Caithness branch

Lapwing © David Devenport

Lapwing © David Devonport


Evening talks programme


Castlehill Heritage Centre, Harbour Road, Castletown, Caithness, KW14 8TG (click here for a map of the venue and surrounding area).



On the following Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm:

05 Oct 2016         
Peter Slater – The how and why of bird song

Peter shall outline what scientific research has told us about bird song. Why do birds use sound and how is it produced? What is song and why do birds sing? What do birds sing and how do they obtain their songs in the first place?

Peter Slater has been a member of the SOC for over 60 years, and was an assistant editor of Scottish Birds for two spells. He trained in Zoology at Edinburgh University and was a Lecturer in Biology at Sussex for 16 years before moving to St Andrews as Kennedy Professor of Natural History. He retired from that post in 2008 and has since moved to Orkney. Much of his more recent research has been on bird and mammal sound communication and he is author (with Clive Catchpole) of Bird Song, which has become the standard reference book on this subject.

02 Nov 2016        
Peter Mawby – Dippers

07 Dec 2016       
Members’ Night

08 Feb 2017        
Marianna Chimienti – How do I catch my fish? Multiscale foraging strategies in seabirds

08 Mar 2017       
Bob Swann – Red-breasted Geese in Bulgaria

05 Apr 2017
AGM & Members’ Night

Angus McBay

01847 894663


Branch outings

No outings currently planned. Any updates will be available on the SOC website.


Angus McBay

01847 894663


About the branch

Branch committee


Angus McBay  Schoolhouse, Weydale, Thurso, KY14 8YJ, Tel 01847 894663


Julian Smith


Heather Byrne

Caithness recorder:

Sinclair Manson


Useful information:

Bird recording in Caithness

Visit the Caithness recording area page for details of the latest bird report, back issues, species considered locally and for Local Recorder contact information.

Caithness Birds website

What to know more about birds in Caithness? Visit , your one stop shop for finding out more about birds and birdwatching in Caithness as well as branch news and activities.

Find the branch on Facebook and Twitter!

Twitter: @CaithnessBirds

Recent sightings

Recent Caithness sightings can be also be found at:

Thurso Aviary

Over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of injured birds brought into Highland Council’s Ranger Service and the local veterinary surgery in Thurso. At present there is no facility on mainland Scotland (north) where birds can be held until fit enough for their release or for transporting to a sanctuary that can provide longer term care. To overcome this problem the Caithness Branch of the SOC have successfully raised money and have built the aviary. We would like to thank the following for helping us to make it happen.

Aviary – breakdown of funding:
Lottery £1656
Rotary £100
CWS £450
Sponsored hill walk £103
Norfrost and Merrimas £59
Sponsored birdwatch £40
Surgery collecting box £29
Sinclair’s books £10
Donations to R.S. and interest £65

Mary Legg


Loch of Mey hide

The hide is open all year for public use (apart from 31st December). It provides excellent views of wildfowl and waders, and is suitable for wheelchair access. It is situated on the north Caithness coast, west of the village of Mey. The signposted track starts opposite the road leading to Harrow harbour near the village of Scarfskerry. Parking is available at the old ruin.

The hide and footpath were funded by: Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, Leader, Scottish Natural Heritage, BT Countryside for All, Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, East Sutherland Bird Club, RSPB, Northern Studies, Highland Council and The Castle Arms Hotel.

Young Birders CTA

Download the young Birder Application form - Word Doc
Download the training course application form - PDF
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