Meetings 2022

Friday, 14 January 7.30 pm, entry from 7.20 pm, using the Zoom video platform

'Falsterbo' by Stephen Menzie

Falsterbo, the most southwesterly point in Sweden, is one of the world’s foremost migration watchpoints. Every autumn, millions of birds migrate through Falsterbo, and several tens of thousands are ringed at the observatory, which has had a permanent presence on the peninsula since 1955. This talk details Falsterbo’s ornithological history – from salted Honey-buzzards in the 1800s to the observatory’s modern-day operations – as well as giving a flavour of the birding on the peninsula throughout the year and the birds that make Falsterbo such a special place.

Stephen Menzie is a British birder and ringer based in southern Sweden. He is editor of British Birds, a member of British Birds Rarities Committee, and manages Falsterbo Bird Observatory.

Friday, 11 February 7.30 pm, entry from 7.20 pm, using the Zoom video platform

'Spying on seabirds: using tracking technology to study declining seabirds' by Dr Annette Fayet

In this talk, Dr Annette Fayet will discuss how she uses miniature tracking technology to follow the movements of seabirds at sea to get a better understanding of their ecology and inform their conservation. She will use examples from her long-standing research programme on the charismatic Atlantic puffins in Wales, as well as work she has been doing on the elusive Manx shearwaters, and on tropical seabirds.

Annette Fayet is a seabird ecologist and a National Geographic Explorer. After engineering studies in France, she started her career in ornithology at the University of Cambridge, then spent the next 10 years at the University of Oxford, as a DPhil student and then as a Junior Research Fellow. She recently took up a research post at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA). She has spent most of her career to date studying seabirds on Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, but her research has also taken her to other remote islands from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean.

AGM and monthly talk: Friday, 11 March 7.30 pm. The meeting is at Cottenham Village College - Tony Cooper Suite (TCS), Sixth Form Block. We will attempt to simultaneously hold it by Zoom video-conference - for the latter, entry from 7.20 pm, using the Zoom video platform.

We would prefer it if everyone can please take a lateral flow test on the day before attending to minimise our COVID risk factor.

The AGM will be followed by 'The Spoonbills and other exotic Water Birds of Holkham NNR' by Andy Bloomfield

This talk looks at the return of Spoonbills to the UK and their increasing population in Norfolk (and elsewhere in the UK) alongside other egrets and herons nesting in the same wood at Holkham.

Andy Bloomfield is Senior Warden on Holkham National Nature Reserve, having started out as a volunteer in 1990, progressing to Summer warden in 2004 and then becoming full-time from 2012. Andy was born on Holkham Estate. He has written two books on wildlife of the area –Birds of the Holkham Area, published in 1993, and North Norfolk's Wildlife, published in 2007, as well as papers on Holkham's spoonbills which appeared in British Birds in 2021. He was invited to Tunisia in 2018 to lecture at the Eurasian Spoonbill International Expert Group on the UK's growing Spoonbill population and formed the UK Spoonbill Working Group in 2019.

Friday 8 April The meeting is at Cottenham Village College - Tony Cooper Suite (TCS), Sixth Form Block. We will attempt to simultaneously hold it by Zoom video-conference - for the latter, entry from 7.20 pm, using the Zoom video platform.

We would prefer it if everyone can please take a lateral flow test on the day before attending to minimise our COVID risk factor.

'No coast in sight but birds abound - Birding and bird conservation in north-west inland Germany' by Peter Herkenrath and Dan Duff

Peter has been a birdwatcher since his childhood days in the late 1960s in Germany. He holds a degree in biology and started his career in conservation at NABU (BirdLife in Germany). In 1997 he moved to Cambridge to work first for the BirdLife International secretariat, then for the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. He became a member of the Club’s Council in 2004 and was Chairman from 2010-2013 when he relocated to Germany. There, he took up the position of Head of Bird Conservation at the environmental agency of the federal state of North-Rhine – Westphalia ('NRW').

Dan has been a keen amateur birder and naturalist since the late 1970's, and is not a professional biologist or conservationist. While at Cambridge University in various guises during the 1980's and beginning of the 1990's he did some local and UK-wide birding and twitching in his spare time and served for a while as undergraduate secretary of CBC. In 1991 he left the UK for Switzerland and has been living and working in Germany since 1993. This has given him plenty of time to reflect on the similarities and differences in the birds and the birding between the UK and Germany, and between East Anglia and 'NRW' in particular.

In their talk, Peter and Dan will introduce the avifauna of the federal state of North-Rhine – Westphalia, which is situated in north-western Germany bordering the Netherlands and Belgium. From the lowlands packed with White-fronted, Tundra Bean and Barnacle Geese in winter and small remaining populations of breeding Curlews and Black-tailed Godwits, to the uplands with seven species of woodpeckers, many raptors and many other species of interest to British birders. The talk will also highlight the conservation challenges in this most densely populated German federal state.

Friday 13 May

'Bird flight and cooperative dynamics' by Steve Portugal

This talk is about how birds co-operate and the mechanisms they employ to save energy during flight. The distinctive V formation of bird flocks has long intrigued researchers and continues to attract both scientific and popular attention. Through the use of novel biologging technology, and by working with the reintroduction scheme of the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis, studies have been performed on the relative positioning of individuals in a V-formation, and the co-operative aerodynamic interactions that take place, at a level and complexity not previously thought feasible.

Steve is a Reader in Animal Behaviour and Physiology at Royal Holloway University of London. He is a comparative ecophysiologist, who studies how animals adapt their behaviour and ecology to the challenges of their environment. His research has focused on naked mole rats, Siamese fighting fish, and the role of vision in the propensity for certain bird species to fly into man-made objects. His main research, however, is bird flight, and what happens when birds come together in flocks. Steve has published over 80 academic papers, and acted as scientific advisor for numerous nature documentaries including Springwatch, David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, Conquest of the Skies, Life in the Air, and Nature’s Boldest Thieves.

Summer evening outdoor meetings 2022

Contact/booking via Erica Towner:

The Friday evening field trips will start at 19.00 or 18.30 on-site with final details emailed in advance of each meeting. Note that the first meeting is in May.

Friday 20th May: RSPB Nene Washes, 19.00 start

To be led by Charlie Kitchin, Nene Washes Site Manager.

This internationally important wetland site is almost entirely lowland, wet grassland managed primarily for breeding waders, including Black-tailed Godwit.

The final decision on parking site and meeting place will depend on water levels and breeding bird activity. For club members only, you can go without booking. The meeting point is here.

Friday 12th August: Great Fen Project 18.30 start

Friday 8th July: RSPB Ouse Fen, 19.00 start

To be led by Chris Hudson, Senior Site Manager.

Working together, Hanson and RSPB are transforming a working sand and gravel quarry into the Ouse Fen nature reserve which when complete will have the most extensive reedbed in the UK.

To be led by Henry Stanier, Great Fen Monitoring and Research Officer.

The Great Fen landscape, stretching from Peterborough south towards Huntingdon and including Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen National Nature Reserves, is one of the largest landscape restoration projects in Europe. Final details, including parking and meeting place will be available in advance of the meeting.

Friday 9 September

'Cairngorms Connect: A wild landscape in the making' by Sydney Henderson

Cairngorms Connect is a partnership of neighbouring land managers, committed to a bold and ambitious 200-year vision to enhance habitats, species and ecological processes across a vast area within the Cairngorms National Park.

The Cairngorms Connect area stretches over 600 square kilometres - it is a landscape of superlatives: Ancient woodlands intersected by sparkling rivers and lochs, encircle an Arctic-like mountain massif – the most extensive and wildest of its kind in Britain; there are vast tracts of blanket bog, tranquil wetlands and secret woodland bogs. It is a place where eagles soar, wildcats prowl and red squirrels forage; home to plants, insects, birds and mammals found in few other places.

Sydney Henderson, Cairngorms Connect Communications and Involvement Manager for Cairngorms Connect, will share an introduction to the partnership, covering an update of what has been achieved so far, and ambitions for the future of this wild landscape in the making.

Friday 14 October

Have I got poos for you? by Graham White

To get on as an ecologist, it’s not what you know but poo you know. This interactive talk by Graham White will discuss the importance of tracks and signs of wildlife to an ecologist's work. Graham recently retired after 40 years working in conservation with the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts.

Friday 11 November

'The women who saved the birds' by Tessa Boase

When social historian Tessa Boase told the RSPB she wanted to write their early story, they refused to let her visit their archives. To a former investigative journalist, this was a challenge she could not resist . . . This lecture shines a light on the intriguing story of women’s love affair with plumage ­ – and of the brave eco-feminists who fought back on behalf of the birds. It celebrates the pioneering activism of Etta Lemon, the indomitable woman who built the RSPB from modest beginnings in 1891, to the triumph of the Plumage Act in 1921. Moving from a polite Victorian tea party to an egret hunt in a Florida swamp; from a suffragette ‘monster rally’ to a milliner’s dusty workshop, you’ll be taken back in time to a world where every woman, of every class wore a hat.

Friday 9 Dec

Christmas Social