Red Squirrels abound at Barend, we also have a huge variety of birdlife.
Barend’s visitors need not go far to see some of Scotland’s finest wildlife – you can see a lot just sitting on your lodge’s balcony or veranda!
The wildlife on or immediately surrounding Barend is varied and plentiful. Roe deer, badgers, rabbits, and the iconic red squirrels are regularly seen.
Red squirrels are extinct in large parts of England and Wales, and under threat in their remaining territories. At Barend, helped by a consistent and sustained feeding programme, they are flourishing. You would be unlucky indeed if you failed to see this charming animal rushing about the treetops or skipping over the grass when you visit Barend.
The badgers are very active as the day turns into night, as evidenced by the freshly dug holes every morning! Top tip – if you want to see the badgers, put out a sprinkling of peanuts under your balcony or verandah, and sit back and watch them. Many visitors have photographs of badgers following a trail of peanuts right up until they are actually on the verandah, only feet away from the cameras.
Birdwatching throughout the year is a joy at Barend. In winter we get flocks of, literally, hundreds of Barnacle Geese flying over the site, going inland to feed from their overnight roosting area at the nearby RSPB reserve at Mersehead. It is a beautiful sight and memorable for the cries they make as they fly overhead.
In Spring you frequently hear the drumming of woodpeckers, preparing for the breeding season. We have both Green Woodpeckers and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
In Summer you will see our resident Mute Swans gracefully gliding round our own Barend Loch with their cygnets – one year they produced eight. And all year round you will see the elegant Buzzards sweeping and circling overhead and hear their evocative cry. Truly unforgettable.
We don’t like lists, so we will be brief. Some of the more unusual redbirds you may see at Barend include Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Siskins, Long Tailed Tits, Tree Creepers, and Nuthatches. Down by the loch you will see a large variety of ducks, geese and wildfowl. Also at the loch you may be lucky enough to see otters.
Galloway Forest Park has been awarded Dark Sky Park status, the first such designation in Europe. Barend is not in that league, but it is the case that there is very little light pollution here. Road lighting is deliberately kept to a minimum (each of our lodges comes with a lantern to make walking out at night safe). When you sit out on your balcony or veranda on a clear night you will be amazed at the number and clarity of the stars you will be able to see.