Back to Bris

I enjoyed attending the Bristol Ornithological Club’s 50th anniversary dinner last week. I gave a little speech and everyone thanked me, and I thanked them, and they thanked me, and I thanked them – it was a thankfest.

We met in Bristol Zoo where the health and safety advice had the unusual twist of ‘…and if any animals escape…’.

I met some people who  I’d met elsewhere, some people I’d never met, some people with whom I’d been at school, and some people who had given me help and advice in my early days of birding.

I joined the BOC when it was 3 years old and I was 11 years old – neither of us has changed a bit. I was lucky enough to be seated at dinner between Robin Prytherch of Pied-billed Grebe, Buzzard and BB fame and another founder member of the BOC, Michael Allen, the former chair of the Wildlife Trusts. Our table had a very enjoyable time of it – thank you!

It’s inevitable (isn’t it?) that one thinks about the past when going back to where one grew up for an event like this one.  I mentioned my former local patch of a stretch of the River Chew and how on my infrequent return visits I never see Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Spotted Flycatchers or Water Voles like I used to.  But I was pleased to hear that I might see a Dipper on that very stretch of river these days – I’d like to do that, I must give it a go some time this summer.

And I discovered that a new friend I made in Bristol is a friend of an existing friend of mine back here in Northants – I always like discovering the connectedness of the world.

And the book covering the first 50 years of the BOC is reviewed here with details of how to purchase it.


Bristol Zoo entrance. By Emőke Dénes (kindly granted by the author) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons