2024 Meetings

2024 Meetings

Our indoor meetings continue to be organised by Vicki Harley.  Special thanks go to her for the many years of interesting and informative talks.  

Indoor Meetings are held on the second Friday of the month in person and may occasionally be available only via Zoom.  Details of links for Zoom meetings are provided in the e-Bulletin distributed to members.  In-person meetings are now held in the Main Hall at Cottenham Community Centre, 250A High St, Cottenham CB24 8RZ

See https://www.cottenhamcc.org/map/ .  The Centre is opposite the Co-op store.  On-street parking. Enter via the side door, where there is a ramp.

There is a £2.00 charge for non-members at in-person indoor meetings.   If the Zoom platform is used, a link is available on request to guests (non-members).  Check the details for each talk and if Zoom is an option, please email Louise.Bacon'at'Cambridgebirdclub.org.uk 

Programme for 2024

Friday 12 January:  'Avian vagrancy, pattern and process' by  Alex Lees   

Zoom entry from 7.15pm, talk starts at 7.30pm, using the Zoom video platform ONLY.

Avian vagrancy - the appearance of individual birds away from their normal geographic ranges -  is a phenomenon that has fascinated natural historians for centuries. From Victorian collectors willing to spend fortunes on a rare specimen, to today's high-octane bird-chasing 'twitchers', the enigma of vagrancy has become a source of obsession for countless birders worldwide. This talk will explore both pattern and process in avian vagrancy, drawing on recent research to answer a suite of fundamental questions concerning the occurrence of rare birds and explain why the phenomenon is important in this era of global change.


Alex is a Reader in Biodiversity at Manchester Metropolitan University, working principally on the impacts of land-use change on bird populations. He has long maintained an interest in avian vagrancy and with James Gilroy, recently authored the first book on the subject. As well as serving as the Chair of the British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee (BOURC) he is a member of the United Nations Science Panel for the Amazon, the IUCN Species Survival Commission, Red List Authority, and the Manchester Biodiversity Action Group. He recently retired from the Brazilian Ornithological Records Committee.

Friday 9 February:  'The RBBP: monitoring rare breeding birds in the UK' by  Mark Eaton   

7.30pm start, using the Zoom video platform  ONLY - entry from 7.20pm

The Rare Breeding Birds Panel was established in 1972 as an independent body to collate data and report on the status of the country’s rarest breeding birds. Mark will give an overview of the work of the RBBP, share some of its most recent findings on rare breeding birds across the UK, and show how birdwatchers can help the work of the Panel.


Dr Mark Eaton is a freelance conservation scientist who spends most of his time working as the Secretary of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel; he also sits on the board of the European Bird Census Council and British Ornithologists’ Union, and was previously Principal Conservation Scientist in Monitoring Science in the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science. As this would suggest, his expertise lies in developing the monitoring and reporting on the status of birds and other biodiversity both in the UK and overseas. When not doing this he’s usually to be found birding in the Northumberland countryside.

Friday 8 March, 7.30pm: Annual General Meeting,' followed by England’s Wild East Coast', by Steve Rowland.  Main Hall at Cottenham  Community Centre, 250A High St, Cottenham CB24 8RZ.

Steve Rowland has worked for the RSPB for over 30 years and is currently Area Manager for Norfolk and Lincolnshire. He has spent most of his career working on England’s East Coast, one of the UK and Europe’s most important wild places. In his talk he will take us on a journey through this special landscape.

Friday 12 April, 7.30pm:  'Island Conservation: Past damage, developing understanding, modern solutions', by Mike Brooke.             

After expeditions to seabird islands a Cambridge undergraduate, Michael Brooke, was hooked.  Since then, he has been lucky enough to travel the world in pursuit of seabirds, in conjunction with an academic career at Cambridge University.  This period has seen a revolution in the ability of conservationists to undo the damage done to remote islands by alien invasive species. The talk will address why alien species so often have the ecological edge over an island's native species, and how this knowledge has fed into island restoration projects, mostly notably those involving the eradication of rats and other nasties. 


After completing a seabird DPhil at Oxford while employed as warden of Skokholm Bird Observatory, Michael undertook post-docs at Oxford and then Cambridge. He is now Strickland Curator of Ornithology (Emeritus) at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. His conservation work ranges from the  strictly practical to more theoretical research which nevertheless aims to provide information of direct use to conservation planning.

Friday 10 May , 7.30pm: Wildlife Gardening, by Iain Webb         

Summer evening outdoor meetings to be arranged.  Usually May July and August


Contact: Erica Towner: fieldtrips[at]cambridgebirdclub.org.uk

The Friday evening field trips usually start at either 6.30pm or 7.00pm on-site, with final details emailed in advance of each meeting. 

Friday 13 September: 7.30pm:  RAFOS Support to The Seabird Group on 4 years of The Seabird Census (2018-2022), with 2023 Avian Flu comparison data  by John Wells

Friday 11 October, 7.30pm:  Wildlife and Ranger Life on East Anglia’s two oldest nature reserves: Wicken Fen and Blakeney Point by Ajay Tegala

Ajay Tegala is a wildlife presenter, author and ranger. He has worked on East Anglia's two oldest nature reserves: first Blakeney Point on the North Norfolk Coast (the subject of Ajay's first book) and now Wicken Fen (the subject of his new book), which celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2024.

The talk looks at wildlife, Ranger-life and history at both of these iconic nature reserves. From the dramas of managing nesting seabirds and breeding seals to the complexities of protecting rare fenland and restoring land for nature.

Friday 8 November, 7.30pm:  WWT Waterscapes and The Fens by Jo Thomas  

Friday 13 December, 7.30pm:  Christmas Social