Lothian branch

© Iain Leach www.iainleachphotography.com

© Iain Leach www.iainleachphotography.com

Lothian is currently the largest SOC branch, with over 500 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 (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:

13 Jan 2015         ”Mark and recapture: Bird ringing in Lothian and beyond”, with Clive Walton

Clive Walton is member of both Lothian and Tay Ringing Groups, with 25 years of ringing experience and a special interest in migrant passerines.


10 Feb 2015       ”Seabird studies on the Isle of May: Spreading our wings after 40 years”, with Mark Newell

Mark will be telling us about the seabirds and seabird work on the Isle of May (a National Nature Reserve which lies 5 miles off the Fife coast) over the last 40 years, alongside a more general background to the isle and its other wildlife. Mark will also provide an overview as to how CEH have expanded their work to take in other seabird colonies along the east coast.

Mark Newell has worked as a seabird ecologist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh since November 2004. His role is to undertake and manage the long-term seabird fieldwork that is carried out on the Isle of May.  It involves ringing and studying a range of species throughout the breeding season with particular interest in their productivity, long-term survival and diet.  Prior to starting at CEH he worked as a Wildlife Tour Guide specialising in trips to Scottish islands. He also has also carried out short term contracts on a wide range of ornithological projects for Scottish Natural Heritage, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Shetland and the University of Plymouth.


10 Mar 2015       ”Dippers: A much loved bird at risk?” (Aberlady)* 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.

14 Apr 2015        AGM, Members’ Night & George Smith – Peregrines and PIT tags: A study of Peregrine demography in South Scotland

* NB: Oct & Mar meetings held at Waterston House, Aberlady


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.

Sun 18 Jan         Blackness/Linlithgow (John Hamilton)

Sun 15 Feb        Tyninghame (Doreen & James Main)

Sun 22 Mar       Anstruther/Ruddon’s Point (Tom Gillies)

Sun 19 Apr        Borders area (James Main)

Thu 7 May          Dawn chorus, Gosford (Cherle Smith)

Sun 14 Jun         Northumberland coast & Coquet Island (David Atkins)


Gillian Herbert, 0131 337 0767, or SOC HQ, for details.


About the branch

Branch committee


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

Chair and representative of the branch on SOC Council:

James Main


Richard Leslie


Stephen Hunter

Committee members:

Gillian Herbert (outings), Marjorie Adams, Morag King, John MacLean, Cherle Smith

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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