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:

01 Dec 2015 - “Update on Golden Eagle Survey” with Stuart Benn followed by Peter Gordon – “A short presentation on submitting records”

In 2015, paid fieldworkers and members of the Scottish Raptor Study Groups undertook the considerable challenge of visiting every known golden eagle territory to get an accurate figure of how many there are and how that compares with previous surveys.  Stuart will talk about how this was achieved despite the distances involved and the poor weather, and give an early indication of the results and possible reasons behind the change. 

Born in Glasgow but happiest on the hills, Stuart has worked for the RSPB for 27 years and has been based in Inverness since 1991.  He spends as much of his spare time as he can get away with surveying golden eagles and coordinates their monitoring for the Highland Raptor Study Group“.

“A short presentation on submitting records” with Peter Gordon

There were 684 contributors to the most recent Highland Bird Report. Are you one of them? Find out from Pete Gordon, the Local Recorder, how your sightings can contribute to the permanent ornithological record, how claims of rare species are assessed and how you can give him more time to go birding himself.

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.

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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