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Scottish Borders

Redpoll
Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea ©Ron McCombe Website

Birding Scottish Borders

The Scottish Borders, often referred to simply as the Borders, is one of 32 local government council areas of Scotland. It is bordered by Dumfries and Galloway in the west, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian in the north west, City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian to the north; and the non-metropolitan counties of Northumberland and Cumbria in England to the south and east. The administrative centre of the area is Newtown St. Boswells.

Historically, the name Scottish Borders designated the entire border region of southern Scotland and, together with neighbouring areas of England, was part of the historical Borders region.

The Scottish Borders are located in the Eastern part of the Southern Uplands.

The region is hilly, with the River Tweed flowing west to east through the region. In the east of the region the area that borders the River Tweed is flat and is known as 'The Merse'. The Tweed and its tributaries drain the entire region with the river flowing into the North Sea at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and forming the border with England for the last twenty miles or so of its length.

County Recorder

Martin Moncrieff & David Parkinson

01835 822398 (Martin)

01896 822 028 (David)

bordersrecorder@gmail.com

Useful Reading

Fieldguides & Other Birding Books
For a full list of fieldguides and other books see the general UK page

Bird-Life of the Borders

(Records of Wild Sport and Natural History on Moorland and Sea) | by Abel Chapman | Spredden Press | 1990 | Paperback | 298 pages, 54 line illustrations |

ISBN: 187173911X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Top 50 Birds of Northumberland and the Borders

Edited by Graham Bell | Graham Bell | 1997 | Paperback |51 pages, b/w photos |

ISBN: 095310110X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Scotland

by Mike Madders & Julia Welstead | Christopher Helm | 2002 | Paperback | 297 pages, b/w illus, maps |

ISBN: 071365693X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Borders Forest Trust

Website

Our vision for the south of Scotland is for a place where a rich tapestry of native woodlands and wild places can flourish, cared for by the local communities that live there. Borders Forest Trust was established in 1996 to conserve, restore and manage native woodlands and other natural habitats for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Friends of Kailzie Wildlife Group

Website

Friends of Kailzie Wildlife Group is a community organisation whose objective is to develop and create opportunities for the wider public to discover wildlife in the local environment through recreation, heritage, wildlife interpretation and educational facilities…

Scottish Ornithologists' Club

Webpage

Venue: Kingsknowes Hotel, Selkirk Road, Galashiels, TD1 3HY Contact: Neil Stratton 01573 450695 mailto:neildstratton@btinternet.com

South Scotland Golden Eagle Project

Website

This is a new project to help boost numbers of Golden Eagles in the South of Scotland. Launched in August 2015, we are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for major funding to develop the work.

The Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust

Website

The historic Borders town of Berwick-upon-Tweed is home to Britain's second largest mute swan moulting colony. The Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust was formed in 1992, following a major pollution incident in the River Tweed estuary, to provide support for the local swan herd as well as other wildlife in the area…

Tweed Valley Osprey Project

Website

Live on camera in the centres: ospreys, jackdaws and swallows at Glentress and Ospreys, herons and nuthatches at Kalizie…

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

BFT Ettrick Flood-Plain Habitat Enhancement Project

Webpage

Satellite View

Although amongst the richest of ecological systems, flood-plain forest habitats have almost disappeared from Britain, with a few surviving in parts of Scotland. In 1995, WWF Scotland commissioned a review to determine the status of flood-plain forests within Scotland; this identified the haughland of the Upper Ettrick as one of the best-developed areas of flood-plain habitat and as an area that offered great potential for restoration and expansion…

BFT Talla & Gameshope

Webpage

Satellite View

In late 2013, following a successful fundraising campaign, the Trust took ownership of 4,527 acres (1,832ha) at Talla & Gameshope. The site is particularly special because it offers a rare opportunity to restore a large area of hills and upland valleys to their natural state providing habitats extensive enough to be more sustainable, in contrast to isolated areas of conservation found elsewhere. At its southern end the property borders both the Trust’s Carrifran Wildwood and the National Trust for Scotland’s extensive Grey Mare’s Tail Estate.

CW Langlee Woodland

Webpage

Satellite View

This is a community woodland managed by the local authority and representatives from the Galashiels’ community.

FCS Caberston Forrest

Website

Satellite View

Caberston is part of Forests of the Scottish Borders. Innerleithen is the nearest town or village…

FCS Glentress Forest

Website

Satellite View

Glentress forest is in the heart of the Tweed Valley Forest Park and is a one of the most diverse forests in south Scotland…

Gala Policies

Webpage

Satellite View

The park enjoys open access for locals and visitors. Once part of the grounds of the estate of the Laird of Gala the surviving woodlands create a beautiful quiet space next to the bustle of the town.

NNR St Abb's Head

Webpage

Satellite View

Formed by an extinct volcano, St Abb's Head is the best known landmark along the Berwickshire coast. Home to thousands of nesting seabirds in summer, it is also home to a wide range of other wildlife. A new remote camera facility allows visitors to the Nature Reserve Centre to eavesdrop on the nesting birds…

NTS Grey Mare's Tail Nature Reserve

Webpage

It is easy to see how Grey Mare’s Tail got its name as you gaze at the tall, thin line of white frothing water. The waterfall plunges 60m down into the Moffat Water Valley, a landscape created by glacial erosion over millions of years. Grey Mare’s Tail is a superb example of a hanging valley and is important for its rare upland plants and wildlife. The area boasts a rich human history as well, dating back to at least the Iron Age. It has strong links to the 17th-century Covenanters, who used Watch Knowe as a lookout point in the valley to keep an eye out for government troops.

SNH Cragbank Wood

Webpage

Satellite View

A rich variety of plants and butterflies thrive in Cragbank Wood, the largest area of ancient ash–elm–hazel woodland left in the Scottish Borders. It forms a narrow band that runs across the steep slopes of Wolfehopelee Hill. The reserve is protected as Cragbank and Wolfehopelee Site of Special Scientific Interest and as part of Borders Woods Special Area of Conservation.

SPA Westwater

Information

Satellite View

Westwater Reservoir is an artificial reservoir in the Pentland Hills, Scottish Borders, 3 km west of West Linton, and 26 km south west of Edinburgh. Due to its popularity with pink-footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus) it has been designated as a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar site.

SWT Bemersyde Moss

Webpage

Satellite View

This reserve near the River Tweed is a long, narrow strip of marsh, willow scrub and open water that is home to large numbers of wintering wildfowl, including teal, shoveler, goldeneye and wigeon.

SWT Duns Castle

Webpage

Satellite View

Situated to the north of Duns, this reserve has two man-made lochs – Hen Poo and Mill Dam – surrounded by mixed woodland. Water lilies and reedmace growing along the banks provide cover for wildfowl.

SWT Gordon Moss

Webpage

Satellite View

Gordon Moss is a birch woodland growing on an area of peatland. Orchids and other wild flowers flourish in these conditions. The Trust only looks after the eastern side of this site.

SWT Hare & Dunhog Mosses

Webpage

Satellite View

Located 2 miles south of Selkirk, Hare Moss has an area of open water that attracts wildfowl throughout the year. The birds can be viewed from a hide on the reserve.

SWT Hoselaw Loch and Din Moss

Webpage

Satellite View

Hoselaw Loch is a shallow, naturally nutrient-rich loch. Towards the south west end of the loch is Din Moss, one of the largest and most intact areas of raised bog in the Scottish Borders. The loch is used by overwintering wildfowl, particularly pink-footed geese.

SWT Whitlaw Wood

Webpage

Satellite View

Situated on steep slopes next to the Slitrig Water, Whitlaw Wood comprises native ash, elm and hazel woodland with a rich ground flora. There is also a small meadow that supports a variety of colourful wildflowers. A maintained path leads through the meadow.

SWT Yetholm Loch

Webpage

Satellite View

Yetholm Loch, on the edge of the Cheviots, is an important area for breeding and wintering wildfowl. At the southern end of the loch is a wetland habitat of willow carr, fen and swamp that attracts birds such as reed bunting, snipe and curlew. Nationally and locally rare plants grow in this area.

Trip Reports

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

CloudBirders

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.

2002 - The Great Seabird Break - The Farne Islands & S Scotland

Report

Ever since watching a Bill Oddie programme on the Farne Islands, I have had an ambition to have a trip to these islands during the main breeding season to witness first hand this amazing spectacle…

Places to Stay

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

Gunsgreen House

Accommodation

Self catering Accommodation located on the coast at Eyemouth, within 15 mins of St Abbs Head Nature Reserve and the Farne Islands…

Holiday Cottages at Castletoun

Accommodation

The Holiday Cottages at Castletoun are nestled at the foot of Greenlaw Moor, and close to Watchwater Reservoir, making it the perfect base for bird watching holidays. It is also within 30mins of the sea bird colonies at St Abbs Head…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Ron McCombe

Gallery

Ron welcomes you to his wildlife photography website. Based in Scotland in the Scottish Borders and travelling around the UK, Europe and the USA photographing what has become a passion for him, wild birds and animals. He can be regularly seen in the Farne Islands, the Bass Rock, The Cairngorms and The Shetland Islands as well as The Isle of Mull, The Trishnish Isles, Ardnamurchan and the Hebrides in search of the wild birds he loves to photograph…