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TITLE
Snow Buntings in the Highlands
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_DESTHOMSON_01
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Desmond Nethersole-Thompson
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1895
KEYWORDS
ornithology
bird watching
audio

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Desmond Nethersole-Thompson first came to the Highlands in 1932 to study birds. Following almost twenty years of study, mainly in the Spey Valley, he published his first account of the greenshank species. From 1964, he and his family lived each spring in a remote valley in Sutherland where they followed a population of greenshanks through many consecutive years. In this audio extract from 1980, Desmond describes the snow bunting.

And in summer we went to the high tops; the Grampians and the Cairngorms, and the greatest challenge of all is the snow bunting. There's seldom more than, perhaps, a dozen pairs. These lovely birds, nesting throughout Scotland. And the cock is a beautiful bird; ebony black, contrast of ebony black and white, and the hen is brown, rather like a house sparrow. And they nest in the very roughest corries in our hills, among the scree. And you know what the weather's like on the high tops of Scotland; very often mist and furious storm. You've got to track them. And then, while you're doing that, you sometimes see the cock snow bunting's song flight; rises from a rock, flutters up, up, almost like a skylark, and then dives down and while it's doing this it gives a song of several phrases of pure flute-like whistles. A most beautiful and exciting song. And when it settles on a rock, the cock snow bunting, little bird, as I say, little bigger than a sparrow, but it seems to pulsate and throb with power. And that was one of the birds that we were so keen to understand in those early years. In 1966, I remember, we camped sixty-six days and nights, always above three thousand feet, and we hadn't even got a ground sheet; we were badly equipped in those days

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Snow Buntings in the Highlands

1980s; 1990s

ornithology; bird watching; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Bird Watching

Desmond Nethersole-Thompson first came to the Highlands in 1932 to study birds. Following almost twenty years of study, mainly in the Spey Valley, he published his first account of the greenshank species. From 1964, he and his family lived each spring in a remote valley in Sutherland where they followed a population of greenshanks through many consecutive years. In this audio extract from 1980, Desmond describes the snow bunting.<br /> <br /> And in summer we went to the high tops; the Grampians and the Cairngorms, and the greatest challenge of all is the snow bunting. There's seldom more than, perhaps, a dozen pairs. These lovely birds, nesting throughout Scotland. And the cock is a beautiful bird; ebony black, contrast of ebony black and white, and the hen is brown, rather like a house sparrow. And they nest in the very roughest corries in our hills, among the scree. And you know what the weather's like on the high tops of Scotland; very often mist and furious storm. You've got to track them. And then, while you're doing that, you sometimes see the cock snow bunting's song flight; rises from a rock, flutters up, up, almost like a skylark, and then dives down and while it's doing this it gives a song of several phrases of pure flute-like whistles. A most beautiful and exciting song. And when it settles on a rock, the cock snow bunting, little bird, as I say, little bigger than a sparrow, but it seems to pulsate and throb with power. And that was one of the birds that we were so keen to understand in those early years. In 1966, I remember, we camped sixty-six days and nights, always above three thousand feet, and we hadn't even got a ground sheet; we were badly equipped in those days