Friday 11th January, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Nature Conservation: where have we come from, where are we now, and where are we going by Mark Avery

Mark Avery will present his own very personal view of nature conservation. Mark describes himself as an ex-Cambridge undergraduate, ex-RSPB Conservation Director, current birdwatcher, environmental commentator and writer. He is the author of a popular blog and his recent book Fighting for Birds - 25 years in nature conservation, has had excellent reviews.

Monday 28th January, Cottenham Village College

Birds and People: pushing the boundaries by Martin Garner & Tormod Amundsen

"One of the most inspiring events I have ever seen" is how attendees, coming from all over Europe and North America, summed up the first Arctic Gullfest in April 2012. This evening brings together the hosts of that event. Martin and Sharon, from Sheffield, UK will talk about pushing the boundaries of birding over the last 12 months, some of which have been kept off the Birding Frontiers blog, especially for this tour. Birding architects Tormod and his wife Elin will talk about their family move to Varanger, in Arctic Norway. They combine pioneering architecture and conservation while engaging ordinary local people- pushing the boundaries in how people and nature work better together. It promises to be a highly entertaining and inspiring evening- not to be missed!

Friday 8th February, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Paradise in Peril: the UK Overseas Territories, their wildlife and conservation by Mike Pienkowski

The UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) and Crown Dependencies (CDs) are part of the UK’s sovereign territory, and their citizens are British citizens – but they receive few UK resources. Most of the globally important biodiversity for which the UK is responsible under international agreements and conventions occurs in UKOTs, which collectively support at least 23 endemic bird species, 23 of reptiles and amphibians, 200 of plants and 500 of invertebrates. Many of these species (and their associated ecosystems) are classified as threatened, and some are in imminent danger of extinction. The UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum advances conservation and sustainable environmental management broadly across the UKOTs.

Friday 8th March, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Annual General Meeting followed by

Ladybirds by Peter Brown

Britain has more ladybirds than you might think, with 47 species in total. The first part of this talk focuses on the ecology and identification of these charismatic beetles. The second part tells the story of the notorious invading harlequin ladybird.…

Peter Brown is an ecologist and zoology lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. Previously he worked in the Biological Records Centre at Monks Wood, where he was initially employed as project officer for the UK Ladybird Survey, and then helped to coordinate the work of many schemes recording different groups of plants and animals.

Friday 12th April, Cottenham Village College

Thirty Years of Bird Photography by Tim Loseby

Tim Loseby has been birdwatching for over 50 years. The first 'exotic' place he went to was Minsmere in 1964! He has been a photographer for 30 years, and became a familiar face on the birding scene in the 1980s as a photographer of rarities. He is a founder member of the Oriental Bird Club and has travelled extensively in Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia and Middle East. He is Director of Fair Isle Bird Observatory a place he first visited in 1970. He comes from Yorkshire originally but, following 35 years in Kent, now lives in north Norfolk.

Friday 10th May, Cottenham Village College

New Generation Techniques for Penguin Conservation by Tom Hart

Tom Hart is Post Doctoral Research Assistant at the Institute of Zoology, Univeristy of Oxford. His current research interests include the foraging ecology of Macaroni penguins and the population genetics of penguins in the Southern Ocean.

Friday 13th September, Cottenham Village College

Birds in a Cage: the POW birdwatchers by Derek Niemann

Friday 11th October, Cottenham Village College

The Decline of Wood Warblers in the UK by John Malord, RSPB Conservation Science Department

Migrant birds are amongst those species that have suffered the most drastic population declines in recent decades, and there are many possible causes, including a reduction in habitat quality and food supply on either the breeding or wintering grounds, or along migration routes; differential climate-induced shifts in species’ phenology compared to that of their prey; or increased losses from increasing populations of predators. John Mallord and his colleagues have been studying Wood Warblers on their breeding grounds in areas where populations have remained relatively stable (mid-Wales), and in others which have seen some of the worst declines in the UK (Devon and the New Forest). At the same time, work has started in West Africa, identifying staging and wintering areas, where we are beginning to understand the species’ ecology during the more than half the year the birds spend away from the UK. This talk will report on findings from both ‘ends’ of the Wood Warbler’s annual life history to see what they can tell us about the most likely causes of the species’ decline. John has been with the RSPB on and off since the mid 1990s, studying a number of declining species including Bitterns, Song Thrushes and House Sparrows.

Friday 8th November, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Where do Seabirds go when they head out to sea? Insights from New Technology by Mark Bolton

The UK holds internationally important numbers of breeding seabirds – up to 80% of the world population of some species. Yet numbers have declined dramatically in recent decades, linked, in some cases, to poor food supply. Compounding the problems that seabirds face in finding food, the drive to develop offshore renewable energy supplies represents a further potential threat to foraging seabirds. Against this backdrop, there is a need to ensure that exploitation of marine resources proceeds in a way that minimises impacts on the marine environment, and that priority seabird foraging areas are protected. Although scientists have been studying seabirds at the breeding colonies for several decades, we know comparatively little about seabird behaviour at sea, which has made it difficult to predict where conflicts are likely to arise, or which areas merit special protection. However the revolution in tracking technology of the last few years has provided the game-changer that allows us to begin to unravel the mysteries of where seabirds go when then head over the horizon. Since 2009 the RSPB has tracked over 1000 seabirds of five species from 18 colonies in UK, with some startling results. In this talk Dr Mark Bolton, Principal Conservation Scientist will describe some of the remarkable habits of seabirds, and he will explain how RSPB is using this information to build our understanding of why seabirds forage where they do, so that key foraging areas at sea can be protected.

In the 25 years since Mark Bolton was an undergraduate at Cambridge, he has worked on seabirds in many of the most far-flung islands in the Atlantic, from the Falklands to Shetland, by way of St Helena, Ascension, Cape Verde and the Azores, discovering a new species or two on the way. He now leads the RSPB’s UK marine research programme and is always on the lookout for some new gizmo or gadget that will help us to understand better the remarkable lives of seabirds.

Friday 13th December, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Christmas Social