West Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian, including the islands of Bass Rock, Craigleith, Fidra, The Lamb, Inchmickery and Cramond Island. Click here for a detailed map.
Local recorder for the area:
25 Douglas Road, Longniddry, East Lothian, EH32 0LQ
01875 852802 or 07931 524963
We now prefer to receive Lothian bird records via BirdTrack, the online recording system operated by the BTO, the RSPB, BirdWatch Ireland and the SOC. All you need to do to get started is sign up as a BirdTrack user and register the sites where you birdwatch. It will create a personal ‘diary’ you can view online and your records will automatically be made available for the production of the Lothian Bird Report (provided you permit the local recorder to access them).
We do however continue to accept records sent directly to the local recorder at the address above. Various formats can be used:
- A Microsoft Works or Excel spreadsheet, ideally this should be the standard Lothian SOC Excel spreadsheet which will ensure species names are consistent with those used in our master database; a day of the week check is also embedded
- A Word document or equivalent. Records must be in a table format, with a column for each field.
- As a last resort, on paper – but only if less than one hundred records, due to the time required to transfer to computer.
In all cases the important thing is to include the following information clearly separated into columns: species name, count (just digits), age/sex etc, locality, date (dd/mm/yyyy), comments.
Lothian Bird Report
SOC Lothian branch
The latest report, covering 2020, was published in late 2022. It's our largest issue ever, with 158 pages packed with information and colour photos. Details are given for every species recorded in 2020, together with summaries for every species ever seen in Lothian.
£10 per copy.
The report can be purchased from the SOC HQ at Waterston House, and from the Viking Optical Centre, 101 Rose Street, Edinburgh. Please check availability before travelling.
Postage and packaging:
First class p&p to the UK costs £3.65 for one report, £4.30 for two, and £5.45 for three.
For postage outside the UK, please email us for details.
Forth Islands Bird Report
Forth Seabird Group
c/o Vane Farm
Recording of unusual species in Lothian
For species considered rare at a local level to appear in the Lothian Bird Report, they have to be assessed by the Lothian Bird Records Committee (LBRC). Following a review in December 2007, the Committee adopted a more statistical approach to determining those species assessed. Analysis of the data produced some interesting results, and the Committee decided that the list should comprise all species with an average of three records or less in the most recent five-year period (for which data was available). This is broadly in line with a number of other local records committees in the UK.
During January 2012, the Committee completed their second review of the list of species that require descriptions in Lothian. As with the first review, data from the most recent five years available (2006-2010) was analysed. It was agreed that all species averaging three records or less a year would remain description species. The position of a number of other species was also addressed. As a result of this second review, a number of changes were made:
- Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Glaucous Gull, Black Guillemot and Yellow-browed Warbler all exceeded the threshold and consequently came off the list of description species.
- Smew and Ruddy Duck, however, fell below the threshold and were therefore added to the list.
- The committee decided that given the ‘artificial’ status of both Red Kite and White-tailed Eagle in the region (ie the majority, if not all records involve released birds) the requirement of a description was unnecessary and therefore both these species came off the list.
- The committee also agreed that all records of Mandarin in Lothian are likely to involve escaped birds from non-sustaining populations, and consequently descriptions for this species are unnecessary.
- The committee felt that Quail are regularly present in large tracts of East Lothian and are not especially rare, and that the requirement of a description for sight-only records is no longer necessary.
Observers should also note that, since 2010, LBRC has been responsible for assessing American Golden Plover and Ring-billed Gull records – these have been ‘handed down’ from SBRC.
A revised list of those species now requiring a description by LBRC is shown below.
Unfortunately, it is a sad reflection on the status of some previously regular species in Lothian that they now appear on this list. It is vital therefore that we document properly all records of these species so that their true status can be accurately recorded. We thank all those observers who have submitted their descriptions in the past, and would encourage any observer fortunate enough to find any of the species below to submit a description via the recorder. This need not necessarily be a lengthy and detailed, feather-by-feather account – a few lines outlining the main features seen will normally be sufficient for acceptance. Photographs often make the assessment of records significantly easier and are welcomed, with or without accompanying notes, depending on their quality. It is the intention of the Committee that further reviews will take place at regular intervals to keep abreast of both changes in species’ status as well as future taxonomic changes.
Further additions to the species considered by LBRC, commencing from 1 January 2013, result from removal of same from the SBRC list from that date, these being: Great White Egret, Rough-legged Buzzard and Water Pipit. In addition LBRC will assume responsibility for assessment of the sinensis subspecies of Cormorant (Continental).
Records considered by LBRC from 1st January 2013
Written details should be submitted for the following species/subspecies:
Garganey (not adult males or pairs)
Surf Scoter (not adult males)
Great White Egret
American Golden Plover
Long-tailed Skua (juveniles only)
Yellow Wagtail (except British race flavissima)
Eurasian Reed Warbler
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler
Wood Warbler (non-singing birds only)
Eurasian Golden Oriole
Great Grey Shrike
Cormorant (Continental) Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis
The Lothian Bird Records Committee, comprising Alan Brown, Colin Davison, Keith Gillon, Mervyn Griffin and Mark Wilkinson, will consider local rarities. The Scottish Birds Records Committee will consider Scottish rarities and the British Birds Rarities Committee will consider national rarities. Occasionally, the Recorder may request notes for species or sub-species not appearing on this list, when they occur outside their normal range or on unusual dates.
39 Clayknowes Drive
Click here for a list of rarity descriptions accepted by the Lothian Bird Records Committee (see below).
South-East Scotland Bird Atlas