Highland branch

Slavonian Grebe © Keith Barnes

Slavonian Grebe © Keith Barnes

The Highland branch of the SOC covers a large geographical area of Scotland, with regular meetings and outings centred around Inverness.

Evening talks programme

Talks feature birdlife and other flora and fauna from almost anywhere in the world but, as we are fortunate to have a significant presence of wildlife and environmental organisations in the region, presentations on studies or projects involving birdlife in the Highland feature regularly. There is ample time at intervals to meet fellow members and discuss shared interests.


Culloden Library, Keppoch Road, Culloden, Inverness, IV2 7LL


The following Tuesdays at 7.30pm.

02 Dec 2014       ”Tales from the Taiga”, with Desmond Dugan (*NOTE – Change from advertised title*)

Desmond and his son Ronan spent three weeks living in a Pinega strict natural forest reserve, 200 km east of Archangel. They travelled into the reserve by snow-mobile before the spring breakup and lived in old foresters cabins. They assisted the reserve biologist in monitoring caper and black grouse leks and trapping hazel grouse for a telemetry project. Desmond will give an illustrated talk about this ultimate father and son adventure. 

Desmond is currently a site manager at RSPB’s Abernethy reserve in the Cairngorms and is no stranger to living and working in forests. Before joining RSPB in 1988. Desmond worked for many years as a forest Ranger with the Forestry Commission in Argyll.  Desmond has a passion for wildlife and wild places and is also a keen photographer.

13 Jan 2015         Al McNee – A birding trip to Central Thailand

03 Feb 2015        Mark Newell – Seabird studies on the Isle of May: Spreading our wings after 40 years

03 Mar 2015       John Calladine – Breeding waders of the Uist machair: Land use and predators, past, present and future

14 Apr 2015        AGM & Sinclair Dunnett – What’s in a name? Some thoughts on European bird names


Kathy Bonniface

01808 511740

Branch outings

There are two outdoor trips per month over the branch outing season – a full day outing on a Saturday or Sunday and a Thursday morning outing. On our outdoor trips, the aim is not just to see the largest number of birds, but to find and watch and enjoy. We think the pleasure comes from birdwatching with like-minded people, learning identification skills, enjoying the splendid sights and taking delighted in the unexpected find. If this whets your appetite and you feel you would enjoy these field trips, then you’d be most welcome to come along.

Meet at 9.00am (9.15am Thursdays) at Inverness Retail Park, near Burger King.  Weekend excursions are full day, Thursdays are usually mornings only.

Sun 7 Dec           Black Isle (David Galloway 01381 621126)

Thu 18 Dec        Local Birding (Lynda Graham)

Sat 17 Jan           Inverness East or West (Al McNee 01463 220493)

Thu 29 Jan         Local Birding (Lynda Graham)

Sun 8 Feb           Burghead area and Moray coast (Simon Cohen 01349 865531)

Thu 19 Feb        Local Birding (Lynda Graham)

Sat 7 Mar            Strathdearn & Strathnairn (Alex Joss 01463 221661)

Thu 19 Mar         Local Birding (Lynda Graham)


Kathy Bonniface, 01808 511740, or the leader.

Meet at:

9.00am (9.15am Thursdays) at Inverness Retail Park, near Burger King, unless otherwise stated.


About the branch

Branch committee


Kathy Bonniface , Alt Dubh, North End, Tomatin, IV13 7YP, Tel 01808 511740


Alex Joss


Lynda Graham

Committee members:

Simon Cohen, David Galloway, Alastair McNee, Graeme Prest, Pete Gordon

Committee member, representative of the branch on SOC Council and Editor of Highland Bird News:

David Bain

Highland recorder:

Pete Gordon

Outer Hebrides recorder:

Yvonne Benting and Ian Thompson


Useful information:

Birdwatching in the area

Click here for our guide to Birdwatching in Easter Ross

Click here for our guide to Birdwatching the Longman outflow and Inverness area

Click here for our guide to Birding in North-west Scotland

Planning a trip to the Outer Hebrides? Click here for a list of recommended sites to visit

Click here for our guide to Birdwatching in Sutherland

Bird recording in this area

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

Highland Bird News

The branch issues a quarterly newsletter, Highland Bird News, to members. Click on the links below to download current and back issues (PDF files).

Issue 123 – Aug 2014

Issue 122 – Mar 2014

Issue 121 – Aug 2013

Issue 120 – Apr 2013

Issue 119 – Jan 2013

Issue 118 – Aug 2012

Issue 117 – Mar 2012

Issue 116 – Aug 2011

Issue 115 – Mar 2011

Issue 114 – Dec 2009

Issue 113 – Oct 2009

Issue 112 – Apr 2009

Issue 111 – Dec 2008

Issue 110 – Sep 2008

Issue 109 – Feb 2008

Issue 108 – Nov 2007

Issue 107 – Sep 2007

Issue 106 – Apr 2007

Issue 105 – Feb 2007

Issue 104 – Dec 2006

Issue 103 – Oct 2006


Highland Bird Report Gazetteer

SOC Highland branch has produced a gazetteer, listing over 2000 site names referred to in the Highland Bird Report and their grid references. This can be downloaded from the Highland recording area page.

Young Birders CTA

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