Birdwatching in Stranraer & The Rhins of Galloway

Mull of Galloway

The Mull of Galloway, Scotland`s Lands End has a RSPB reserve close to the cliff edge at the very southernmost tip of Scotland. This is the largest mainland seabird colony in South West Scotland,

Species to be seen include:-Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbills, Kittiwake, Shags and, sometimes – Puffins. Offshore can be seen Gannets and Shearwater. There is live CCTV of the seabird colony when the visitor centre is open – normally Easter – mid October but subject to variation. Please see the link to the RSPB reesrve above for full details.

There is a cafe and gift shop – Gallie Craig nearby. Gallie Craig is set spectacularly on the cliff edge and has a viewing platform, a grass roof and full length windows to make the most of the spectacular views. The furthest south cup of cappuccino in South West Scotland – great food and birdwatching in comfort!

New England Bay

A sandy bay on the eastern shore of the Rhins of Galloway, south of Sandhead.

Species:- Gannets and terns, waders, Common whitethroat and Yellowhammer.


In Portpatrick Harbour, the main attraction is the Black Guillemots, several pairs of which nest in the harbour wall and can often be seen up close. A short distance along the clifftop path from the Portpatrick Hotel, on the spectacular rock formations including the aptly names North Witch Rock, nesting Fulmars and Herring Gulls can be seen. Further along the footpath, which is the first section of the Southern Upland Way, heading towards Killantringan Lighthouse look out for Rock Pippit, Linnet and Stonechat. Shearwaters and Gannets can be seen offshore.

Walking southwards from Portpatrick along the cliff path to Dunskey Castle, Ravens and Peregrine can be seen.

Corsewall  Lighthouse and Point

This is at the north tip of the Rhins Peninsula and Autumn is probably the best time to visit. Amongst the spectacular scenery, Storm Petrel, Sabine`s Gull, Gannet, Skua and Shearwater. If you are interested in seals, a colony can be seen about a mile south of the carpark. A rough path starts on the south side of the Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel.

Loch Ryan

Many birds can be seen from the coastal path at the Scar in Wig Bay near Kirkcolm. There are also many observation points along the southeastern shore of Loch Ryan between Cairnryan and Stranraer. There are information boards at balyett, Wig Bay and Cairnryan. Species include wintering divers, grebes, waders and wildfowl including Scaup and Brent Geese, breeding terns.

Castle Kennedy Gardens and White Loch

There is an admission charge for the gardens which form part of The Gardens of Galloway group. The gardens are open April to September. This is an area of nature mixed moorland, formal gardens and two lochs. Species include many woodland birds and wildfowl – especially Greylag and Canada Geese.