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Edinburgh City

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus ©Ray Wilson Website

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 local government council areas. Located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore, it is Scotland's second most populous city and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. The 2014 official population estimates are 464,990 for the city of Edinburgh, 492,680 for the local authority area. Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in Scotland.

Occupying a narrow gap between the Firth of Forth to the north and the Pentland Hills and their outrunners to the south, the city sprawls over a landscape which is the product of early volcanic activity and later periods of intensive glaciation. Igneous activity between 350 and 400 million years ago, coupled with faulting, led to the creation of tough basalt volcanic plugs, which predominate over much of the area. One such example is the Castle Rock which forced the advancing ice-sheet to divide, sheltering the softer rock and forming a 1-mile-long (1.6 km) tail of material to the east, thus creating a distinctive crag and tail formation.

Edinburgh is drained by the river named the Water of Leith, which rises at the Colzium Springs in the Pentland Hills and runs for 29 kilometres (18 mi) through the south and west of the city, emptying into the Firth of Forth at Leith. The nearest the river gets to the city centre is at Dean Village on the north-western edge of the New Town, where a deep gorge is spanned by Thomas Telford's Dean Bridge. The Water of Leith Walkway is a mixed use trail Excepting the shoreline of the Firth of Forth, that follows the course of the river for 19.6 kilometres (12.2 mi) from Balerno to Leith.

Edinburgh is encircled by a green belt, designated in 1957, which stretches from Dalmeny in the west to Prestongrange in the east.With an average width of 3.2 kilometres (2 mi) the principal objectives of the green belt were to contain the outward expansion of the city and to prevent the agglomeration of urban areas.

Top Sites

Hound Point

Satellite View

Hound Point Follow the track from South Queensferry under the Forth Bridge and continue eastwards. This is a great place for watching Skuas and all four species are recorded annually. Migrating raptors are occasionally reported too, as is the odd Sabine's Gull. The woods have Woodcock, Green Woodpecker and Jay.

County Recorder

Stephen Welch

25 Douglas Road, Longniddry, EH32 0LQ

01875 852802


Useful Reading

Where to Watch Birds in Scotland

Mike Madders and Julia Welstead - 297 pages, b/w illus, maps - Christopher Helm

ISBN: 071365693X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2013 [05 May] - Mike Nelson - The Scottish Bird Fair and birding around Edinburgh


Loch Linligthgow – The small loch here supports a variety of birdlife with the water, surrounding woodland, small marshy area and grassy verges plus the old palace ruins which is nice to look around as well. We had good luck with some of the more common woodland birds like Common Blackbird, Song Thrush, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Common Chaffinch, Eurasian Wren and Dunnock. We also found Eurasian Blackcap, Sedge Warbler and European Robin in the briery bushy areas next to the path. The loch itself was home to many Mute Swans, Great Crested Grebe, Eurasian Coot, Greater Scaup, Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, House Martin and Barn Swallow circled over the lake and Common Wood Pigeon were also seen quite commonly. A single Common Reed Bunting was seen in the marshy area in tall reeds at the end of the loch.


RSPB - Edinburgh Area Members Group


The RSPB Edinburgh Area Members Group is a large and active group covering the Edinburgh and Lothians area. We have a monthly programme of indoor meetings (held at Napier University Craiglockhart) running from September to April.

Scottish Ornithologists Club - Lothian Branch


Welcome to Lothian Birding - the website of the Lothian branch of the SOC. Compiled by branch members, this aims to provide you with news and information about Lothian's Bird Club, birds, birders and birding in the area - where and when to go, the best chance to see certain species and to keep you informed of what's going on with birds and other wildlife in the region. We hope that you find this site useful, and it encourages you to get involved in birding in the Lothians! Please help the website to evolve by sending in your ideas, comments and opinions. [Ian Thomson, 4 Craigielaw, Longniddry, E Lothian EH32 0PY 01875 870588 The branch's Club Nights are more informal than the main meetings. They are normally held in the Waterston Library, 21 Regent Terrace at 7.30 p.m. during the winter months. For further details of speakers and subjects and to check the dates please contact Ian Thomson on 01875 870588.]


Morgithology – Geoff Morgan


Birds, wildlife and ecology in Lothian and beyond - I have been birding for as long as I can remember - well, ever since I saw Reed Buntings and Tree Sparrows in the garden as a four year old. I am keen on gulls, waders, raptors and passerines, though when birding abroad all the colourful stuff comes in handy as well… I'm based in Edinburgh and bird mainly in Lothian and elsewhere in Scotland. My real home patch is in North Wales - the awesome and well-known nightjar site near Nercwys. Not a twitcher but I do like seeing new stuff so I'm hoping to self-find more in the future than I have in the past…

What Birds I've Seen Today


I was thinking about New Years resolutions for 2013 and thought to myself I know – I’m going to try and list the birds I see or hear on a daily basis for the entire year of 2013. Then I thought maybe others might want to do the same and that’s why this website is now here. I hope that it continues after 2013 and more people join in the fun of recording birds…

Other Links

Birding Lothian


All the Latest Bird News and Photographs from the County of Lothian...

Birding the Lothians


The Lothians, at some 749 square miles, lying on the south side of the Firth of Forth, has a rich diversity of habitats. These comprise mainly of upland moorland, woodland, reservoirs and an extensive coastline with four main estuaries….

Edinburgh Cameras


For all your optical needs… …one of Scotland's specialists in binoculars.

Falconry Scotland (Formerly Edinburgh Bird of Prey Centre)


Welcome to Falconry Scotland - providing falconry services from our centres at Jedforest and Dalhousie. These are located in the scenic Lothians and Borders of Scotland and are easily accessible. Both of our centres provide the opportunities for handling falcons, hawks, owls and eagles. Whether it be for an experienced falconer, a beginner, a corporate day, a school visit, a gift, a special occasion (such as a wedding) or just for fun, we can provide you with a tailored made bird of prey experience…