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 Apr 2017
AGM & Members’ Night including a talk by Dr. Nina O’Hanlon on ‘Working with/tracking Herring Gulls in SW Scotland’

At the national level Herring gulls are in decline however, across southwest Scotland and Northern Ireland, some colonies are faring better than others.  To try and figure out why, Nina visited multiple colonies to find out what the Herring gulls were eating and where they were foraging (through tracking individuals and pulling apart numerous pellets!).

Nina has been interested in birds and natural history in general since she was very small.  She is a birder and ringer, and has been a member of SOC since moving to Scotland in 2012. Before completing her PhD at the University of Glasgow on Herring Gulls, she spent several years working in conservation and ecology and is now at the Environmental Research Institute (University of the Highlands and Islands) investigating seabird interactions with marine plastic. 


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.

revised-birds-of-caithness-thumbnailREVISED EDITION- THE BOOK!

Birds of Caithness including the Breeding & Wintering Atlas 2007 – 2012

The ‘Birds of Caithness’ DVD was published in December 2015 by Caithness SOC.  It is the distillation of over 200 years of observations documenting the fascinating birdlife of the county.  The 458 page document is formatted to allow for viewing either as double-page spreads on the web or as high-resolution pdfs. To find out more about the publication, click here.

Caithness SOC are delighted to announce the publication of a revised edition of The ‘Birds of Caithness’, in book form! This hard-backed book is a 458pp and A4 in size, with dust jacket.

The atlas’ new format includes amended maps and revised texts and will be available by the end of January 2017. The provisional price of the book is £55 plus p&p. Payment is required by early January 2017.

Please order your copy before 23 December 2016, by emailing

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!

Facebook: or type “Caithness Birds” in the Facebook search bar.
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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