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:

11 Oct 2016  
Mike Thornton – Urban Raptors: The final frontier*

Mike will be talking about the population recovery of Birds of prey in UK and their colonisation of urban environments. The opportunities and constraints for breeding birds of prey in urban environments will be examined and a number of case studies in Scotland will be discussed. 

Mike has been a keen ornithologist since he was 14 years old. He graduated from Aberdeen University with Zoology, having completed his Hons thesis on the brood habitat and diet of the Capercaillie at Abernethy Forest. He worked as a seasonal warden on the Farne Islands (National Trust); Rahoy Hills (SWT); Handa Island (SWT) and at Loch Garten (Operation Osprey RSPB). Mike also worked at RSPB for a spell in the conservation science department on national capercaillie census, golden eagle survey and lowland breeding wader survey. He pioneered the Edinburgh Hawkwatch project and has been monitoring the breeding success of Sparrowhawks in Edinburgh since 2009. Currently Mike is doing a Masters research project on habitat selection and foraging dynamics in Taiga Bean Geese on the Slamannan Plateau, whilst working for SNH as operations officer in protected sites management.

08 Nov 2016
Chris Waltho – Specs in Chukotka

13 Dec 2016
Members’ Night & Russell Nisbet – The Isle of May

10 Jan 2017      
Mark Holling – Twenty years on: The SE Scotland Atlas

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

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 9 Oct 2016
East coast starting at Musselburgh (Cherle Smith)

Sun 20 Nov 2016
Loch Leven and Lochore Meadows (John Hamilton)

Sun 11 Dec 2016
Aberlady Bay & lunch at Craigielaw Golf Club (Stephen Hunter). Please book for lunch with Gillian Herbert on 0131 339 6479 by 8 November

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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