Pow Burn, Prestwick

Location and Access

The sites lie on the west side of Prestwick Airport and at top end of Prestwick Golf course (old), to the north side lies the Royal Troon Golf Club and to the east side St. Andrew’s Caravan Park. Cut off the A79 and go over the railway bridge and park near to the entrance to the Caravan Park (NS 46 278). Alternative route: from Prestwick seafront car park (north) walk along the shore until you reach the estuary.

Short tarmac esplanade from north beach car park (surface rough in places).

National Cycle Route 7 passes both car parks.


Lyme grass and Sand Couch, Yellow dune into Marram grass / Lyme grass and Grey dune into fixed dune. Dune grassland with Burnet Rose (native). Japanese Rose (introduced) has dominated parts of the dune on the Royal Troon Golf Course close to the Pow Burn. Rank neutral grassland has colonised the top soil . Small sections of saltmarsh grassland and mudflats exposed at low tide.


This area can provide a wide variety and, often, surprising amount of bird life (over 130 species recorded) at any time of the year. It is particularly good after a big storm, as the inner estuary offers good protection. Also check it out during migration (spring and autumn) as there are often birds moving through on passage. Below is a list of the birds that have been seen in this area:

Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Shag, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Greylag, Canada, Brent Geese, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted, Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Eider, Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Hen Harrier, Osprey, Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Goshawk, Grey Partridge, Water Rail, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-headed-Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Guillemot, Razorbill, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl, Swift, Kingfisher, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Dipper, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Whinchat, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Twite, Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting. Little Egret and Surf Scoter have both been recorded once.

Most species are birds on passage. Breeding species shown in bold.