• Gulls by Laurie Campbell



NOW AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: Where to Watch Birds in Scotland, SOC's free mobile app

To download the app now simply click on either button below:


Nearly three years in the making, we're delighted to announce the launch ofWhere to Watch Birds in Scotland , the Club's free mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

For the first time ever, you can now download an app to discover the best places to birdwatch around Scotland and the bird species likely to be found at these sites. Some will be well known locations, others may be less familiar. 

This unique resource (no digital or up-to-date printed resource like this currently exists) will bring Scotland’s birds to a new generation of birdwatchers and appeal to beginners and seasoned birders, as well as general nature and wildlife watchers. 

The app has launched with details of nearly 400 of Scotland's top birdwatching spots, but new sites will continue to be added and existing ones updated as far as possible. 

About the app

The guide displays the following information about each birdwatching site, including: 

  • directions to the site by public transport or car
  • the best season to visit
  • how to navigate the site
  • what birds to look out for on a seasonal basis
  • recent sightings in the area as uploaded to BirdTrack
  • rare/unusual species previously recorded at the site
  • how to submit bird sightings to the Local Bird Recorder and/or to BirdTrack
  • other notable wildlife spectacles to look out for

The app will help birdwatchers visiting Scotland from across the UK and overseas, drawn to these shores by the country’s internationally- important seabird colonies, wader and wildfowl populations as well as its iconic and exciting upland species. The app’s built-in search facility will tell users where particular bird species are likely to be seen as well as allowing them to tap into detailed species information from the SOC’s award-winning publication, The Birds of Scotland.  

Generating valuable conservation data

In line with the charity’s recording objectives, users are encouraged to help bird conservation by submitting their sightings via a direct link to the Local Bird Recorder and BirdTrack.

A network of volunteers

The development of the app is also a wonderful demonstration of what volunteers working together can achieve. The project is the result of three years of in-depth research and meticulous planning by a small working group comprising Jane Allison, Martin Cook and Alan Knox, assisted by network of nearly 140 local co-ordinators and contributors around the country. A list of contributors can be viewed below and will be published in the June 2019 issue of Scottish Birds and shared here thereafter.

Local Co-ordinators

Angus & Dundee Jon Cook

Argyll Jim Dickson

Ayrshire Fraser Simpson

Borders Malcolm  Ross

Caithness Sinclair Manson

Clyde Marion Osler

Clyde Islands (unfilled)

Dumfries & Galloway Paul Collin

Fair Isle  Ian Andrews & David Parnaby

Fife Graham Sparshott

Highland Peter Gordon

Isle of May Iain English & Stuart Rivers

Lothian Dave Allan & Ian Andrews

Moray & Nairn Martin Cook

North-East Scotland John Wills

Orkney Russell Neave 

Outer Hebrides Yvonne Benting

Perth & Kinross Scott Paterson

Shetland Helen Moncrieff

Upper Forth Chris Pendlebury

Site contributors

Hugh Addlesee, Dave Allan, Ian Andrews, Tristan ap Rheinallt, Rob Armstrong, Paula Baker, Keith Ballantyne, Alex Banwell, Heather Beaton, Neil Beilby, Mike Bell, Yvonne Benting, Andrew Bielinski, Joe Bilous, Rosie Black, Alisdair Blair, Kim Blasco, John Bowler, Tom Bowser, Richard Bramhall, Tom Brewis, Ian Broadbent, Allan Brown, William Bruce, Mike Chandler, John Chester, Jon Clarke, Paul Collin, Jon Cook, Martin Cook, Anne Cotton, Jim Coyle, Will Cresswell, Simon Davies, Colin Davison, Dougie Dickson, Jim Dickson, Hayley Douglas, Norman Elkins, Henry Farquhar, Ron Forrester, Ian Fulton, Graeme Garner, Rachel Gooday, Caroline Gordon, Peter Gordon, Dave Grant, Christopher Green, David Haines, Ian Halliday, Iain Hamlin, Kath Hamper, Mike Harrison, Robin Harvey, Bryan Hickman, Angus Hogg, John Holland, Mark Holling, Ian Hopkins, Mike Howes, Kevin Ingleby, David Jardine, Alan Kerr, Bruce Kerr, Alan Knox, Mark Lewis, Nick Littlewood, Dean MacAskill, Angus MacIver, Sinclair Manson, Marco McGinty, Alistair McGregor, Chris McInerny, Suzanne McIntyre, Michael McKee, Ian McKenzie, Bob McMillan, Alastair McNee, David McNee, Alan and Judy McNeilly, Tony Marr, John Marshall, Tim Marshall, Jimmy Maxwell, Doug Menzies, Will Miles, Brian Minshull, Neil Mitchell, Helen Moncrieff, Martin Moncrieff, Pete Moore, Sean Morris, Andrew Mossop, Rebecca Nason, Jim Nicholson, Jonathan and Marilyn Nugent, Donald Omand, Scott Paterson, Chris Pendlebury, Allan Perkins, David Pickett, Anand Prasad, Catriona Reid, Simon Ritchie, Stuart Rivers, Andy Robinson, Malcolm Ross, Tommy Ross, Allan Russell, Calum Scott, Rab Shand, Ken Shaw, Alex Shepherd, Daryll Short, Fraser Simpson, Richard Smith, Richard Somers Cocks, Moray Souter, Graham Sparshott, Brian Stewart, Ranald Strachan, Bob Swann, Dave Tanner, Mike Thornton, Richard Vernon, Malcolm Ware, Dan Watson, Richard Watt, Richard Wesley, Susan White, Andy Williams, John Wills, David Wood.


We are grateful to the British Trust for Ornithology for help with links to BirdTrack, Keith Naylor for updated statistics on rare birds, and the editors of The Birds of Scotland (2007) for permission to use population data and distribution maps extracted from this landmark publication. Technical advice was provided by Robin Knox, Paul Walton and their colleagues at Intelligent Point of Sale in Edinburgh, subsequently Boundary Technologies.  

Development of the app began with a conversation between Alan Knox, the late Ray Murray and Jane Cleaver (now Allison) at an SOC Council meeting in 2016. Sadly, Ray died later that year. However, we think Ray would be proud to see the project completed with many of his ideas and suggestions realised in the finished app.

A number of authors permitted the use of their material in the app or helped with other information. Thanks are due to:

- Ian Andrews and Stephen Hunter, Online Scottish Bird Report

- Julian Branscombe and RSPB Scotland, Discover Orkney Wildlife app

- Jim Cassels, Arran Birding website

- Raymond Duncan, Grampian Ringing Group

- Ian Francis and Mark Sullivan, Birding Guide to North-East Scotland, including part of the Cairngorm National Park

Bob McMillan, www.skye-birds.com website

Supported by

The app’s development was generously financed by the SOC’s Birds of Scotland Fund – supporting ornithological publications and special projects in Scotland – as well as legacies to the Club from members and a donation from Glasgow Natural History Society


Support our work

In line with the Club's constitutional aims, the SOC developed this app to encourage and enable more people, from across the world, to study, enjoy and promote the conservation of Scotland's wild birds. Such investment would not be possible without the support of our members and the wider birdwatching community. Donate now.



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SOC brings together like-minded individuals with a passion for birds, nature and conservation through a programme of talks, outings, conferences and via the Club’s quarterly journal, Scottish Birds.