Site of the Month: Garnock-Irvine Estuary (January 2023)

The confluence of the River Garnock and the River Irvine encompasses a range of interesting wildlife sites, some of which are difficult to access, but others that can be viewed easily from a gentle walk along Irvine Harbourside. It contains the only major expanse of saltmarsh and mudflats between the Solway Firth and the Inner Clyde Estuary and is extensively used by migrant and wintering wildfowl and waders, making it one of the most important feeding and roosting areas in Ayrshire. Wintering ducks include Wigeon Anas penelope, Teal A. crecca and Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator, whilst waders include Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, Redshank Tringa totanus and Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Bogside Flats and the old racecourse, which lie in-between the two rivers, is a great place for Short-eared Owls Asio flammeus, which hunt during daylight.

The Ardeer peninsula, lying between the River Garnock and the sea, was once the site of a massive explosives factory but is now one of the most biodiversity-rich sites in SW Scotland. Being composed mainly of sand dunes, it is especially important for invertebrates, but has no statutory protection and remains under threat from development, as reported in an earlier newsletter and associated blog.

Peter Norman

SWSEIC Project Officer

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SUP is registered in Scotland as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Registered address: The Southern Uplands Partnership, Studio 2, Lindean Mill, Galashiels, TD1 3PE. Company No. SC200827 / Charity No. SCO29475

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