News archive

News archive


New SOC website

The brand new SOC website will be going live in the next few days.  New features will include online joining, a search facility, and a redesigned photo gallery. The website address will still be, so no need to change your favourites.

After eight years, I’m stepping down from the day-to-day running of the site, which will now be done by staff at SOC HQ. I’d like to thank everyone who has assisted me over the years.  If you contributed to the old photo gallery, I hope you’ll continue to submit pictures to the new website. (One of my post-retirement tasks will be to create a searchable ‘photo archive’ so that photos submitted in the past can be accessed easily via the new site.)

Stephen Hunter

(added 17 Apr 2013)


Tim Wootton art exhibition

Tim Wootton is an award-winning wildlife artist based in Stromness, Orkney.  His latest exhibition opens at Waterston House on Saturday 13th April, and runs until Wednesday 5th June 2013.

Entry is free; the gallery will be open 7 days, from 10am – 4pm on weekdays and 12 noon – 6pm at weekends. Click here to view the exhibition poster.

(added 27 Mar 2013)


SBRC seeks new committee member

The Scottish Birds Records Committee is seeking a new member to replace Alan Lauder, who retires later this year. To maintain geographical representation across Scotland, SBRC would prefer a candidate from south-east Scotland.

Potential candidates should send their name to the Secretary Chris McInerny. If more than one name is put forward, a ballot will be instigated, with Local Recorders having one vote each.

Chris McInerny, on behalf of SBRC

(added 27 Mar 2013)


Arran Bird Reportarran-bird-report

The 2012 Arran Bird Report is now on sale – for details see the Arran Birding website.

(added 27 Mar 2013)





Optics demonstration day at Waterston House

Thinking of upgrading your binoculars, telescope, or tripod?

Try before you buy at Waterston House on Sunday 28th April.  Talk to the experts from Viking Optical, and compare a wide range of brands, specifications and prices. Open from 10am – 4pm; entry to the event is free.

View Poster

(added 27 Mar 2013)


wildlife-2013-sWildlife art exhibition

We’re delighted to be hosting a new group exhibition of wildlife art featuring the work of John Busby, Fran Knowles and Sonas Maclean. The exhibition opens at Waterston House on Saturday 2nd March and will be on show until Wednesday 10th April 2013.

John Busby is a much loved bird artist who deftly expresses the form and behaviour of birds by always working from life. He has illustrated over thirty natural history books, including several Poyser titles and various bird watching guides. Fran Knowles uses every grade of pencil, creating an astonishing grey palette that replaces the standard colour spectrum. Sonas Maclean is inspired by the sea and everything surrounding it, using colour, light and composition to show the true nature of what she sees around her.

The gallery is open from 10am – 4pm daily. (From Saturday 30th March, the weekend opening hours will change to 12 noon – 6pm BST.) Entry is free and all are very welcome. Click here to view the exhibition poster.

(added 25 Feb 2013)


john-busby-book-launch-sJohn Busby book launch

The SOC is delighted to announce the launch of Looking at Birds: An antidote to Field Guides, the highly anticipated new book from internationally influential and celebrated bird artist, John Busby (RSW, SWLA, Elected full RSA). We invite you to join us at Waterston House, Aberlady on Sunday 17th March from 2pm-4pm, where John will officially launch Looking at Birds and will be signing copies. (Entry is free; booking not required.)

Looking at Birds: An antidote to Field Guides, is John’s latest work alongside his previous books including Land Marks & Sea Wings (Lavernham 2005), two editions of his classic Drawing Birds, and John Busby: Nature Drawings (Harlequin Press 1993). To date he has illustrated over 35 books across nature’s broad pallet of birds and animals; from seabirds to garden birds, otters and tigers.

Looking at Birds: An antidote to Field Guides launches in conjunction with John’s contribution to a group exhibition of wildlife art, alongside painter and printmaker Sonas Maclean and wildlife artist Fran Knowles, currently on show in the Donald Watson Gallery until Wednesday 10th April 2013. The exhibition features a selection of images from Looking at Birds. Click here to view the launch event poster (PDF).

(added 11 Mar 2013)


dumfries-and-galloway-bird-report-2011Dumfries & Galloway Bird Report

The new Dumfries & Galloway Bird Report, covering 2011, is available at the reduced price of £6 for SOC members, and £8 for non-members. See the D & G recording area page for details.

(added 18 Jan 2013)


Volunteer leaflet distributor required

If you’re a regular visitor to the Club’s website, Facebook page or to Waterston House, you’ll likely be aware that the SOC has recently produced a free guide to birdwatching the East Lothian coast. However there are still many birdwatchers out there who have yet to come across a copy and so we’re asking for help to distribute the guide throughout East Lothian and surrounding areas!

Initially this would involve building on a small database of contacts we’ve already established and identifying and getting in touch with other venues to ask if they might be able to display the leaflet; garden centres, nature reserves, visitor attractions, libraries and accommodation providers for example. We’d follow this up on a monthly/quarterly basis to see if leaflet supplies were running low and ask you to drop off more accordingly.

Admittedly, this is not a cutting edge, mucky boots, conservation role. And payment would be in tea and biscuits whenever you popped into Waterston House. However from the Club’s point of view, it’s a crucial task. With only a handful of staff and limited resources, we would be very grateful of your support of 2-3 hours a month on average.

We’d cover your travel expenses incurred carrying out the role, but in order to keep these to a minimum, ideally we’d be looking for someone who lives in East Lothian, as you’ll be dropping back and forth to the centre to replenish leaflet supplies.

If this sounds like something you might be able to help with and you enjoy meeting and chatting to folk, then we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch with Jane Cleaver for more information.

If you’re not able to commit to the role but would like to help in some way, why not ask for a handful of the leaflets next time you’re at Waterston House and leave them in your local library, doctors surgery or museum (with permission of course!).

(added 6 Jan 2013)


New SBRC member

SBRC welcomes Martin Scott as new member of the Scottish Birds Records Committee, replacing Tristan ap Rheinallt for the Outer Hebrides region.

Martin brings extensive experience to the committee, having resided on the Isle of Lewis for 9 years working for RSPB Scotland, though currently located in Edinburgh. He has also lived in other areas of Scotland including Angus & Dundee, Sutherland, North-east Scotland and Dumfries & Galloway. From 1996 to 2003 he lived on the Isles of Scilly and he has travelled extensively around the world. Further he has served on the Isles of Scilly, Angus & Dundee and Outer Hebrides local rarities panels.

SBRC would like to acknowledge its deep gratitude to Tristan for his work over the period of his tenure. Tristan’s major contribution was his instigation and lead-authorship of the annual SBRC report in Scottish Birds, an important development for the committee.

Chris McInerny, on behalf of SBRC

(added 4 Dec 2012)


SOC launches The Birds of Scotland Digital


In May the Scottish Birdfair hosted the official launch of the digital version of our award-winning publication The Birds of Scotland.

One million words and 1600 pages, written by 157 expert authors, poured over by 9 editors, and featuring all 509 bird species seen in Scotland; all captured on one disc in an easily accessible and searchable format*.

Superb. A must-have resource for anyone interested in Scotland’s birds” – Chris Packham.

This is a new opportunity to purchase and enjoy the SOC’s ground-breaking publication. Lavishly illustrated with first class photography, The Birds of Scotland is the most detailed account of our birds ever published, making it an essential reference tool for anyone with an interest in the country’s birdlife and Scottish natural history.


To take advantage of this monumental offer – or for more information about membership – please email Jane Cleaver or phone us at Waterston House. Alternatively, download a membership form via the link on the left hand side of this page, print, fill out, and post to SOC Membership at Waterston House.  Remember to indicate your choice of free gift when paying by Direct Debit.


As a small thank you for your continued support of the Club, exisiting SOC members can purchase the digital version for the reduced cost of £10 (one per membership). To purchase your reduced price copy please phone us at Waterston House.

*The Birds of Scotland Digital is suitable for use on PC and Mac computers with Adobe Reader installed. **When you pay by Direct Debit.

(updated 30 May 2012)


Save Scottish Seas






Scottish Environment LINK’s Marine taskforce is a coalition of environmental charities (including the SOC), working with the collective vision of achieving healthy, well-managed seas, where wildlife is flourishing, ecosystems are protected, connected and thriving, and coastal communities are sustained.

A new website and video are launched today: find out more about Scotland’s weird and wonderful marine life, keep up to date with the latest news, and learn what you can do to help protect and restore Scotland’s seas.

(added 27 Aug 2012)


Lothian Bird ReportLBR2010

Hot on the heels of the 2008 and 2009 Lothian Bird Reports, the issue covering 2010 is now on sale. See the Lothian recording area page for information on how to obtain a copy.

(added 21 Apr 2012)


bird-reports3Scottish Bird Report online

Since its launch last year, we’ve regularly added to the list of reports accessible via SBR online. So far 2012 has seen the addition of complete or almost complete runs of the Angus & Dundee, Ayrshire, NE Scotland, and Upper Forth reports.

The number of reports available online now stands at 359: almost 60% of our target coverage. You can see a table of recording areas and report years on the online coverage page.

(added 17 Apr 2012)


Ayrshire Bird Reportayrshire

The new Ayrshire Bird Report is available for the bargain price of £5. Full details of the report – which covers 2010 – are on the Ayrshire recording area page.

(added 26 Mar 2012)


SBR online: Now with added rarities!

The database for the online Scottish Bird Report page now includes thousands of additional rarity reports, compiled by Keith Naylor from published British Birds Rarities Committee reports (1958 to date) and other older sources.

These include reports from as far back as the early 1800s (and a small number even older).

Simply tick the Rarities box to view these records in addition to the local bird report entries.

(added 2 Feb 2012)