Musselburgh Lagoons

East Lothian  >  United Kingdom

With a wide variety of habitats beneficial to birds Musselburgh Lagoons has a birdlist of an impressive 226 species.

Added* by David Kelly
Most recent update 14 August 2023


Musselburgh is an area of reclaimed mudflats which were landscaped with trees and scrapes. Grassland, woodlands, open ash lagoons, a boating pond and artificial wader scrapes. Good for terns, gulls, waders and grebes and one of the best places to see sea ducks, including as many as five species of Scoter.

Some of the birds you can see here: Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Surf Scoter.

Recent rarities include Terek Sandpiper Broad-billed Sandpiper White-winged Scoter King Eider Long-billed Dowitcher, Pacific Golden Plover and Stejneger's Scoter.



Park at Goose Green Road by the River Esk or by the boating pond or on the car park near the eastern entrance. The walking trail that is shown on the map is 4,5 km long.

Terrain and Habitat

Scattered trees and bushes , Wetland , Grassland , River , Sea , Mud flats



Circular trail


Is a telescope useful?


Good birding season

All year round

Best time to visit

Spring migration , Autumn migration


Paved road

Difficulty walking trail


Accessible by

Foot , Bicycle , Wheelchair

Birdwatching hide / platform


Extra info

Musselburgh Lagoons, at the mouth of the River Esk, were formed in 1964 by the South of Scotland Electricity Board. They constructed a large concrete sea wall encompassing four large lagoons which were used for the dumping of fly-ash from the nearby Cockenzie Power Station. As a result of this, large numbers of waders, gulls, terns and duck now use these lagoons as a high tide roost site, particularly the lagoon nearest to the river mouth. In June 2023 a new lagoon and 5 new hides were opened on the Lagoon nearest the river, the hides are accessible from a tarmac foot and cycle path.


View other birding spots in the area that are published on Birdingplaces


Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here

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