SUTHERLAND (Thurso), (w)

National Grid

00o00´/00o00´ N/A ha 0-60m, mainly meadows and rocky coastal cliffs

April to June for breeding seabirds then August & September especially for passage seabirds, but anytime can be productive (27.07.2008)


Birding Site Guide

This headland points north from the centre of the north shore of Scotland about 7km (4 miles). From Thurso head west about 20 miles on A836 to about 4 or 5 miles past the turnoff for the A897 (Forsinard and Helmsdale) continue past the turnings for Strathy beach and then turn north when a sign saying Strathy Point is seen. Drive down the road as far as you can to the small car park and park, there are no facilities. Walk from here for 15 minutes to the lighthouse and bird from in front of it. 

There is a Bed & Breakfast place and the Strathy Inn immediately before the turnoff to Strathy point and there is camping and more B&B and hotels at Melvich. There is a shop and petrol station at Melvich and supermarkets (3) at Thurso. 

Our visit was a little too early for large seabird movements, but later in August passage here could be spectacular with thousands of shearwaters, terns, auks, divers and skuas and other seabirds on the move. 

Birds seen here and up to Melvich.

  • Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata
  • Arctic Loon Gavia arctica
  • Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
  • Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus Near-threatened
  • Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus
  • Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
  • Greylag Goose Anser anser
  • Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  • Common Eider Somateria mollissima
  • Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo
  • Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
  • Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
  • Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
  • Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
  • Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
  • Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
  • Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
  • Common Redshank Tringa totanus
  • Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
  • European Herring Gull Larus argentatus
  • Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
  • Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
  • Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
  • Great Skua Stercorarius skua
  • Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
  • Common Guillemot Uria aalge
  • Razorbill Alca torda
  • Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle
  • Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica
  • Rock Pigeon Columba livia
  • Common Wood-Pigeon Columba palumbus
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
  • Common Swift Apus apus
  • Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis
  • Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
  • House Martin Delichon urbicum
  • Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
  • Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus
  • White Wagtail Motacilla alba
  • Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
  • Dunnock Prunella modularis
  • Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula
  • Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
  • Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
  • Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
  • European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
  • Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
  • Hooded Crow Corvus cornix
  • Common Raven Corvus corax
  • European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  • House Sparrow Passer domesticus
  • Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
  • European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
  • Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea
  • Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus
  • Twite Carduelis flavirostris
  • Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina
  • Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

Mammals seen.

White-beaked Dolphin Lagenorhynchus albirostris (3), Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena and Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus. 


At Strathy included Scottish Primrose Primula scotica, the best time for which is late May and June, Moss Campion Silene acaulis, Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi and Lesser Spearwort Ranunculus flammula.

Author: BSG