Borders branch

Kingfisher © Graham Pyatt

Kingfisher © Graham Pyatt


The Borders branch of the SOC holds a varied range of talks & presentations on a monthly basis throughout the winter and spring. Get in touch with us (by contacting Ray, details below) if you would like to join our mailing list to receive email updates of forthcoming talks and outings.

Evening talks programme


Scott Room, George & Abbotsford Hotel, High Street, Melrose, TD6 9PD (click here for a map of the venue and surrounding area).



The following Monday evenings at 7.30pm*:

21 Jan* 2015        Liza Cole – NTS St Abb‘s Head NNR (NB: Wednesday, joint with RSPB, Corn Exchange, Melrose, 1930 hrs)

The National Trust for Scotland’s nature reserve at St Abb’s Head is well known as a great place to see breeding seabirds but many people are so not aware of what else is special about the area.  In her talk Senior Ranger, Liza Cole, will tell you all about her amazing reserve, from the geology, to the rich and varied flora and fauna, and even touch on some of the history of the area.

Liza Cole has been the Property Manager/Senior Ranger at St Abb’s Head for the last 5 years and spent 4 years working as Ranger for the Marine Reserve before that. A Zoology graduate of Manchester University with a MSc in Pollution and Environmental Control, Liza has been working in the field of nature conservation since leaving university around 25 years ago.


09 Feb 2015       ”Shotguns & Short-toed Eagles: Birding on the island of Malta”, with Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations, RSPB Scotland

Malta is a well-known, very popular holiday destination, with a fascinating cultural and historical background. However, it is also notorious for the killings of protected birds, particularly during migration periods. Can it be a holiday destination for birders in a similar way to other Mediterranean islands? This talk discusses the island’s history, politics, birdlife and the problem of illegal hunting as well as taking a look to the future….

Originally from Aberdeen, Ian has an honours degree in Ecology from Edinburgh University. Following this he worked on a variety of contracts, including with the then Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland and RSPB among others, before becoming warden at Aberlady Bay in East Lothian, a position he enjoyed for almost 15 years. Ian joined the RSPB Scotland Investigations team in 2006, and has been head of that unit for three years. He is a fanatical birder and a keen wildlife photographer. Ian has been a member of the SOC since the late 1970’s, including a spell as chair of the Lothian Branch and is the current SOC Vice President.


09 Mar 2015      “Dippers: A much loved bird at risk?”, with Peter Mawby

The Dipper is a familiar bird of fast-flowing rivers and streams but it is in decline across its range. What are the reasons for this decline and can it be reversed? Peter presents results from his 50-year study of the Dipper in the Yorkshire Dales.

Peter Mawby’s interest in ornithology began in his school days and he has been licensed to ring birds for over 50 years. Whilst still at school he was part of one of the first expeditions to visit South-East Iceland to study the breeding distribution of the Great Skua. Subsequently he organised and led his own expeditions to the Shetland and Faroe Islands and was awarded a grant whilst an undergraduate at Cambridge University to extend his studies to Arctic Scandinavia. He is currently researching the environmental impact of changing patterns of agriculture on riparian birds of the Western Dales.

13 Apr 2015        AGM & Social Evening


Neil Stratton

01573 450695


Branch outings

*Sat 24 Jan *       Mersehead. Meeting details to be confirmed. Please note date change from SUNDAY to SATURDAY

Thu 26 Feb        Along the Teviot, Heiton to Nisbet.  Meet at Heiton Main Street at 8.30am

Sun 29 Mar       Vane Farm. Car sharing to be arranged

Wed 29 Apr      Holy Island. Meet at western end of causeway at 8.30am, car sharing to be arranged (NB: causeway impassable 11.05am-3.00pm)

Thu 21 May       Langholm Moor. Car sharing to be arranged


Neil Stratton

01573 450695



About the branch

Branch committee


Neil Stratton, Heiton Mains, Heiton, Kelson, TD5 8JR


Malcolm Henderson


David Parkinson

Committee members:

Malcolm Ross

Committee member and representative of branch on SOC Council:

Ray Murray

Borders recorder:

Ray Murray


Useful information:

Birdwatching in the area

Click here for a guide of recommended sites to visit in the Borders and to download the branches’ free, full-colour birdwatching guide to the area.

Click here for our guide to Birdwatching on the Berwickshire coast

Bird recording in the area

Visit the Borders recording area page for details of the latest bird report, back issues, species considered locally and for Local Recorder contact information.

South-East Scotland Bird Atlas

Image to go alongside SE Scotland Atlas infoLothian and Borders regions have joined forces to run a local Bird Atlas project in parallel with the national 2007-11 Bird Atlas. For more details, including information on how to take part and preliminary species maps, see the South-East Scotland Bird Atlas website at

Borders Bird News

Join our email newsgroup to keep up with the latest sightings and to make general comments and observations. To subscribe to the list please email

Young Birders CTA

Download the young Birder Application form - Word Doc
Download the training course application form - PDF
Contact Us
Find Out More