The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian is a group of bird enthusiasts who come together to share their knowledge and passion for ornithology. Based in the county of East Lothian, Scotland, the club is dedicated to the study and conservation of birds in the local area.

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club was founded in 1936 and has since grown to become one of the largest and most respected ornithological societies in the UK. The East Lothian branch of the club is particularly active, with regular meetings, field trips, and birdwatching events throughout the year. Members of the club range from amateur birdwatchers to professional ornithologists, all united by their love of birds and their desire to protect them for future generations.

If you’re interested in birds and live in East Lothian, joining the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club could be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and learn more about the fascinating world of ornithology. With regular events and a wealth of knowledge and experience among its members, the club offers a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Scotland and contribute to the conservation of its birdlife.

History of the Club

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian is a local branch of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) that was founded in 1936. The SOC is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the study and conservation of birds in Scotland.

The East Lothian branch was established in 1971, and its headquarters are located at the Aberlady Nature Reserve. The reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is recognized as one of the best bird-watching sites in Scotland.

The SOC East Lothian has a rich history of organizing bird-watching trips, talks, and events for its members. The club also conducts bird surveys and monitoring programs in the Aberlady area and beyond.

Over the years, the club has played a significant role in promoting the conservation of birds and their habitats in East Lothian. It has also contributed to the scientific understanding of bird populations in the region.

Today, the SOC East Lothian continues to be an active and influential organization in the local community. Its members are passionate about birds and work tirelessly to promote their conservation and protection.

Waterston House

Waterston House is the headquarters of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club in East Lothian. It is located in a tranquil setting overlooking Aberlady Bay, a renowned birdwatching site. The building is named after George Waterston, the founder of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and a leading figure in Scottish ornithology.

Art Gallery

Waterston House features a wildlife art gallery that showcases the work of local and international artists. The gallery has a rotating collection of paintings, sculptures, and photographs that capture the beauty and diversity of the natural world. Visitors can admire the artwork and purchase pieces to support the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club’s conservation efforts.


The library at Waterston House is a valuable resource for birdwatchers, researchers, and anyone interested in Scottish wildlife. It has a collection of over 10,000 books, journals, and manuscripts related to ornithology, ecology, and conservation. The library also has a reading room where visitors can study and access online databases.


The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian welcomes new members who are passionate about birds and their conservation. Membership provides access to a range of benefits, including participation in club events and access to exclusive resources.


As a member of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian, you will have access to a range of benefits, including:

  • Participation in club events, including bird-watching trips and talks by experts in the field.
  • Access to exclusive resources, including the club’s library and archives.
  • Opportunities to contribute to bird conservation efforts in East Lothian and beyond.
  • Networking opportunities with other bird enthusiasts.

How to Join

To become a member of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian, simply visit the club’s website and follow the instructions for joining. Membership fees are affordable and provide access to a range of benefits.

If you are already a member, you can log in to the club’s website to access exclusive resources and stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

Join the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian today and become part of a community of passionate bird enthusiasts!

Birdwatching in East Lothian

Birds of East Lothian

East Lothian is a great place for birdwatching. The county is home to a wide variety of bird species, both common and rare. Some of the most commonly spotted birds in East Lothian include the following:

  • Blackbird
  • Blue Tit
  • Chaffinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Great Tit
  • House Sparrow
  • Robin
  • Starling
  • Wood Pigeon

In addition to these common birds, East Lothian is also home to a number of rarer species. Some of the less commonly spotted birds in the area include the following:

  • Barn Owl
  • Curlew
  • Lapwing
  • Little Egret
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Red Kite

Aberlady Bay

Aberlady Bay is a particularly good spot for birdwatching in East Lothian. The bay is home to a wide variety of bird species, including many that are rare or endangered. Some of the birds that can be spotted at Aberlady Bay include the following:

  • Arctic Tern
  • Common Eider
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Knot
  • Oystercatcher
  • Pink-footed Goose
  • Redshank
  • Sanderling
  • Shelduck

Birdwatchers visiting Aberlady Bay should be sure to bring their binoculars and a good bird identification guide. The bay is also home to a number of bird hides, which provide excellent vantage points for spotting birds in their natural habitat.

Conservation Efforts

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian (SOC EL) is committed to the conservation of birds and their habitats in the region. The club works closely with local authorities, landowners, and other conservation organizations to protect and enhance the natural environment.

One of the main conservation efforts of SOC EL is the monitoring of bird populations in East Lothian. The club conducts regular surveys to gather data on bird numbers, distribution, and breeding success. This information is used to identify areas of concern and inform conservation strategies.

SOC EL also works to protect important bird habitats in the region. The club has been involved in several projects to restore and improve habitats such as wetlands, woodlands, and grasslands. These efforts have helped to create new homes for birds and increase biodiversity in the area.

In addition to habitat restoration, SOC EL also promotes responsible land management practices. The club provides advice and guidance to landowners on how to manage their land in a way that benefits birds and other wildlife. This includes promoting sustainable farming practices, reducing the use of pesticides, and creating wildlife corridors.

Finally, SOC EL is involved in public education and outreach. The club regularly hosts talks, walks, and other events to raise awareness of bird conservation issues. Members of the club also work with local schools to provide educational resources and activities.

Events and Activities

Upcoming Events

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian regularly hosts events throughout the year for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Here are some upcoming events for the next few months:

Event Name Date Time Location
Birdwatching Walk 15th July 2023 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve
Talk on Scottish Seabird Colonies 25th August 2023 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM The Maitlandfield House Hotel
Family Fun Day 2nd September 2023 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM John Muir Country Park

All events are open to members and non-members, but booking is required for some events, so be sure to check the website for details.

Volunteering Opportunities

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian is always looking for volunteers to help with their various projects and activities. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in conservation efforts and learn more about birds and their habitats. Here are some current volunteering opportunities:

  • Bird Surveying: Help conduct bird surveys at various locations throughout East Lothian.
  • Habitat Restoration: Assist with habitat restoration projects, such as planting trees and removing invasive species.
  • Event Support: Help with event setup, registration, and cleanup.

No experience is necessary, and training will be provided for all tasks. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact the club for more information.

That’s all for now on events and volunteering opportunities. Be sure to check the website for updates and new opportunities.

Scottish Bird Reports

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian is actively involved in recording and reporting the birdlife in Scotland. The club publishes a comprehensive annual bird report, which provides an overview of the bird species observed in Scotland throughout the year.

Local Bird Reports

Local recorders play a crucial role in recording bird sightings in their respective areas. They submit their findings to the Scottish Birds Records Committee (SBRC), which compiles the data to produce the annual Scottish Bird Report. The East Lothian branch of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club has several local recorders who submit their observations to the SBRC. These local bird reports provide valuable information on the distribution and abundance of bird species in East Lothian.

Online Scottish Bird Report

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club also provides an online Scottish Bird Report, which is updated regularly throughout the year. The online report includes sightings of rare and unusual bird species, as well as regular sightings of common bird species. The report is an excellent resource for birdwatchers and ornithologists in Scotland, providing up-to-date information on bird sightings across the country.

Resources and Guides

Birdwatching Guide

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian offers a comprehensive birdwatching guide for bird enthusiasts. The guide includes detailed information on the best birdwatching spots in East Lothian, as well as tips and tricks for identifying different bird species. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birdwatcher, this guide is an essential resource for anyone looking to explore the diverse birdlife of East Lothian.

Optical Equipment

To get the most out of your birdwatching experience, it is essential to have the right optical equipment. The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian recommends investing in a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. These tools will allow you to see birds up close and personal, without disturbing their natural habitat. We also recommend using a field guide, such as the Collins Bird Guide, to help you identify different bird species.

In addition to our recommendations, there are many other resources available to help you choose the right optical equipment for your needs. You can find reviews and recommendations online, as well as in birdwatching magazines and books. If you’re unsure about what equipment to buy, we recommend consulting with a knowledgeable salesperson or a fellow birdwatcher for advice.

Research and Studies

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) East Lothian is dedicated to the study and conservation of birds in the region. As such, research and studies are an essential part of their work.

The SOC East Lothian regularly conducts bird surveys and monitoring programs to gather data on the bird populations in the area. The data collected is used to inform conservation efforts and to better understand the ecology of the region.

In collaboration with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the SOC East Lothian has also conducted several research projects on bird behaviour and habitat use. These studies have provided valuable insights into the factors that affect bird populations and have helped to identify areas that require conservation efforts.

The SOC East Lothian also promotes citizen science projects, encouraging members of the public to participate in bird surveys and monitoring programs. This approach allows for a broader range of data to be collected and provides an opportunity for people to learn more about the birds in their local area.

External Links

For more information about the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian, please visit the following external links:

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club website provides detailed information about the club, its history, and its activities. The website also includes a calendar of events, information about membership, and resources for birdwatchers.

The East Lothian Council website offers information about the local area, including attractions, accommodation, and events. Visitors can learn about the region’s history, wildlife, and natural beauty, as well as find practical information about getting around and staying safe.

Visit Scotland is the official tourism website for Scotland. It provides information about the country’s attractions, events, and activities, as well as practical information for visitors, such as transport options and accommodation listings.

Whether you are a seasoned birdwatcher or a casual visitor to East Lothian, these external links can help you plan your visit and make the most of your time in the area.

Contact Information

If you are interested in learning more about the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian, or would like to get involved in their activities, there are several ways to get in touch.

Postal Address

You can write to the club at the following address:

Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian
c/o John Muir House
East Lothian
EH41 3HA
United Kingdom


If you prefer to contact the club via email, you can send a message to the following address:

Social Media

The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian has a presence on several social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. You can find them at the following links:


If you are interested in becoming a member of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club East Lothian, you can find more information on their website. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in birds and birdwatching, and offers a range of benefits, including access to exclusive events and publications.

To join, simply fill out the online application form on the club’s website, or contact them using one of the methods listed above for more information.