2016 meetings

Friday 8th January, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Wildife of Speysideby Duncan MacDonald

Duncan Macdonald’s talk will takes us on a tour through Speyside's unique habitats and exciting wildlife.

With 16 years’ experience of leading wildlife watching groups in the Highlands, Duncan now spends most of his time working as a countryside ranger for Highland Council. He still finds time though to lead tours for Speyside Wildlife. He has a background in environmental education and conservation as well as being an expert and friendly guide.

Friday 12th February, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Birds’ Interactions with the Landscape: BTO research at global and local scales by Andy Clements

Monitoring UK's birds relies on the observations of thousands of volunteer birders and BTO's analysis and interpretation of that data. In addition, our research on the distribution, abundance and migration of birds enables us to tell captivating stories that deepens the public's understanding of wildlife and conservation.

Andy Clements has been Director of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) since summer 2007.

Friday 11th March, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Annual General Meeting followed by

Bird conservation in Nepal by Carol Inskipp

Carol’s talk will briefly introduce us to the high diversity of Nepal’s birds (878 species) and their main habitats; conservation measures including protected areas, community forests , initiatives to improve livelihoods of local people living near protected areas; the Nepal national bird Red Data Book and Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas of Nepal ,and the contribution that visitors can make to conservation of Nepal’s birds. She will also talk about the impact of the 2015 earthquakes on Nepal’s people and environment.

Carol Inskipp has visited Nepal many times and has written several books on Nepal’s birds and bird conservation. She is currently co-authoring the Nepal Bird Red Data Book and Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas of Nepal.

At this meeting you will be invited to make a donation to a small charity that Carol is supporting: ‘Go School Initiative’ which is funding materials for temporary schools in one of the areas the worst hit by the 2015 earthquakes.

Friday 8th April, Cottenham Village College

Bewick’s Swans in Northwest Europe: Addressing a population decline by Eileen Rees

Eileen’s talk will focus on WWT research on the declining Bewick’s Swan population and will also outline WWT's involvement in Bewick's Swan research, beginning with initial observations made by Sir Peter Scott. Eileen has worked on wildfowl research and conservation projects at WWT for over 30 years, since joining the organisation in the late 1970s to continue the long-term study of Bewick’s Swans wintering at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. During this time she has been active in promoting international research programmes along migratory flyways, including a collaborative study of the Icelandic Whooper Swan population, and the Anglo-Russian study of Bewick’s Swan breeding biology. She is Chair of the IUCN-SSC/Wetlands International Swan Specialist Group, and also of the Bewick’s Swan Expert Group responsible for implementation of the AEWA (African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement) Bewick’s Swan Action Plan. Recent studies include tracking swan migration in relation to wind farm development and, with WWT partners and international colleagues, determining the reasons for the Bewick’s Swan population decline. Her “Bewick’s Swan” book was published as a Poyser Monograph in 2006.

Friday 13th May, Cottenham Village College

A Very Fine Swan Indeed: Art, science and the unfeathered bird by Katrina Von Grouw

The book, The Unfeathered Bird, originally intended as a manual for bird artists, has been 25 years in the making. Only much later did it blossom into something far more ambitious. A world away from textbooks and diagrams, this is a work equally intended for scientists and artists, indeed anyone with an appreciation of birds or an interest in their adaptations and behavior. It includes illustrations of 200 species, all made from actual specimens, many in lifelike positions. Virtually all the complete skeletons were prepared and reconstructed at home from specimens donated from zoos, wildlife hospitals and conservation charities.

Join Katrina as she explains her aims and inspirations, shares her insights about birds beneath their feathers, and relates how her home was turned upside down as more and more specimens joined the queue.

Katrina van Grouw is a graduate of the Royal College of Art. Her formal education was in Printmaking and Natural History Illustration, but she’s also a dedicated ornithologist, a former Natural History Museum curator, a qualified bird ringer, and an experienced preparator of natural history specimens.

Field Trips:

Friday 27th May

Nene Washes

Our June trip is in May

A walk at peak wetland bird time with Charlie Kitchin, the site Manager. Exact meeting point/time provided to those who book. Expect to stay until dusk for corncrakes. Contact Vicki Harley on vicki@cambridgebirdclub.org.uk

Friday 8th July

Roswell Pits

A guided walk with the Ely birders who know these sites well. No need to book. Meet at 7pm at Kiln Lane, CB7 4TT

Friday 12th August, Paxton Pits (north end)

By arrangement, a trip to the north end of Paxton Pits with site ranger, Jim Stevenson. time 7pm. Meeting place will be provided to those who book, but expect a reasonable walk to be part of this visit. Book with Louise Bacon (recorder@cambridgebirdclub.org.uk), places limited to 15.

Friday 9th September, Cottenham Village College

Climate Change and Local Wildlife by Brian Eversham

In this talk, Brian will discuss how wildlife has responded to past climates, including the series of Ice Ages, how plants and animals are being affected by changes now, and how climate interacts with other threats to local wildlife. He will consider the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in the face of climate warming, and will conclude by explaining how we should respond to the threats, and what the local Wildlife Trust is doing already.

Brian Eversham is Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants. He was previously conservation director, responsible for nature reserves, wider countryside conservation, and training. He introduced landscape-scale conservation to the Trust, helping launch the Great Fen, and schemes in the Nene Valley, the North Chilterns and Cambridgeshire’s ancient woodlands. He is author of the Atlas of the Dragonflies of Britain and Ireland and author of over 200 scientific papers and reports.

Friday 14th October, Cottenham Village College

Twenty Places to Go Birding Before You Die by Keith Betton

He has bird watched in 98 countries (several times in many places), travelling over 2 million miles and seeing c7500 species of birds. In this talk he takes us to 20 of his favourite locations.

Keith Betton is a media trainer, PR consultant and writer - his first book Behind the Binoculars was published in 2015. He is a keen world birder having seen over 7500 species in nearly 100 countries. He has a particular passion for Africa, having been Chairman of the African Bird Club for the last seven years. In the UK he is heavily involved in bird monitoring in Hampshire, where he is County Recorder. He has been a Council Member of both the RSPB and BTO, and is currently Vice President of the latter.

Friday 11th November, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Identifying Birds for 40 years by Paul Stancliffe

Paul Stancliffe, author of the latest Collins field guides - Common Birds of Britain and Ireland, and, Rare birds of Britain and Ireland - looks at how bird identification has changed during the last forty years.

A lifelong birder, Paul works for the British Trust for Ornithology as their Media Manager. Paul has been fortunate to live in the New Forest, the Isles of Scilly and now Norfolk, amongst a few other birch places. He has served on various bird identification panels and is one of the BTO identification experts.

This will be a return visit for Paul who talked to the Club about wildlife of the Isles of Scilly in 2012.

Friday 9th December, St Johns Hall, Cambridge

Christmas Social

Come and enjoy mince pies and mulled wine in good company while listening to inspiring short talks by club members.