Lothian branch

© Iain Leach www.iainleachphotography.com

© Iain Leach www.iainleachphotography.com

Lothian is currently the largest SOC branch, with over 1000 members from across the region. We hold monthly meetings and field trips throughout most of the year. We also have a discussion group, where we consider local conservation issues and organise survey work.


Evening talks programme


The Guide Hall, 33 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7JF (click here for a map of the venue and surrounding area), except those two meetings marked with an asterisk, which are at Waterston House, Aberlady.


The following Tuesdays at 7.30pm:

14 Feb 2017
Ian Poxton – Merlins in the Lammermuir Hills 1984-2014: How birds and fieldworkers get by on heavily-keepered grouse moors!

“Our Merlin study in the Lammermuir Hills began in 1984 and apart from 2001 (Foot and Mouth Disease year) continued until 2014. At the beginning of 2015 it came to an abrupt and unexpected end due to withdrawal of cooperation by some of the landowners and their gamekeepers as a result of a perceived criticism of some of their (illegal?) practices. The moorland management practices were becoming so intense and damaging to upland biodiversity, together with a continuing decline in breeding Merlins, that we had no alternative but to end our study.
The results of the 30-year project will be presented in a general manner, with just a little scientific treatment. The conclusions will present a bleak outlook for our uplands that are currently subjected to intense management for driven grouse shooting unless some major changes are made…”

Ian is Professor Emeritus of Microbial Infection and Immunity at the University of Edinburgh. He has been an active amateur ornithologist/worldwide birder for over 40 years, as well as a ringer and member of the Lothian & Borders branch of the Scottish Raptor Study Group and Lothian Ringing Group, specialising in Merlins and more recently, Hen Harriers. Ian previously carried out a long-term study of Ring Ouzels in SE Scotland and continues to get involved in ringing seabirds on islands in Firth of Forth, together with general ringing of passerines.

14 Mar 2017
Will Cresswell – Our birds in Africa*

11 Apr 2017
AGM, Members’ Night & Al McNee – A birding trip to Central Thailand

* NB: Oct & Mar meetings held at Waterston House, Aberlady. Space limited. Advance booking essential (01620 844532)


Doreen Main
01620 844532


Branch outings

These take place in most months of the year; usually on a Saturday or Sunday. They are full-day trips, so please bring a packed lunch and stout footwear.  Transport is on a car-share basis. Details will be available at indoor meetings and via Marjorie Adams.

Sun 15 Jan 2017
Linlithgow Loch and Kinneil Kerse (Richard Leslie)

Sun 26 Feb 2017
Largo Bay and Ruddon’s Point (David Atkins)

Sun 26 Mar 2017
Raptor Viewpoint and Leithen Lodge (Tom & Margaret Gillies)

Sun 23 Apr 2017
Little Glenshee & Loch of the Lowes (Marjorie Adams & Gillian Herbert)

Sun 21 May 2017
The Hirsel (Tom & Margaret Gillies)

Thu 15 Jun 2017
Carrifran Wildwood (Hilary Maxfield)


Marjorie Adams, 0131 669 8080


About the branch

Branch committee


Doreen Main, Seatoller, Broadgait, Gullane, EH31 2DH, Tel 01620 844532

Chair and representative of the branch on SOC Council:

Richard Leslie


Position vacant


Stephen Hunter

Committee members:

Gillian Herbert (outings), Marjorie Adams, Morag King, John MacLean, Cherle Smith, Alison Creamer and Hilary Maxfield

Lothian recorder:

Stephen Welch


Useful information:

Birdwatching in the Lothians

Click here for our guide to Birding the Lothians and here to visit Ian Andrew’s website Birdwatching sites in the Lothians

Click here to download the SOC’s free guide: Birdwatching on the East Lothian coast

Bird recording in the Lothians

Visit the Lothian recording area page for details of the latest bird report, back issues, species considered locally and the latest Lothian Bird Records Committee decisions and for Local Recorder contact information.

Volunteering at Waterston House

Waterston House, SOC headquarters, is located in Lothian region, on the outskirts of Aberlady village. Please visit our volunteering page for more information.

Lothian Bird Bulletin

Click here to download Lothian Branch’s newsletter (most recent & back-issues).

Image to go alongside SE Scotland Atlas infoSouth-East Scotland Bird Atlas

Lothian 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 www.the-soc.org.uk/se-atlas.

Lothian Discussion Group

The group meets at Waterston House on the first Wednesday of each month, from September to April, to discuss topical ornithological-related items, share survey results and plan upcoming survey work.

Meetings start at 7:30pm. Contact Mark Holling for more information.

2010 Edinburgh Film Festival

In June 2010 we were invited to join the stars on the red carpet at the world premiere of Pelican Blood, a film about sex, violence, and twitching! Below is a snapshot of the event!


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