Finding wildlife in Edinburgh & The Lothians

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Year of Natural Scotland 2013
Year of Natural Scotland 2013

Celebrate Scotland's natural beauty throughout 2013

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  • A butterfly settles on a white flower at Edinburgh Butterfly Farm and Insect World, Midlothian
    Edinburgh Butterfly Farm and Insect World, Midlothian
  • a large white seabird in flight
    A gannet in flight
  • Giant Panda Tian Tian resting in a wooded enclosure prior to her arrival at Edinburgh Zoo
    Tian Tian the panda © David Fu, photographer

As a bustling region that's home to Scotland's capital, there is a surprising amount of green space and wildlife across Edinburgh & The Lothians, both within and beyond the boundaries of the city.

In Edinburgh itself, the picturesque Water of Leith runs through very close to the centre. Both the Water of Leith, and Duddingston Loch, in the shadow of the dormant volcano of Arthur's Seat, are home to a range of birds and mammals including great spotted woodpeckers, sparrow hawks, grey herons and even otters. 

In the west of Edinburgh, Corstorphine Hill is a natural habitat for deer, foxes, squirrels and even badgers, which you can see on special guided tours. Holyrood Park offers a dramatic getaway from the city that is home to wildlife such as ravens, buzzards, sparrowhawks and the small but predatory stoats.

The region boasts a number of excellent parks including Beescraig, Vogrie and John Muir Country Parks which are teeming with all manner of wildlife, while there are also several zoos and other captive wildlife attractions that are ideal for a family day out.

East Lothian in particular is a mecca for birdwatchers, particularly those roosting on the islands out in the Firth of Forth which you can get up close to on a wildlife cruise or watch via a live video feed at the excellent Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick.