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Caerlaverock Wetland Centre - BirdForum Opus

Photo by HelenB
Barnacle Geese from Svalbard wintering at Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Scotland, October 2003



Photo by HelenB
Map of Caerlaverock in October 2003. Click on image to see a larger version

Caerlaverock Wetland Centre is a 607 hectares (almost 1,500-acres) nature reserve with hides (blinds) and observation towers, located on the north shore of the Solway Firth, south of Dumfries in Scotland.


Notable Species

The Svalbard Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Icelandic Whooper Swan, Osprey, Eurasian Curlew, Eurasian Oystercatcher.


Garganey, Pied Avocet, Pectoral Sandpiper, Common Crane, Citrine Wagtail, Temminck's Stint


Photo by HelenB
Salcot Merse Observatory overlooking Blackshaw Bank and the Solway Firth, August 2013
Photo by HelenB
One of the walks along a leafy lane. Bird feeding stations are located at regular intervals. October 2003

Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Tundra Swan, Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Cackling Goose, Barnacle Goose, Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Osprey, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, European Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Pigeon, Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Eurasian Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear , Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcap, Eurasian Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Treecreeper, Common Raven, Eurasian Jay, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Linnet, Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Common Bullfinch, Barn Owl, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting

Other Wildlife

Photo by HelenB
The Campbell Hide (Blind), Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Scotland, October 2003

Hare, Stoat, Otter, Badger, Roe Deer, Red Fox, Azure Damselflies, Common Damselflies, Northern Marsh Orchid

Site Information

History and Use

Caerlaverock Wetland Centre is one of nine reserves in the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) organisation, which was founded in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott at Slimbridge, near Gloucester. Caerlaverock is located in south west Scotland, 9 miles south east of Dumfries and covers a 607 hectare site at Eastpark Farm. A new education centre was opened by King Harald V of Norway in January 2002.

This reserve is renowned for the great wildlife spectacle of wintering Barnacle Geese. The whole breeding population from Svalbard winters solely on the Solway Firth, so great views of them can be seen from the 4 observatories, 4 towers and 20 small hides throughout the reserve.

Areas of Interest

Photo by HelenB
Whooper pond at the Peter Scott Observatory, Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Scotland, October 2003
  • Habitats: saltmarsh, mudflats
  • Peter Scott Observatory - between October and April, get close up views of hundreds of Icelandic Whooper Swans during the Wild Swan feeds, at 11am and 2pm everyday.
  • Saltcot Merse Observatory - overlooking the vast salt marshes, towards the Solway and the Lake District fells in Cumbria across the Solway. There are also excellent views back over the reserve. This is the best place to watch thousands of waders pushed in with the tide and birds of prey, such as Peregrine Falcon, Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl hunting over the merse.
  • Nesting Ospreys in the Spring and Summer
  • Summer and River Walkway - This part of the reserve opens in mid may so enable the public to visit areas which hold good numbers of wildflowers. Along the river walk you can also be lucky to see Otters playing on the banks.
  • Peter Scott Walkway - This is a new addition to the reserve, opening up an area of completely different habitat. The walk leads you over the pond where good numbers of Dragonflies, Butterflies and Damselfly can be seen. The path also leads you round a small reed bed where reed bunting and sedge warbler can be seen. A new hide has also be built which over looks fields where thousands are Barncale Geese can be seen in the winter. A feeding station is also been created along the walkway. A new hide will also be under construction looking out along the back of the Whooper Pond at a newly developed Kingfisher bank. The hide will be specially designed for bats to be able to roost in the roof.
  • Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve - located nearby, it covers part of the Solway Firth between the River Nith and Lochar Water and is 55.00 km² in size.

Access and Facilities

  • Open 7 days a week, except 25 December, 10am to 5.00pm
  • There are occasional early and late opening for special wild events (please check for details with centre).
  • 4 Observatories
  • 4 Towers
  • 20 small hides (blinds)
  • Wild Swan feeds, at 11am and 2pm daily, Oct-April - Peter Scott Observatory
  • Visitor Centre with cafe and shop
  • Educational activities
  • There is farmhouse accomodation on site
  • Directions

Entrance fees: There is an admission charge for non-members. See website below for details.

Contact Details

WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre
Eastpark Farm, Caerlaverock
Dumfriesshire, Scotland DG1 4RS

Tel: 01387 770200
Fax: 01387 770539
Email: [email protected]

Recommended Citation

External Links

Content and images originally posted by HelenB