Summer is often a quiet time for birds, but the returning winter birds as well as passage waders may begin to appear in late July. By the autumn, up to 10,000 waders may be present, with Lapwing and Golden Plover the most numerous. Several hundred Widgeon feed in the bay, while one or two Short-eared Owls may be hunting over the marsh.
Aberlady Bay has a reputation for attracting rare birds, like Ospreys in the spring and a female King Eider which has been attracted to the bay for the past seven summers. Other rare birds that have made flying visits over the years are the Caspian Plower and the Western Sandpiper (a small American wader).