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 (click here for a map of the venue and surrounding area).


The following Tuesdays at 7.30pm:

06 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. Ian has been a birder for 35 years, is a keen, but average bird photographer, and a big fan of Aberdeen FC. 

03 Nov 2015 – Edmund Fellowes – Wildlife at a weir: A look at birds and other wildlife on the River Nith in Dumfries
01 Dec 2015 – Stuart Benn – Update on Golden Eagle Survey; Peter Gordon – A short presentation on submitting records
12 Jan 2016 –  Andy Howard – Give me a ‘High Five’: A detailed look at five specialist species found in the Cairngorms
02 Feb 2016 –  Ron Summers – The migrations and status of the Purple Sandpiper in Britain and Ireland
01 Mar 2016 –  Ray Murray – Twenty years on: The SE Scotland Atlas
12 Apr 2016 –  AGM & Martin Benson: Broadford Bay / Skye birds


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:

Meet at 9.00am (9.15am Thursdays) at Inverness Retail Park, near Burger King.  Weekend excursions are full day, Thursdays are usually mornings only. Please contact the trip leader for other meeting place options.

Sun 11 October 2015
Tarbat Ness (David Bain, 01463 772539)

Thurs 22 October 2015
Local birding

Sat 7 November 2015
Speyside (Peter Gordon, 01479 821 339)

Thurs 19 November 2015
Local birding

Sun 6 December 2015
Local to Inverness (Graeme Prest, 07747762916)

Thurs 17 December 2015
Local birding

Sat 16 January 2016
Black Isle and surrounding area (Dave Galloway, 01381 621126)

Thurs 28 January 2016
Local birding

Sun 7 February 2016
Conon and Cromarty Firth (Simon Cohen, 01349 865531)

Thurs 18 February 2016
Local birding

Sat 5 March 2016
East into Moray (Al McNee, 01463 220493)

Thurs 17 March 2016
Local biding

Sun 17 April 2016
Shieldaig and Kishorn (Alex Joss, 01463 221661)

Thurs 28 April 2016
Local briding

May 2016
Durness area for a two-night trip (date tbc, contact Kathy Bonniface for details)


Kathy Bonniface, 01808 511740, or the leader.


About the branch

Branch committee


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


David Bain


Lynda Graham

Committee members:

David Galloway, Alastair McNee, Carol Miller, Pete Gordon, Alex Joss

Representative of the branch on SOC Council and Editor of Highland Bird News:

David Bain

Highland recorder:

Pete Gordon

Outer Hebrides recorder:

Ian Ricketts


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 125 – Aug 2015

Issue 124 – Jan 2015

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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