Cambridgeshire Bird Club

Welcome to the club

The Cambridgeshire Bird Club promotes the study, recording and conservation of birds in Cambridgeshire and encourages a wider interest in natural history and the protection of county wildlife habitats.

We record the County's birds in our Annual Report, so we need your records. We have a stunning Gallery, so we want your photos. We have field projects, we have indoor meetings and trips, and we keep you informed with our monthly emailed and bulletins. We have links to active bird ringing groups. And have a look at our Facebook and our Twitter sites.

You can see What's About? and we urge you to report interesting, sensitive or confidential sightings to the County Recorder.

We hope you enjoy your visit and come back soon.


  • Next Club meeting - Friday 8th October 2021, 7.30 pm, entry from 7.20 pm, using the Zoom video platform ‘Conservation on a crowded planet: can we have our cake and eat it?’ by Tom Finch

  • The Cambridgeshire Summer Garden Bird Survey ends soon, so get your records ready to send to Rebecca Buisson. More here

  • The Club eBulletin for June (#96) is now available to non-members - they contain records, photos, articles and event reminders . Read here

  • Picture of the Month for July is Nigel Sprowell's Tawny Owl - see here

  • Congratulations to Nigel Sprowell for winning the Photo of the Year competition 2020 with his Sedge Warbler. See this and the two runners-up on this page.

  • Michael Holdsworth's Spotted Flycatcher project has now been written up for 2020 - see more here

  • The revised '2020' CBC recording checklist should be used from now on, view and download here

  • Club Bulletins back to the first issue in 1951 have now been digitised and added to the website - read them here

Michael Holdsworth

It is with much sadness that we mark here the passing of Michael Holdsworth. He died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack while on holiday in France on September 8th. Our deepest sympathies are with his wife Sue and the rest of the family. His loss will leave a huge hole in the Cambridgeshire Bird Ringing scene, the Bird Club, and the Wicken Fen and the Spotted Flycatcher communities he built up, to mention just a few of his achievements. He inspired and helped so many people advancing their skills in ringing and ornithology. Please use this space to share your memories of Michael.

Twitter feed: many thanks to Brendon Doe for setting this up.

Next Club meeting - Friday 8th October 2021, 7.30 pm, entry from 7.20 pm, using the Zoom video platform

‘Conservation on a crowded planet: can we have our cake and eat it?’ by Tom Finch

This talk will introduce the contentious ‘land sharing land sparing’ debate. Tom will use data collected from The Fens and Salisbury Plain to present a promising solution to the wicked problem of how to feed the world without costing the earth.

Tom is a researcher at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science. He is interested in agriculture, land-use, climate change and bird migration.

More here

Cambridgeshire Summer Garden Bird Survey

The last day for recording is Saturday 2nd October, so it's time to prepare your records for sending to Rebecca from 3rd October onwards. More details can be found here

Picture of the month: July

Tawny Owl © Nigel Sprowell, undisclosed site, 26 July 2021,

Tracey Graves chose this month's picture.

“As a new member, I was honoured to be asked to judge this month’s photos. By coincidence, I had my first ever Tawny Owl sighting in July, with two chicks appearing in my garden, but my shot was nowhere near the quality of Nigel’s adult owl. Presumably it is relatively used to humans, to have been able to get so close, but any night-time photography is tricky. Well done.”

Enlarge here

See the latest photos

(c) Les Bunyan

National 2021 Turtle Dove Survey

As the fastest declining UK species, the Turtle Dove is one of the highest conservation priority species for the RSPB. Between 1995 and 2018, we lost 95% of our Turtle Doves, and with such low numbers, monitoring through BBS is becoming increasingly difficult. Thus, surveys can support monitoring of the Turtle Dove national population, and the results can better target where urgent conservation action is needed to prevent extinction.

Our county has about 150 1km squares which need to be checked as part of this valuable survey. If you want to help and survey one or more squares, read more here

Cambridgeshire Woodland birds survey 2021

In 2003 the Club carried out a survey of woodland birds focusing especially on the scarce and declining species such as Marsh Tit and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and it's time to do this again.

We hope to cover as many woodlands as possible across the county, with three visits; late March, late April and late May, and the objective is to make a species list and estimate numbers of territories (singing in the same-ish area on 2+ visits). Read more here

The Cambridgeshire Bird Report 2019, No. 93, is available to purchase.

Click here for details

Spotted Flycatcher project 2021

The project has now morphed into a study of adult survival and return-rates, following the fortunes of individual birds.

Michael Holdsworth continued to work on Flycatcher communities and adult survival in 2021 and we would still like all records to be sent to the bird club.

Michael's 2020 project report is at:

Photo of the year: 2020

Congratulations to Nigel Sprowell for winning the 2020 Photo of the Year competition with his photo of this Sedge Warbler. In second place was David Ball's Grey Wagtail, and in third place was Nigel Sprowell's Beard Tit. Click here to view all three, and 2020 candidates to see all the photos that had been entered.

If you are unsure of the location of the less well-known birding sites, check our Gazetteer, which also provides standardised names to include in recording checklists for the Club's database and Birdtrack. Check the Grabagrid map which provides precise site grid references, and also shows pop-up vice-county boundaries (confirm boundary using the OS map if site very close to boundary).

Avian Flu

AVIAN FLU: The Angling Trust’s Voluntary Bailiff Service reported last winter that avian (bird) flu was confirmed in fenland swans. They advised, "Please be aware that you may see dead swans on the Nene or Drains. Dead swans may be found elsewhere too. Please under no circumstances go near or touch them. Phone Defra: 0345 933 5577, option 7: 'all other enquiries'. They will direct you to the correct local swan rescue (recovery ) people as all dead swans must now be collected for investigation". Email: and provide details. More info at Avian influenza (bird flu) - GOV.UK (

  • For sick swans, the RSPCA is the first place to contact and they will give help as to who should be informed.

The three Lockdown races of 2020

To see how these played out, look here

Recent annual Cambridgeshire Bird Reports

  • The Cambridgeshire Bird Report 2019 No. 93 has been published. Copies can be purchased from the Club - see here

  • The Cambridgeshire Bird Report 2018 (No. 92) is now available to read online - see here

Lists and facts

County birders life lists, individual record year lists / record day lists, garden lists and other records - view them here