The summer holidays are an ideal time for getting out and about on the Rhins of Galloway Coast and provide an opportunity to discover more about the wildlife that makes its home on our stunning coastline. For the second-year people are being asked to Explore and Record the Rhins over the summer months. Resources have been produced to make looking for wildlife fun for all the family, as well as explaining how to add a sighting onto a national database.
A series of spotter sheets are available on the Solway Firth Partnership website and you can either print or download to your mobile device to use when out and about. You don’t need any previous knowledge of wildlife just a keen eye and time to take a closer look at all around you. Choose the spotter sheet for the type of seashore you are visiting and find out more about some of the amazing coastal flowers, birds, insects, lichens, and seaweeds you might see on the coast.
The Rhins of Galloway Coast Path means nature spotting is easy along the seashore that is bursting with wildlife and many colourful flowers and insects are often easy to identify. The coast path project is managed by Dumfries and Galloway Council and supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Coastal Communities Fund. Post photographs of the wildlife you spot on your favourite social media platform and tag them with #RhinsRecording. We will pick the best shots to feature on the website.
Flowers and butterflies
The bright blue of the male Common Blue butterfly is frequently seen on coastal grassland where the Birdsfoot-trefoil is the favoured plant for the caterpillar. Sometimes seen in colonies of several hundred adults it might be found sunning itself on the flower heads of thrift.
Commonly encountered on garden flowers the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly is equally at home feeding on creeping thistle. In late summer it needs to build up enough reserves so that it can hibernate over the winter.
One of our smallest butterflies the Small Copper is more common over warm summers and enjoys bare patches of ground that warm up in the sun. It is frequently seen on coastal paths and the male is highly territorial, chasing off any passing butterfly.
The Green-veined White butterfly favours wet grassland and the damp climate of SW Scotland means it is widespread across the Rhins. It is one of the commonest butterflies in the area and is easy to spot along the coast.
Much more to see
The Rhins is an under recorded area of Dumfries and Galloway but has a great range of species in a variety of different coastal habitats from sand dunes and shingle beaches to rocky shores and towering clifftops. Records will contribute greatly to local knowledge of our wildlife and habitats as well as helping to establish the distribution and size of populations and monitor any changes over time. If you enjoy watching and identifying wildlife you can help record the different species found on the Rhins of Galloway by entering your summer finds on iRecord.