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RSPB Ken-Dee Marshes Reserve
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|Location||Off the A762 (N of Laurieston) or B795 road (at Glenlochar), parking at the Mains of Duchrae. Red kites are regularly seen from the reserve. There is a 4.8km nature trail, 2 birdwatching hides and a viewing platform.|
Ken-Dee Marshes Reserve
With stunning views across the River Dee and Loch Ken, this reserve has both wetland and woodland, with part designated as a Special Protection Area. There is a trail to a goose/kite viewing platform and two hides, with interpretation, which provide excellent opportunities for viewing and learning about variety of wildlife.
Kites can be seen from anywhere on the open parts of the trail at any time of the year, but perhaps the best places to look are over the nearby woods and just above the skyline. The goose/kite viewing platform provides a wonderful panorama over habitat favoured by the kites, and gives a good view of the loch.
In winter the reserve holds an important population of Greenland white-fronted geese, which have distinctive white masks and black bars on their bellies. Icelandic greylag geese are also present in winter, as is a range of other wildfowl, many of which stay to breed. Lapwing and curlew nest on the surrounding farmland, whilst redshank and snipe breed in the wetter areas. In summer, the broadleaved woods are home to pied flycatcher, wood warbler, nuthatch and a number of more common woodland birds. Elusive willow tits are a Ken-Dee speciality.
Red squirrels are very common in the woodlands and often visit the nut feeders beside the hides. Roe deer and stoats are also quite common, whilst otters are sometimes seen on the lagoon. A few miles south of the reserve, in the middle of the River Dee, is magnificent Threave Castle (managed by Historic Scotland), home to Archibald the Grim in the 14th century. It can be reached by a small ferry boat in the summer season. Nearby are NTS's Threave Nature Reserve as well as Threave House & Gardens, which have a range of additional attractions and visitor facilities.
How to get there
RSPB Scotland's Ken-Dee Reserve (at Mains of Duchrae) is sign-posted off the Galloway Kite Trail and lies some 3.5 miles north of the B795 at Glenlochar or 2 miles from the A762 north of Laurieston. There is a car park and various interpretative boards and signs to guide visitors.