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:

07 Oct 2015 – ‘Shotguns & Short-toed Eagles: Birding on the island of Malta’, with Ian Thomson

Malta could be one of the Mediterranean’s best birding locations, but for many years has been notorious for the slaughter of thousands of migrating protected birds, both in spring and autumn. This talk looks at the island’s potential for birders, discusses the politics and the scale of the problem of illegal hunting and trapping and tries to predict what the future may hold. Originally from Aberdeen, Ian did an ecology degree at Edinburgh University before working in a variety of roles including as a barman, deer stalker & fish farmer to pay off his student overdraft. He then worked as a research officer, a countryside ranger and an RSPB information assistant before becoming warden at Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve, a post he held for almost 15 years. He left to work for RSPB as an Investigations Officer in 2006, and has been head of the Investigations team in Scotland since 2012.

04 Nov 2015 –  Edmund Fellowes – Wildlife at a weir: A look at birds and other wildlife on the River Nith in Dumfries
02 Dec 2015 – Members’ Night
03 Feb 2016 –  Ron Summers – The migrations and status of the Purple Sandpiper in Britain and Ireland
02 Mar 2016 –  Ray Murray – Twenty years on: The SE Scotland Atlas
06 Apr 2016 –  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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