John Muir's Birthplace | Nature Diary


25th March 2012


A visitor noted the 2 yellowhammer in John Muir Country Park

Toad and Frog Spawn

 25th March 2012

Toad and frog spawn and also newts swimming actively in pond at John Muir Country Park. Toads lay spawn(eggs)in 'strings'.  Frogs lay spawn in 'clumps'.

Peacock Butterflies

13th March 2012



Peacock butterflies on the wing along hedgerows in Spott. Just out of hibernation.

Common Frog

13th March 2012


 Masses of spawn in garden pond in Dunbar


Paddleworm egg cases


Lots of bright green paddleworm egg cases were found along the low tide line at East Beach in Dunbar.   


House martins

16th April 2011


House martins seen inspecting and repairing nests under house apex


 16th April 2011


Newts seen in a pond at John Muir Country Park. We are currently trying to find out if they are palmate or smooth!

Frog spawn

1st March 2011

Masses of frog spawn spotted in a garden pond in Dunbar.  Seen in a pond at John Muir Country Park on 18th March. 

Sparrow fledglings

21st February 2011

First fledglings of the year? Sparrows with chick fluff seen on buddlia by coach park at pool.

Grey Phalarope

 23rd November 2010

Birdwatchers spotted a grey phalarope at East Beach, Dunbar.  This wader breeds in the Arctic and spends most of the winter far out at sea and is an uncommon visitor to our beaches.  In winter the grey phalaropes eats marine plankton picked from the sea's surface.




Common Earth-star

 8th September 2010


A visitor noted the remarkable Common Earthstar in John Muir Country Park. This is one of our widespread but more interesting fungi.  Initially the fruiting body resembles an onion.  The outer layer splits into 4 -7 segments which peel back and spores are released through the central pore.  October is an excellent time for fungi hunting! 

Yellow Horned Poppy

 September 2010

Yellow Horned Poppy was spotted on the shingle beach close to the limekiln at Skateraw.

Little Egret

 July/Aug 2010

A Little Egret has been spotted around the Tyne and Biel estuaries.  Formerly a rarity in Scotland this beautiful bird is being seen more regularly around wetland areas.

Sand Lizard

Saturday 3rd July 2010

A lizard was spotted climbing out of a hole on East Beach Dunbar! It was photographed at the Friends of John Muir's Birthplace Annual Sand Sculpture Competition!  Other creatures included a turtle, an octopus, a duck and a lobster.


Herring Gulls

Thursday 1st July 2010

 Image courtesy of Liz Curtis


Tug-of-war! An adult Herring Gull was photographed fighting over a flatfish with a juvenile gull at Victoria Harbour, Dunbar.  The adult gull won!



Wednesday 30th June 2010

 Image courtesy of Liz Curtis

East Lothian Countryside Ranger Service have counted over 1,000 Kittiwakes nesting on the old castle walls and surrounds at the Victoria Harbour, Dunbar. We are very fortunate to be able to observe Kittiwakes and their chicks here at close hand as usually they nest on precipitous cliff edges and stacks out at sea.



Wednesday 30th June 2010



Sightings of buzzards in flight or perching on fenceposts in the local Dunbar area.  Often seen when driving along the A1.


Northern Marsh Orchid

Wednesday 16th June 2010


A colony of Northern Marsh Orchid (tbc) was spotted alongside the Skateraw/Torness footpath, Dunbar.


Grey Heron


Wednesday 12th May 2010


Grey herons were spotted nesting on a Scots Pine tree near Dunbar



Wednesday 12th May 2010


An otter was spotted on the coast east of Dunbar


Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Wednesday 5th May 2010


First new crop of small tortoiseshell seen at Castle Park, Dunbar


Wood Anemone

Tuesday 27th April 2010


Beautiful show of Wood Anemone on hillslopes by the path to Edin's Hall Broch near Abbey St Bathans. Also Wood Sorrel and some Primroses.


Meadow Saxifrage

Monday 26th April 2010

Several plants growing along the Clifftop Trail, Dunbar.



Sunday 25th April 2010

Image courtesy of Hugh Panton


Saw clumps of Coltsfoot pushing their way up through the hard mud crust of recently disturbed ground.  The flowers appear first then the leaves (shaped like a colts foot).


Biel Estuary, Belhaven

Tuesday 20th April 2010


15 mute swans with juveniles, 2 pairs of courting eider duck, a small flock of oystercatchers and a heron were gathered around the mouth of the burn.



Tuesday 20th April 2010

Eight swallows were seen swooping along the cliffs at Dunbar.  The brave wee things have made their way back from Africa - despite ash clouds!



Swans and geese

Saturday 10th April 2010

12 Mute swans and 3 Greylag geese were seen on Seafield Pond, Belhaven, Dunbar



Saturday 3rd April 2010

A section of whalebone was found on the beach following recent bad storm and landslide.



Friday 2nd April 2010

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Woodpeckers were heard drumming in Lochend woods


Peacock Butterfly

Friday 2nd April 2010


A Peacock butterfly was seen flitting amongst meadow grasses on a sunny slope by the Clifftop Trail in Dunbar.  This one will have newly emerged from hibernation.  Peacock butterflies are on the wing in spring and lay eggs in late spring. The caterpillars feed mainly on nettles and change into butterflies during the summer.  These summer butterflies will hibernate over winter and emerge again the following spring...



Sunday 28th March 2010

Our garden pond is hoaching with frogs and spawn! We counted over fifty frogs this morning - croaking and splashing and clambering over each other.  They have spawned at least a week later this year than last.  This winter we have had thick ice covering the pond for weeks at a time.  Hopefully the weather has turned a bit milder now and the spawn will survive.



Wednesday 24th March 2010

  Image courtesy of Steve Jones

The Gannets are back!  We saw them flying low across the sea from our office window in Dunbar today.  You can watch them from Belhaven Bay, the Clifftop Trail, East Beach ... and along most of the John Muir Way!  For a closer look at the gannets you can go to and watch them on the Bass Rock via the webcam!


Seal pup

Saturday 13th March 2010

A visitor walking the John Muir Way near Dunbar reported a lone baby seal lying on the rocks. Normally the advice is to leave pups alone as their mothers are likely to be fishing off shore, but will return to feed and look after their pups. However, the visitor felt that the pup may have been injured. This pup was born late in the season as normally seals are weaned and away by Jan/Feb.

The SPCA were contacted for advice and they decided to check it out, but due to limited resources could not arrive before nightfall. Local wildlife enthusiast, Sam, 16, agreed to monitor the pup with daily visits and was pleased to find no major injuries, and also to see milk around the pup's mouth.  The mother was not far away. By the third day the pup had left.

Many thanks to Sam! And good luck to little Sammy!


Fox Cub

Wednesday 17th Feb 2010







In the evening we sometimes see the occasional fox cub 'sauntering' along the back gardens at Belhaven on his way to John Muir Country Park. This morning though, when I was out walking the dog as usual, I suddenly realised there was a cub sitting just a few yards in front of me on Winterfield Golf Course! The cub and our dog looked at each other and both seemed unconcerned, before the cub padded off across the course!

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