Scottish birdwatching secrets revealed as SOC launches first-ever where to go birdwatching in Scotland app…

A new free app for nature lovers has revealed some of the best places to enjoy the Scottish countryside and its birds. The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) has developed the guide for Apple and Android devices, to help enthusiasts discover many of Scotland’s top-class birdwatching sites.

Nearly three years in the making, Where to Watch Birds in Scotland offers birdwatchers detailed site guides. For each of almost 400 birdwatching locations, users will find out what birds to look for and when, how to get there and recent sightings at that location as reported on BirdTrack (the online bird recording platform). Other wildlife spectacles such as otters, adders or butterflies, are also listed. 

This unique resource (no digital or even up-to-date printed guide like this currently exists) will help beginners and seasoned birders alike and appeal to general nature and wildlife watchers. New sites will continue to be added and every effort made by volunteers to update existing ones. 

The guide 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 tells 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.  

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/or BirdTrack.

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 local co-ordinators and nearly 140 contributors around the country.

Dr Ian Bainbridge, the Club’s President said “This has been a major project for the Club. We hope the app will help a new generation of wildlife lovers to enjoy exciting birds in often spectacular and beautiful places across the length and breadth of Scotland. For anyone who didn’t know where to start bird watching, this will show them the way. Even experienced birders will discover places and things they didn’t know about. It’s opening a completely new chapter in countryside access, with Scotland leading the way.”

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. 

To download the app, search for “Where to Watch Birds Scotland” in the app stores or follow the links from www.the-soc.org.uk/app

Fatbirder Comment:

An excellent interactive app that not only gives you lots of great birding localities but records what you see to build an even more detailed picture of what an be seen at each locale. Well done SOC! Now we need equivalents for the rest of the home countries!

About the SOC:

On the one hand, a birdwatching club: established in 1936, the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) is Scotland’s bird club with a network of 15 branches throughout Scotland and a growing membership of over 3300. Through a programme of talks, outings, conferences and other events, the charity brings together like-minded individuals with a passion for birds, nature and conservation. 

On the other hand, a network of volunteers across Scotland: members out in the field gather vital, impartial information about wild birds. The data that the SOC collects is made available to conservationists, planners and developers and is used by organisations such as the RSPB, as one of the first points of reference in informed conservation planning. The Club’s Headquarters are located in East Lothian, in the village of Aberlady, overlooking the nearby local nature reserve.

For more information on the Club, please contact development@the-soc.org.uk or visit www.the-soc.org.uk