RSPB Scotland has received £200,000 from Scottish Natural Heritage towards the costs of its purchase of the Crook of Baldoon
RSPB Scotland is buying a slice of coastal land in Dumfries and Galloway to create a new nature reserve.
Scottish Natural Heritage is providing £200,000 towards the cost of more than 150 hectares (370 acres) of saltmarsh and floodplain at the Crook of Baldoon.
Reserves manager Dave Beaumont said it was a "magical place" and a "vital haven for wildlife".
RSPB Scotland needs to raise a further £525,000 to help with its plans to transform the area on Wigtown Bay.
The site is considered an important one for tens of thousands of wintering wildfowl and wading birds.
RSPB Scotland compared it to a motorway service station where birds stopped off to "refuel" on long migration journeys.
Among the species that can be seen there are whooper swans, pink-footed geese, golden plovers, barnacle geese and peregrine falcons.
Mr Beaumont said: "When I visited the Crook of Baldoon in October last year this spectacular stretch of coastal wetland in such an unspoilt location cast its spell over me.
"I was hooked.
"We now have a fantastic opportunity to buy and protect this magical place as a vital haven for wildlife as well as a tranquil place for people to enjoy for generations to come."
SNH area manager Chris Miles said the proposals could boost the region's reputation for "outstanding wildlife tourism".
"We look forward to the RSPB proposals coming to fruition to the benefit of residents and visitors alike," he said.