Last Saturday I drove into Wales, to Monmouth, to spend the day at the meeting of the Welsh Ornithological Society. I gave a talk and listened to lots of others.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Gwent Ornithological Society so it was fitting that we were in Monmouth.
I enjoyed hearing from Al Venables about the birth and growing up of the Gwent Ornithological Society (by way of a couple of name changes) – I hope the GOS enjoy their 50s as much as I am enjoying mine.
There were some awards to some old people and a young person. Former colleagues of mine at the RSPB, Roger Lovegrove and Graham Williams were rewarded with lifetime achievement awards and Stacey Melia received the first WOS Student Research Award.
I enjoyed Steve Roberts’ talk on Honey Buzzards – just as much as I enjoyed it the previous weekend at the SOC Conference. And I am looking forward to hearing it again at the BTO Conference in December too. It really is a very good talk and if you are at Swanwick then look out for some superb photographs and some video footage that will blow you away. I won’t say more now.
Jerry Lewis gave a wonderful talk about a wonderful bird – the Hawfinch. I don’t see these birds very often and I enjoyed learning how they can be caught, a bit about their movements within this part of Wales but also further afield. It’s clear that there is, at least in some years, an influx of Hawfinches to the UK from Scandinavia. And they are gorgeous-looking birds.
Nigel Clark from the BTO talked about the Severn Estuary and ideas about barrages. It was interesting that he tended to favour tidal stream turbines as the way to harness the Severn’s tidal power that might, if done in the right way, be less damaging than the old-fashioned barrage proposals. This chimed with what Bob Furness said at the SOC Conference last weekend. It made me look up the study of one such tidal stream turbine that was put into the narrow entrance to Strangford Lough in Northern Irleand. This account, seems to suggest that it was quite a success. Maybe the Severn will be the site of hundreds of underwater turbines in a few decades time.
Tony Fox talked about the slightly complicated fate of the Greenland White-fronted Goose. Here’s an interview that Tony did with Brett Westwood that covers much of the ground. Apparently, it is only in England (where hardly any occur) and Wales (where there is an important wintering site on the Dyfi) that it is legal to shoot this bird. I’ve signed the petition to the Welsh Assembly to ask them to ban shooting of this species.
Thank you to WOS and GOS for a wonderful day.