Musselburgh, East Lothian


This is one of my most southerly locations for velvet scoter. It’s also good for common scoters and reliable for little gull. All three were in evidence last week, and a common sandpiper gave me a nice bonus as my 96th species for the site. It’s one of my top spots. I got an even bigger surprise with the sandpiper being new for Lothian – number 150 there. Just to round off the stats, the year list now stands at 184.

At the end of my Edinburgh residence I used to catch the 26 bus to get to Musselburgh – about once a month, although I also once walked there from Joppa. The city’s bus system is so good that I rate it equal to a train service.

This is probably why I never did go by rail but it is quite possible. You just don’t get off at Musselburgh station, no siree, Bob. One stop beyond, Wallyford, puts you about half a mile from the racecourse, which is where the birding can begin. Another half mile gets you to the hides overlooking the wader scrapes.

Actually the hides are a bit industrial – no cover and constructed of concrete and bricks. This is probably a sensible precaution against the less savoury of Musselburgh’s residents. Perhaps RSPB Sandwell Valley should take note!

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