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:
03 Feb 2015 ”Seabird studies on the Isle of May: Spreading our wings after 40 years”, with Mark Newell, Seabird Ecologist, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)
Mark will be telling us about the seabirds and seabird work on the Isle of May (a National Nature Reserve which lies 5 miles off the Fife coast) over the last 40 years, alongside a more general background to the isle and its other wildlife. Mark will also provide an overview as to how CEH have expanded their work to take in other seabird colonies along the east coast.
Mark Newell has worked as a seabird ecologist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh since November 2004. His role is to undertake and manage the long-term seabird fieldwork that is carried out on the Isle of May. It involves ringing and studying a range of species throughout the breeding season with particular interest in their productivity, long-term survival and diet. Prior to starting at CEH he worked as a Wildlife Tour Guide specialising in trips to Scottish islands. He also has also carried out short term contracts on a wide range of ornithological projects for Scottish Natural Heritage, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Shetland and the University of Plymouth.
03 Mar 2015 ”Breeding waders of the Uist machair: Land use and predators, past, present and future”, with John Calladine, Senior Research Ecologist, BTO Scotland
The west coast habitats of the Uists hold concentrations of breeding waders that are exceptional in Scottish, British and wider European contexts. Observed declines in wader populations on South Uist and Benbecula since the 1980s were argued to be largely due to predation of clutches by introduced hedgehogs. This argument, supported by evidence from the effects of their experimental removal, led to an ongoing programme of hedgehog removal. Concern remained however that breeding populations of some waders did not show the signs of recovery that might be expected in response to hedgehog control. This talk will present some of the findings of recent work investigating associations of changes in breeding wader densities with land uses and new work on the full suite of predators affecting machair waders. Future implications for conservation will be discussed.
John Calladine has had a lifelong interest birds and natural history and has worked in ecological research and conservation for over 30 years. John is currently a Senior Research Ecologist with BTO Scotland, based at Stirling University, with particular interests in the impacts of land uses on bird populations and distribution.
14 Apr 2015 AGM & Sinclair Dunnett – What’s in a name? Some thoughts on European bird names
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.
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)
Date tbc Weekend (Friday – Monday) trip to the Solway
Thu 19 Mar Local Birding (Lynda Graham)
Sun 19 April Strath Glass and beyond (leader tbc)
Thurs 30 April Local Birding (Lynda Graham)
Sat 9 May *RESCHEDULED FROM 7 MARCH* Strathdearn and Strath Nairn (Alex Joss)
Kathy Bonniface, 01808 511740, or the leader.
9.00am (9.15am Thursdays) at Inverness Retail Park, near Burger King, unless otherwise stated.
About the branch
Kathy Bonniface , Alt Dubh, North End, Tomatin, IV13 7YP, Tel 01808 511740
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:
Outer Hebrides recorder:
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).
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.