Photo Essay: North Berwick, a haven for ornithologists

North Berwick is easily one of the best day trips from the capital city of Scotland.  This little seaside town is only popular among the locals, and is almost unknown to tourists.  It’s a haven for bird watchers and ornithologists. 

North Berwick is only an hour’s drive (approx 25 miles) from Edinburgh, and is situated on the south shore of the First of forth along the east coast of Scotland facing North Sea. 

The town’s unanimously largest attraction is the Scottish Seabird Centre which runs boat trips to Bass Rock, a volcanic rock located 5 miles offshore from the town.  The Bass Rock is the largest uninhabited colony for gannets primarily along side puffins, seagulls and even seals. 

Bass Rock

View of Bass Rock from the shore, that looks like a piece of iceberg isn’t it?

view from North Berwick

North Berwick beach, photo taken from the Seabird Centre

Rib Boat Ride

A RIB boat ride takes you to islands around the North Berwick that includes the famous Bass Rock, Fidra and May. 

view of north berwick
View of North Berwick town as we started our RIB boat ride towards Bass Rock

birds north berwick

Lovely ducks on the way

Bass rock 1

As we came closer to the Bass Rock, it appeared really gigantic

Gannet colony bass rock

And the rock was completely covered by Gannets


A closer look of Gannets that are enjoying the Scottish sunshine

gannets colony


Puffins Bass Rock

The rock is also home to lots of photogenic Puffins 

Lighthouse bassrock

The bass rock was once a site for an important castle, and after the Commonwealth, it was used as a Prison.

Seal lazing around

Look who else we saw? A cute white seal relaxing on the rock. We also spotted lots of grey seals on the water. 

Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle, one of the impressive ruins as seen from the boat 

north berwick beach

North Berwick also is home to gorgeous coastlines.  The beach is a beautiful place to spend the sunshine and take a dip. 

view of bassrock and beach

Walk in the sea!

There’s a little walking path on the beach and you can walk around them for fun. 

Tantallon Castle 1
A few minutes of drive or walk from the North Berwick town, takes you to these Tantallon castle which also has a private beach.  Not many of them are aware of this.  

Bassrock in oct

The Bass rock taken during October (post birding season), and can you see how empty they look without the gannet colony? The birding season begins from April until September. But during September and October you can spot a a lot of seals since its peak breeding season for them. 

North Berwick coast is a beautiful place to spend a weekend or just for a day’s picnic.  If you fancy, you can walk along the coast for miles, climb up the nearby mountain to get a birds eye view of the coast or simply sit in the beat and enjoy the view. 

Have you been on RIB Boat ride before? Do you enjoy bird watching while travelling? 

23 Responses

  1. This is gorgeous. I can't believe how many birds were on that rock!!

  2. Beautiful photos… Bird's in the rock forms a design


  3. I really need to go back and Explore Scotland again, went years ago with the family, but there is so much to see. These photos are brilliant, I love the closeups of the gannets and the seal, and the wider angled shots of the birds covering the rocks, great compositions.

  4. Brilliant photos! Looks like such a beautiful place… happy the birds have it to themselves! 🙂

  5. Great post! I love Edinburgh (have been twice) and can't wait to go back- would definitely do this day trip, it looks stunning PLUS has seals and puffins= big win in my books!

  6. Am I the only one to think of that Hitchcock classic – 'Birds'? I'm sure these ones were absolutely harmless, of course 😛

    • Hi Milosz, these are gannets and the ones we have seen in Birds movie are seagulls. Goes without saying there are also plenty of seagulls around there, but none harmfull. Only that when we go on the boat we should cover our heads with jacket to avoid the birds spoiling them with their poo 😉 ha ha

  7. Absolutely gorgeous – I love your photos of the animals and the birds! Wonderful!

  8. Such spectacular scenery and animals. That white seal is gorgeous.

  9. i never knew such places existed in scotland! (but then again i've never been) thanks for this eye opening post!

  10. Looks like a great place to just chill out as the birds have also discovered!

  11. Wow, that rock is completely covered in birds, there's so many of them! Love the cute little seal, he's adorable 🙂

  12. What a breathtaking place, great photos

  13. You got an awesome photo of puffins Anu. I tried capturing them from our boat in Alaska but got pretty bad shots since I did not have my telephoto lens with me. Lovely pictures.

  14. Lovely photos, guys! I love puffins! Thanks a lot for connecting with us on Google+! Have a great end of the weekend!

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