Cambridgeshire Bird Club

Cambridge Bird Club Meetings

2013 Programme of Meetings

St Johns Church Hall

11th Jan: Nature Conservation: where have we come from, where are we now, and where are we going by Mark Avery
8th Feb: Paradise in Peril: the UK Overseas Territories, their wildlife and conservation by Mike Pienkowski
8th March: Annual General Meeting followed by
Ladybirds by Peter Brown

Cottenham Village College

28th January: Birds and People: pushing the boundaries by Martin Garner & Tormod Amundsen
12th April: The Nene Washes: highs and lows in the Fens by Charlie Kitchin
10th May: New Generation Techniques for Penguin Conservation by Tom Hart

Outdoor Meetings

7th June: Kings Dyke Nature Reserve, Whittlesey
12th July:Chippenham Fen
9th August:To be arranged

Cottenham Village College

13th Sept: Birds in a Cage: the POW birdwatchers by Derek Niemann
11th Oct: Birds of Ecuador; a Journey from the Andes to the Amazon by Jo Thomas

St Johns Church Hall

8th Nov: Where do Seabirds go when they head out to sea? Insights from New Technology by Mark Bolton
13th Dec: Christmas social

St Johns Hall, Cambridge Cottenham Village College

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CVC Plan. Conference Room = Tony Cooper Suite

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 Gullfest

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 more broadly across the UKOTs.

Friday 8th March, St Johns Hall, Cambridge ladybird

Annual General Meeting followed by
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 Black-tailed Godwit

The Nene Washes: highs and lows in the Fens by Charlie Kitchin

Charlie Kitchin has been the Nene Washes site manager since August 1991 and will be talking about management on the washes, the things that are going well, those that aren't and what the future holds for the site.
Tim Loseby has unfortunately had to cancel for personal reasons.

Friday 10th May, Cottenham Village CollegePenguin

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.

Outdoor Meetings

Friday June 7th, (7:30pm)Grass Snake

Kings Dyke Nature Reserve, Whittlesey (Meet at 7.30 pm)

This 50-ha reserve was created from former clay quarries. There are breeding waders, good numbers of Cuckoo and Turtle Dove in the area and abundant Sand Martins from a nearby breeding colony. At this time of year Great Crested Newts should still be in the pondsand there is a good chance of seeing Water Voles as well.

Friday 12rd July, (7:30pm)Silver Barred moth

Chippenham Fen (Meet at 7.30 pm)

We will be gathering at 7.30pm for a tour of the fen with the Natural England warden. A range of wetland birds are likely to be seen or heard, and as dusk falls Woodcock should be seen roding.
If the weather is mild there will be the opportunity to stay on after dark for some moth trapping, the reserve holds moth species restricted to just a few sites in the whole country such as Silver Barred and Reed Leopard.

Friday 9th August (7:00pm)

Walk at Cavenham Heath for Stone Curlew, Nightjar and general natural history, 7pm until late.

Meet in the reserve car park. Please book with Vicki Harley.

Friday 13th September, Cottenham Village College

Birds in a Cage: the POW birdwatchers by Derek Niemann

At Warburg, Germany, in 1941, four British PoWs found an unexpected means of escape from the horrors of internment when they formed a birdwatching society, and embarked on an obsessive quest behind barbed wire. Through their shared love of birds, they overcame hunger, hardship, fear and stultifying boredom. Their quest drew in not only their fellow prisoners, but also some of the German guards, at great risk to them all...
Derek Niemann draws on original diaries, letters and drawings, to tell of how the four – Conder, Barrett, Waterston and Buxton – were forged by their experiences as POWs into the giants of post war wildlife conservation. Their legacy lives on, in institutions such as the RSPB and the British Wildlife Trust. Their story will be of special interest to anyone who knew Peter Conder, Chairman of the Cambridge Bird Club (now the Cambridgeshire Bird Club) from 1975 to 1979, Vice President from 1981 to 1986 and President from 1987 until his death in 1993.
Derek Niemann is the editor of the RSPB’s children’s magazines and has written several books on nature and conservation for young readers.

Friday 11th October, Cottenham Village CollegeEcuador

Birds of Ecuador; a Journey from the Andes to the Amazon by Jo Thomas

From Hoatzins (known locally as Stinky Turkeys) in the Amazon, brightly coloured Tanagers and loud Tapaculos of the western Andean forested slopes to the mighty Andean Condor of the high paramo grasslands, enjoy hearing all about Ecuadors fascinating wildlife.
Jo has been interested in birds and wildlife since her early teens. This lead to a career working for the RSPB and Wildlife Trust for over 17 years, which included positions which included Information Warden at Titchwell, Warden at Loch of Kinnordy and Warden at Grafham Water Nature Reserve. Jo now runs Wild About Travel. She has travelled extensively across India over the last 20 years and more recently Ecuador, Panama, Spain and Sri Lanka have been added to her travel portfolio. Her passion is sharing her enthusiasm for wildlife with others.

Friday 8th November, St Johns Hall, Cambridge Storm Petrel

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

Come and enjoy mince pies and mulled wine in good company while listening to inspiring short talks by club members.
Presentations will be given by David Hoccom, Andrew Tongue and Bob Jarman.
If you would like to make a brief presentation yourself, please contact Vicki Harley as soon as possible.

David Hoccom is the RSPB’s Area Manager for Cambridgeshire and the Fens. He has worked for the Society since 1999, on a variety of conservation issues including bird of prey persecution, non-native species and, more recently, wetland restoration following historic losses. David will pick his conservation highlights from 2013 and outline the Society’s plans for the coming year.

Andrew Tongue, RSPB Senior Research Assistant and Cambridgeshire Bird Club Research Officer, will give an overview of the RSPB’s yellow wagtail solution-testing programme - where we are at present and what is planned for the next two years.The near-endemic UK yellow wagtail population continues to decline (estimated at 75% between 1970 and 2009) and the taxon was Red-Listed by Birds of Conservation Concern 3 (2009).

Bob Jarman, local birder and Club member, was prompted to survey of House Sparrows in Cambridge City by the talk given by Will Peach of the BTO to the Bird Club in September 2012. His records of urban House Sparrow distribution show a huge contrast between ‘Town’ and ‘Gown’ within the City and challenge some of the BTO’s conclusions about its decline.


Welcome to the Meetings section of the Cambridgeshire Bird Club website. All of our meetings open their doors at 7.30pm for an 8.00pm start. Meetings are held either at St John's Church hall in Hills Road Cambridge, or in the Tony Cooper Suite at Cottenham Village College. We have 10 indoor meetings for the winter months September to May, and usually 3 field meetings in the summer months. Indoor meetings are usually held on the second Friday of the month. All are welcome to attend, there is a small charge for non-members.
This page is maintained on behalf of the Club by Vicki Harley and Chris Quy.

2013 Programme of indoor meetings

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