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 Nov 2016        
Peter Mawby – Dippers

The Dipper is a familiar bird of fast-flowing rivers and streams but it is in decline across its range.  What are the reasons for this decline and can it be reversed? Peter presents the latest results from his 50-year study of the Dipper in the Yorkshire Dales.

Peter’s interest in ornithology was encouraged during his school days and he has been licensed to ring birds for over 50 years.  Whilst still at school he was part of one of the first expeditions to visit SE Iceland to study the breeding distribution of the Great Skua.  Subsequently he organised and led his own expeditions to the Shetland and Faroe Islands and was awarded a grant whilst an undergraduate at Cambridge University to extend his studies to Arctic Scandinavia.  He is currently researching the environmental impact of changing patterns of agriculture on riparian birds of the Wester Dales.

06 Dec 2016      
Hugh Insley & Jon Clarke – Stinky Priest Swallows Woosh: A ringer‘s year

10 Jan 2017         
Al McNee – Tigers, Taj and more: A birding trip to Rajasthan

07 Feb 2017        
Marianna Chimienti – How do I catch my fish? Multiscale foraging strategies in seabirds

07 Mar 2017       
Bob Swann – Red-breasted Geese in Bulgaria

11 Apr 2017
AGM & Brian Etheridge – An update on Hen Harriers


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 5 Nov 2016
The Spey area (Alex Joss 01463 221661)

Thu 17 Nov 2016
Local birding

Sun 11 Dec 2016
Round Inverness (Al McNee 01463 220493)

Thu 22 Dec 2016
Local birding

Sat 14 Jan 2017
Black Isle area (Dave Galloway 01381 621126)

Thu 26 Jan 2017
Local birding

Sun 12 Feb 2017
Strathconon and approaches (Carol Miller 07901 228737)

Thu 23 Feb 2017
Local birding

Sat 11 Mar 2017
Burghead area (Peter Gordon 01479 821339)

Thu 23 Mar 2017
Local birding

Sun 23 Apr 2017
Moray-Highland border, joint with SOC Moray branch

Thu 27 Apr 2017
Local birding

26-29 May 2017
Possible long weekend to the Uists


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 and Peter Stronach

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:

Highland Branch website – launched April 2016!

We’re pleased to announce details of the SOC Highland Branch website!
The website address is http://www.highlandbirds.scot/
The Latest Sightings page shows what has been seen recently in the area and will be regularly updated. The Gallery has pictures of past rarities. Take a look now and enjoy!Highland Birds website - resized for page

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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