmland. Constant attention is given to this issue to ensure that geese, cattle, crops and farmers can all co-exist in harmony. 

There are bird hides dotted around the estate, in particular at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre where visitors can also view the bird life  feeding on the wetlands from many viewing towers and secret hides including the newly opened, heated two storey Sir Peter Scott Observatory. Take cameras, telescopes and binoculars!

Dusk and dawn are particularly interesting times to watch and indeed to photograph Caerlaverock's bird life as this is when the bird movements are most interesting. The birds fly between their feeding and roosting areas creating an unforgettable spectacle set against the backdrop of the vast open sky. Winter sunsets over the Nith with Criffel towering over the distant landscape are also particularly worth waiting for. 

In addition to the barnacle geese, pink footed geese, whooper swans, shell ducks, oyster catchers and ospreys can also be seen. 

For more information about our birds click here.

 


Main photo - © Creative Station


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