|Location||Off the B795 road, at Bellymack Hill Farm (300m east of Laurieston village). Address: Bellymack Hill Farm, Laurieston, Castle Douglas DG7 2PJ|
|Telephone||01644 450202 or 07840 293545|
Kites are fed daily at 2pm. Station is open from 1pm to 4pm (3pm in winter).
The feeding station is only 20 minutes drive from RSPB Scotland’s Ken-Dee Marshes Reserve and the towns of New Galloway and Castle Douglas. It is around 50 minutes drive from both RSPB Scotland’s Mersehead Reserve and the town of Dumfries. It is therefore within easy reSnatched foodach of other wildlife attractions and the services provided in these towns.
Red kites have been congregating at Bellymack Hill Farm since 2001 when they were reintroduced to Galloway. This is partly due to the prevailing SW winds which create updrafts from the hillside, enabling kites to ride the air effortlessly over the farm. Since 2003 the feeding has allowed visitors to get close firsthand experiences of these gregarious birds when they come in to spectacularly snatch food provided for them.
The visitor centre provides all-weather, close-viewing of the action, together with more distant views of perched birds against the panoramic Galloway countryside. A fantastic experience. The centre and feeding station are open from 1 – 4pm daily, in summer (March to October) and 1 – 3pm, in winter.
The farm also offers the opportunity to see other wildlife, with yellowhammer, stonechat and linnet all breeding there in summer. Also look out for the occasional roe deer grazing among pasture or gorse (locally known as whin). The farm is home to a number of predators, including stoat, kestrel and sparrowhawk, but visitors are often also charmed by puppies, goats, sheep, cattle and the odd pig or duck, which can sometimes be experienced close-up.
Benefits to kites, through public support
As the population of kites increases in Galloway, they are expanding in range and the chances of seeing them elsewhere are increasing. However, viewing kites at the feeding station is certainly the most dramatic way to encounter them, up close as they display and interact with each other in large numbers.
The feeding station’s owner, Anne Johnstone, was a key partner in the creation of Galloway Kite Trail and the site remains a focal point of the trail, which has been so important in attracting more visitors to the area and stimulating the local economy. This is recognised by local businesses, communities and the RSPB whose Community Liaison Officer is present at the feeding station on many days throughout the year, to interpret kites, other wildlife and promote the work of the RSPB and other attractions in the area.