Edinburgh City

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus ©Ray Wilson Website
Birding Edinburgh

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 miles) 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 miles) 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

    InformationSatellite 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.
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

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    The Botanics captures the imagination of everyone who visits and is world renowned for its horticultural excellence. Over 70 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds provide a tranquil haven just one mile from the city centre.
County Recorder
Useful Reading

  • Where to Watch Birds in Scotland

    | By Mike Madders & Julia Welstead | Christopher Helm | 2002 | Paperback | 297 pages, b/w illustrations, maps | ISBN: 9780713656930 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • RSPB Edinburgh Local Group

    This is the website of the Edinburgh Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.
  • SOC Lothian Branch

    Meets at The Guide Hall, 33 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7JF (click here for a map of the venue and surrounding area). Two meetings a year are held at Waterston House, Aberlady on one Tusday a month details from Morag King, 7 Durham Terrace, Edinburgh, EH15 1QJ, tel 0131 258 4638, mobile 078104 15941

Abbreviations Key

  • LNR Meadows Yard

    InformationSatellite View
    Meadows Yard Local Nature Reserve is a small site located off Fillyside Road near Seafield.
  • LNR Ravelston Woods

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    Ravelston Woods and Park is situated in Blackhall, north Edinburgh. The woods area is a local nature reserve and locally renowned for its diversity of plants and animals. Ravelston Woods are particularly special because of the dazzling display of bluebells in the spring. Look out for typical woodland birds such as robin, blackbird and wren. Tree-creepers and woodpeckers can also be found sharing the wood with raptors such as tawny owls and buzzards. Alongside foxes, mice, voles and shrews, Ravelston has a thriving population of badgers.
  • LNR The Hermitage of Braid & Blackford Hill

    InformationSatellite View
    The Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve is an area of natural beauty in Edinburgh, Scotland, managed by City of Edinburgh Forestry and Natural Heritage.
  • NNR Isle of May National Nature Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    OK Its NOT in Edinburgh but boat trips around it do sometimes set out from Edinburgh.
  • SWT Bawsinch and Duddingston

    WebpageSatellite View
    Duddingston Loch is the only example of a natural freshwater loch in the City of Edinburgh. It is an important site for breeding and wintering wildfowl and includes areas of mixed woodland, scrub, grassland and reedbeds. Otters have been spotted swimming along the shore in winter.
  • SWT Johnston Terrace

    InformationSatellite View
    The Trust’s smallest reserve is located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, near to Edinburgh Castle. It demonstrates how a small, neglected urban area can be converted into an invaluable wildlife refuge. Hopefully, visitors will find inspiration to improve their own gardens for wildlife.
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Birding Lothian

    Twitter Website
    All the Recent Bird News & Images from Lothian. Regular updates.
  • Lothian Bird News

    Twitter Website
    @LTNBirdNews - Bird news from Lothians and adjacent areas of south-east Scotland.
Trip Reports

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 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.
Other Links
  • 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.
  • Geoff Morgan - Morgithology

    Last updated 2016 - 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
  • Kiwi Gav - What Birds I've Seen Today

    It’s time now for the start of my 2018 Garden bird list 2017 showed most of the common British garden birds with a total of 34 birds, unlike 2016 where I had a few more unusual birds for a city garden and a total of 40.
  • Lothian Young Birder

    Last updated 2014 ...formerly 'Aberdeenshire Young Birder'. The exploits of a Scottish young birder in Lothian, Clyde, Norfolk and wherever else he finds himself - I'm Joseph Nichols, an avid 19 year old Scottish birder and patcher that formerly lived in Aberdeen but now has bases in Edinburgh and Glasgow. I also bird in Norfolk as I have family stationed down there, where my local patch is Costessey House Private Estate. This is an area of private land around the cottage I stay in between Costessey and Drayton on the outskirts of Norwich.

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