Five best wildlife spots to explore around Edinburgh and the Lothians

A puffling rescued (and later released into the wild) by the Scottish Seabird Centre. Picture: Scottish Seabird Centre
A puffling rescued (and later released into the wild) by the Scottish Seabird Centre. Picture: Scottish Seabird Centre
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If you're wild about wildlife there's no need to drive miles in search of it, some extraordinary animals are lurking close to your doorstep

Scottish Seabird Centre

St Colm's Abbey on Inchcolm Island. Picture: Robert Webb, Geograph

St Colm's Abbey on Inchcolm Island. Picture: Robert Webb, Geograph

The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick is a fantastic place to spot birds and other wildlife in the Firth of Forth. They have interactive live cameras which capture amazing views of the wildlife on local islands. At the moment they are awaiting gannet chicks to be born and pufflings have already arrived on Fidra and Craigleith. They also run boat tours of the islands so you can see these fascinating wild birds in real life. Each summer there are around 500,000 seabirds across the Forth islands.

Corstorphine Hill
This wild wooded hill in West Edinburgh is a nature reserve and home to the great spotted woodpecker, redwings, red admiral butterflies and even roe deer. The old walled garden has been restored and the tower is a memorial to Sir Walter Scott. The hill is home to its own colony of badgers. Deer have also been seen around Barton.

Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park is home to many butterflies, including the northern brown argus butterfly, which was rediscovered in 2005. Toads migrate each spring from Arthur's Seat to Dunaspie Loch. Duddingstone Loch is a thriving wildlife spot with wildfowl and otters. If you're more of a night owl, you might see some Pipestrelle bats around St Margaret's Lock in Holyrood Park. They also lurk around the Hermitage and Blackford Pond.

Inchcolm Island
This little island is known for its wildlife and it's just a short ferry ride from Hawes Pier in South Queensferry. The abundance of wildlife on Inchcolm is something to behold, from the nosey grey seals to puffins. The RSPB run a birdwatching tour with commentary by RSPB staff past all the islands, Inchcolm, Inchkeith and Inchmickery. You can see guillemots, razorbills, cormorants and eider ducks.

Johnston Terrace Wildlife Reserve
This is the Scottish Wildlife Trust's smallest nature reserve. It has a fantastic wildflower meadow and beautiful views from this tiny wildlife haven in the heart of the old town. There are frogs, bees, butterflies, as well as birds such as grey herons, chaffinch and greenfinch. The gate is kept locked due to vandalism but you can contact the Scottish Wildlife Trust to get the key.