Writing is an important part of my ‘outdoor’ life. Whether they are scientific papers, magazine articles or books, they all need desk time and publication. Much of my work is accompanied with my photographs and many more photographs have been used to illustrate editorial pieces, advertisements, books, calendars, postcards, posters, compact discs and websites. Some of these are listed below for reference, although the magazine articles may be difficult to source, and I have written numerous unpublished scientific reports, mainly on birds and plants in upland areas.

I also enjoy making occasional pieces for television and radio with the BBC. Films I have worked on are ‘Hightops of Scotland’ a film in the Natural World series featuring the wildlife of the Highlands, and ‘Pine Marten –Spirit of the Woods’.  Radio articles have been on such topics as ptarmigan, eagles, crossbills and the effect of feral mink on breeding birds.

Another medium for my work is lecturing, which might sound old-fashioned these days of social networks, but I like them as I gain immediate feedback from the audience; I can see and hear which photographs hit the mark and those that don't, I can sense whether the message has reached across or not, and if not ask why. Over the years I have presented talks on: my main studies on eagles, ptarmigan and tawny frogmouths; various other ornithological topics including effects of windfarms on birds; and some on my travelling exploits in wild places.

Scientific Papers

Summers, R., Etheridge, B., Christian, N. & Rae, S. 2017. Egg dumping by a Golden Plover in a Greenshank nest. Scottish Birds 37: 136-136.

Rae, S. 2017. Breeding success of Tawny Frogmouths in relation to rainfall.  Canberra Bird Notes 42: 140-145.

Rae, S. 2015. Strategic placement of Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus muta nests adjacent to boulders. Bird Study  62: 185-189. click here for pdf of this paper

Rae, S. & Rae, D. 2013. Orientation of tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) nests and their position on branches optimises thermoregulation and cryptic concealment. Australian Journal of Zoology  61: 469-474.

Rae, S. 2013. Probable protection nesting association between Australasian Figbird, Noisy Friarbird and Papuan Frogmouth. Australian Field Ornithology 30: 126-30.

Watson, A., Rae, S. & Payne, A.G. 2012. Mirrored sequences of colonisation and abandonment by pairs of Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos. Ornis Fennica 89: 229-232.

Rae, R., Nicoll, M., Summers, R., Rae, S. & Brockie, K. 2011. Breeding biology of Purple  Sandpipers Calidris maritima on the Hardangevidda, southern Norway. Ornis Svecica 21: 101-108.

Rae, S. 2010. Prey items of Merlins in the Lewis Peatlands. Scottish Birds 30: 7-13.

Rae, S. 2010. Density and productivity of ground-nesting Merlins on an island with no indigenous terrestrial predators. Scottish Birds 30: 2-6.

Rae. S. 2009. Comparisons between nesting densities of Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) in open and closed canopy woodlands.  Emu 109: 327-330.


Rae, S., Jones, G., Stewart, F. & Tingay, R. 2009. Counts of spring passage Golden Plover in north Lewis. Ringing and Migration 24: 253-258.

Holt, S., Whitfield, D.P., Duncan, K., Rae, S. and Smith, R. 2002. Mass loss in incubating Eurasian dotterel: adaptation or constraint? Journal of Avian Biology 33 (3): 219- 224.


Rae, S. 2000. The effect of predation by mink on ground-nesting birds in the Outer Hebrides. Outer Hebrides Bird Report 1999 : 105-113.

Watson, A., Moss, R, and Rae, S. 1998. Population dynamics of Scottish Rock Ptarmigan cycles. Ecology, 79(4): 1174-1192.

Watson, A. and Rae, S 1997. Preliminary results from a study of habitat selection and population size of corn buntings Miliaria calandra in north-east Scotland. In: The  ecology and conservation of corn buntings Miliaria calandra (ed. by P. Donald & N. Aebischer), 115-123. UK Nature Conservation Ser., Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough.

Thompson, D.B.A., Watson, A., Rae, S. & Boobyer, G. 1996. Recent changes in breeding bird populations in the Cairngorms. In: Environmental history of the CairngormsTrans. Bot. Soc. Scotland 48: 99-110.


Galbraith, H., Murray, S., Rae, S., Whitfield, D.P. and Thompson, D.B.A. 1993. Numbers and distribution of Dotterel Charadrius morinellus breeding in Great Britain. Bird Study 40: 161-169.                                                                                                              

Watson, J., Leitch, A. F. & Rae, S. R. 1993. The diet of Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos in Scotland. Ibis, 135: 387-393. 


Watson, J., Rae, S. R. & Stillman, R. 1992. Nesting density and breeding success of golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos in relation to food supply in Scotland. Journal of Animal Ecology, 61: 543-550.



Papers in preparation

Rae. S. & Moss, R. Diets of male and female rock ptarmigan Lagopus mutus differ with their breeding condition and moult.

Rae, S. Foraging behaviour of parrots – in relation to perception of approaching predators.

Rae, S. Advantages to an invasive species (common myna) over natives when foraging.

Watson, A. & Rae, S. - Abandonment of golden eagle nest sites and increasing human disturbance.

Short notes

Watson, A., Pottie, J., Rae, S. & Duncan, D. 1997. Melting of snow patches in the UK by late October 1996. Weather, 52:161.

Watson, A., Nethersole-Thompson, D., Duncan, K, Galbraith, H., Rae, S., Smith, R. & Thomas, C. 1988. Decline of shore waders at Loch Morlich. Scottish Birds 15: 91.

Rae, S. 1981. Predation by Great Skuas on other bird species. Grampian Ringing Group Report 3: 47-50.

Hardey, J., Rae, R. & Rae, S. 1978. Breeding success of Dippers in the Grampian Region. Grampian Ringing Group Report 1: 23-25.



Watson, A., Rae, S. & Walker, A.D. 1997. A provisional scientific assessment of the boundaries of proposed nature conservation sites at Cairn Gorm and Glen More. Worldwide Fund for Nature, Weybridge.  

Watson, A., Walker, A.D. & Rae, S. 1996. Environmental statement on proposed developments at Glencoe Ski Centre and environmental aspects of the 1996 management plan. Glenshee Chairlift Company, Braemar.

Watson, J., Langslow, D. R. & Rae, S. R. 1987. The Impact of Land-use Changes on Golden Eagles in the Scottish Highlands. CSD Report No.720: Nature Conservancy Council, Peterborough. 


Rae, S. 2012  Eagle Days. Langford Press, Peterburgh.

This is based on diary pieces written during my study of eagles over the years. Detailed facts on eagles are wrapped in illustrative text and photographs which describe how the birds fit in the Highland landscape.

Rae, S. and Watson, A. 1998. The CAIRNGORMS of Scotland. Eaglecrag, Aberdeen.

A photographic tribute to the beauty and wonders of the Cairngorms, from landscape to lichens. There is no one special element; it is the whole that is important. 


Chapters in books

Rae, S. 2007. Rock Ptarmigan. In Birds of Scotland, SOC, Edinburgh.

Watson, A and Rae, S. 1993. Ptarmigan. In: The new atlas of breeding birds in Britain and Ireland: 1988-91. (ed. by D.W. Gibbons, J.B. Reid & R.A. Chapman), pp.128-29. Poyser, London.

Rae, S. 1991. Ptarmigan studies in Scotland. In: Britain’s Birds in 1989/90: the  conservation and monitoring review. British Trust for ornithology/ Nature Conservancy Council, Thetford.

Whitfield, D.P., Duncan, K., Murray, S., Rae, S., Smith, R. &Thompson, DBA. 1991. Monitoring the dotterel population of Britain. In: Britain’s Birds in 1989-1990. In: The conservation and monitoring review(eds. D. Stroud & D. Glue) pp 109-111, NCC, Peterborough.


Books partly illustrated with my photographs

Birds in north-east Scotland then and now. 2012. Adam Watson and Ian Francis. Paragon Publishing, Rothersthorpe.

The Breeding Birds of North-East Scotland. 2011. (eds. Ian Francis & Martin Cook), SOC, Aberdeen.

Grouse. 2008. Watson, A. & Moss, R. HaperCollins Publishers, London.

Hostile Habitats. 2006. (eds. Kempe, E. & Wrightman, M.), Scottish Mountaineering trust.

North-West Highlands. 2004. (eds. Broadhead, Keith. A. & Maden, T.), Scottish Mountaineering Trust.


The Call of the Corbetts. 2001. Butterfield, I. David & Charles, Newton Abbot.

The Magic of the Munros, 1999. Butterfield, I. David & Charles, Newton Abbot.

Grassic Gibbon and his world. 1994. Peter Whitfield. Aberdeen Journals Ltd., Aberdeen.

The Cairngorms: Cairngorms, Lochnagar and the Mounth. 1992. Watson, A. Scottish Mountaineering Trust.


Magazine articles – my texts and photographs                                                  

Broad-billed Sandpiper - in the far north. Nature Territory, September, 2014.
Red-necked Phalaropes - in the far north. Nature territory, August, 2014.
Nature's perfect mosaics, Leopard, 395:14-17. May 2013.
Plant colonisers, Leopard, 394: 10-12. April, 2013.
Tawny Frogmouths, we all know them. Or do we? Nature Territory, December, 2012.
A life of watching eagles, Leopard, 387: 13-16. August 2012.
Remarkable double life of a Banff soutar, Leopard, 384: 27-29, April 2012.
Dotterel; migrants to our mountains, Leopard, 374: 21-23, April 2011.
Ptarmigan - our special bird, Leopard, 372:10-13, February 2011.
On the wild edge, Leopard, 366: 16-19, June/July 2010. 

Strategies for Survival, Leopard, 363: 25-29, March 2010.

Roamin’ in the Gloamin’: Tawny Frogmouths, Wingspan : Vol. 19, No. 2, June 2009.

Whirling Motions: Windfarms, Wingspan : Vol. 15, No. 1, March,    2005.

An Impressive Ridge, High : 250, Sept, 2003.

A Convivial Time on Conival, High : 236, July, 2002.

Good Morning Ben Nevis, High : 221, Apr, 2001.

Hit the bush, baby, Trail : September, 2000.

Rolling in Clova, High : 204, Nov, 1999.

Svalbard, Adventure Travel : July/August, 1999.

Arkle, High : 186, May, 1998.

Beinn Sgritheall, High : 185, Apr, 1998,

Easy Access, High : 183, Feb, 1998.

Cradle Mountain, High : 178, Sept, 1997.

Don’t get lost, Grampian Life : 6, Feb, 1997.

Ice Time, Grampian Life : 5, Jan, 1997.

Short, sharp days, Grampian Life : 4, Dec, 1996.

Low Light, Grampian Life : 3, Nov, 1996.

Weather Window, High : 168, Nov, 1996.

Autumn’s Riches, Grampian Life : 2, Oct, 1996.

Tree Spotting, Grampian Life : 1, Sept, 1996.

That far Corner, High : 165, Aug, 1996.

Big days on a big hill, High : 164, July, 1996.

Torridon, High : 161, April, 1996.
An Teallach, High : 158, Jan, 1996.

Skye, the Strathaird Peninsula, High : 151, June, 1995.

Assynt, High : 42, May, 1986.



Here are links to two brochures which I designed and partly illustrated with my photographs for the Canberra Ornithologists' Group in 2014: 

One was for the Gang-gang Cockatoo survey, click Gang-gang brochure to see a pdf copy.

The second was a mini-guide to birds of the Australian Capital Territory, click COG brochure to see a pdf copy.

CD publications partly illustrated with my photographs

The Corbetts and other Scottish hills. 2002. Scottish Mountaineering Trust.

The Munros, the Definitive CD – ROM, 2000, Scottish Mountaineering Trust.