Your charity for Scotland’s environment

Coastal Birds

Herring gulls, common terns, oystercatchers, gannets, puffins, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes and on muddy and sandy shores wading birds such as dunlins, sanderlings, redshanks, curlews and godwits can all be spotted.

Scotland holds internationally important numbers of 24 species of breeding seabirds that are an important indicator for assessing the state of the marine environment. Seabirds respond to a range of factors, such as changes in food availability, weather, predation and pollution. Their abundance (i.e. number of breeding birds) is determined by how many adults survive from the previous year and how many young birds successfully reach maturity. The productivity (i.e. number of chicks produced) can provide a good indication of food availability as well as levels of predation. Productivity typically changes more quickly than abundance.

More about seabirds and the National Marine Plan.

Wild Scotland has a wildlife watching calendar that shows the best time of year to spot your chosen wildlife.

When possible, time your beach trips to line up with low tide, when the receding waters reveal sea life for humans to explore and shore birds to dine upon. If you’re planning a beach trip to see some shore birds aim for mornings or evenings. Just as with other kinds of birding, low-tide birding is best in the mornings or evenings, as birds start or end their days.