Caithness Field Club

Nature Notes

The year 1973 will be remembered by the naturalist because of its interesting records.

A badgers' sett was found in the Parish of Reay during April. These animals had been previously recorded in the Southern part of the County only.

A small colony of butterflies, which had not been previously recorded for Caithness were found along the Berriedale Water by Mr. James Gunn. They were the small Pearl bordered Fritillary. The Small Heath was observed at the same time. This species is not often seen in the County.

A number of migrant birds passed through Caithness. The Blackcap was heard singing in Achvarasdal wood during late May and early June but breeding was not proved. A male Goldfinch was also heard singing on June 29th in Reay village. On the 2nd and 3rd July a Male Lessor Whitethroat was seen in Thurso. This is a new County record. A Great Northern Diver was regularly observed during July and August at the mouth of the Thurso river. This bird has occasionally bred in Scotland and numbers of non-breeders may be seen in the North of Scotland during the summer. A Pratincole was observed at the loch of Mey in early August by Mr. S. Laybourne. It breeds in the Mediterranean and is a rare migrant to Northern Europe.

Small numbers of Little Stints have boon soon at Reay, Thurso, and Dunnet recently. This is one of the smallest waders. A Roller was soon near Reay village on 26th August. This beautiful bird with an azure blue head and breast, and chestnut back, has boon recorded from Caithness previously. It is a vagrant to Britain breeding in Southern and Eastern Europe.

Published October 1973