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The Birds of Berkshire Atlas for which the fieldwork is now underway will cost about £30,000. The Berkshire Bird Atlas Group (mainly BOC Committee members) is seeking funds for this and has made good progress. However, this is a massive sum and so, to involve our members and birdwatchers across the County it has launched a 'Sponsor a species' appeal. Read more...
We still have no-one to look after publicity for the Club. The job of publicity officer is fairly large, so we are looking for people to take responsibility for different aspects. If you are interested in helping with any of the following, please contact Mike Turton at mike.turton berksoc.org.uk:
If you would like to offer to help with any other areas of publicity not included in the above list, please let Mike know.
Ray Reedman would also like some more people to help with organising and running the outdoor excursions for the Club. If you would like to help, please contact Ray on ray.reedman berksoc.org.uk.
The new Berkshire Atlas and Avifauna will be coming out later this year. It will be a beautiful, large format book packed with drawings and photos as well as over three hundred species accounts and chapters on Berkshire bird history, habitats, and a where to watch section. The pre-publication offer provides large discounts on the published price for oders by 20th June. Go to http://berkshirebirdatlas.org.uk/ to see more about the new atlas and for order information. All profits from sales will go to bird conservation work in Berkshire.
BOC members are invited to the official opening of ‘Fobney Island Wetland Nature Reserve’ at 11am on Friday 17 May 2013. Please note the change of date from the preliminary announcement.
For several years the project sponsors, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, Reading Borough Council, the Thames River Trust, have worked together to transform Fobney Island into an attractive and diverse site that we trust will be used by people and wildlife for years to come. Berkshire Ornithological Club and Reading and District Angling Association have provided specialist advice and support throughout the project. Download invitation here.
This event will mark the official opening of the site. After a short opening presentation there will be guided walks of the nature reserve. The partner organisations will host stands and activities including bird walks and a display tank with native fish species and pond dipping for children. Refreshments will be provided courtesy of Reading Borough Council.
Please r.s.v.p (by email to thameswestfrb environment-agency.gov.uk) if you would like to attend.
(Sponsored by London Camera Exchange) Judges David Cromack and Margaret Welby found the standard as high as ever and chose winners and runners up from the three sections here. The audience of Club Members then voted narrowly for Ken White's Cory's Shearwater as overall winner of the Gordon Langsbury Memorial trophy.
We met around 8:30 in the Tesco’s at Ipswich, at the junction between the A12 and A14, known as the Copdock Interchange (Postcode IP8 3TS), most of us having set off from Berkshire between 5.00am and 6.00am, and with one group having already seen the first significant bird of the trip, a Woodcock from the car somewhere in Oxfordshire . There were 16 of us in 5 vehicles. Colin had organized a full itinerary for the trip, which we all more or less followed, but not always together. Read more...
For some years, the Berkshire Ornithological Club has been working with Reading Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, the Thames Valley Restoration Trust and Reading & District Angling Association to help design a wetland reserve just to the south of Reading centre, between the River Kennet and the Kennet & Avon Canal.
With the completion of the works, there is now access to the island and there will be a formal opening on Saturday 18th May, when the BOC will be providing information and offering bird walks. There is no public access on to the area of scrapes at the west end of the island, to protect breeding birds, though two viewing screens are provided. Read more...
As you know the Birds of Berkshire Atlas and Avifauna (second edition) is now expected to be published later this year. We are taking advance orders at a price of just £25 now (£20 to species sponsors).
This new book will include all new artwork specially commissioned from a group of exceptional artists, Robert Gillmor, David Thelwell, Jan Wilczur, Dafila Scott and many others. Most of this artwork will be available for sale when we publish the book but the first option to buy these lovely black and white pictures, at a special discount, will be offered to those who have been kind enough to sponsor a species. This is a great opportunity to own a piece of artwork published in a book to which many of you have contributed in one way or another.
There is still a list of species available to sponsor available here Once the sponsors have had a chance to buy the artwork it will be offered on general sale to members, details and prices will be advised at the time.
Meantime, we recommend sponsoring a species and ordering your copy of the book – at the special pre-publication price using the form attached.
There has been a huge response to the American Buff-bellied Pipit at Queen Mother Reservoir. As well as our own permit-holders, we have issued day permits to some 800-900 people have come to see the bird, including birders from Scotland and Belgium. Most birders have been very complimentary about the arrangements the BOC has put in place to make this possible and we have so far raised nearly £1,700 for Club funds. A big thank you to all who have helped.
The time is nearing when members need to start thinking about their entries to the 2013 competition. The rules have now been published in the Newsletter/ website so you have the chance to submit up to twelve images between the three categories. In 2012 a hard fought competition resulted in Brian Winter's hovering Kestrel winning the flight category and the Gordon Langsbury Memorial Trophy so this year will it be you? If you need any help in submitting your entries contact Colin (details shown in the Rules) but remember, not every year has such fantastic images, so its always worth a try. As usual there will be voucher prizes for photographic or optical goodies for the winners and runners-up in each category.
In 2013 we are delighted to have David Cromack back again with a new judge, Margaret Welby. You can see more about Margaret on her website http://www.margaretwelby.com/index.htm but suffice it to say that she has considerable experience and skill in bird photography including winning a 'Highly Commended' in the very challenging BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. With your entries we expect another great evening in 2013. (For those who, like us, felt the projection of the images didn't help last years competition we are working on changing the methods to improve your enjoyment of the entries).
The BOC new season programme of events is now available, with a comprehensive range of indoor meetings taking place throughout the winter months (mostly in the University of Reading); as well as field trips and walks around the local area and to sites further afield throughout the year. Hopefully there will be something for everyone to enjoy. All members are welcome, as are guests and prospective new members.
There are three committee posts to be filled at this year’s AGM: 2 for 3 years and one for 1 year. The committee are particularly looking for people who would be willing to take on key roles in running the Club; more details on what’s involved in being on the committee and where we need help can be found here. If you would be willing to help, please contact the Secretary at mike.turton berksoc.org.uk.
As mentioned recently at Club meetings we are seeking photographs to illustrate habitats in Berkshire to use in the new book. As we have so many superb photographers in the Club we invite you all to submit photographs to colin.wilson berksoc.org.uk of the following:
The book is intended to provide funds for conservation so no payment will be made but acknowledgment of the photographer will, of course, be included in the book. The best quality images possible will be needed and selection of suitable images will be made by the Berks Bird Atlas Group.
Those people that have heard Marek Borkowski talk will know something of the spectacular Biebrza Marshes, a unique habitat in Europe, well-known for its Aquatic Warbler and Great Snipe populations. It is also a good place for many birds of prey, including Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles. Nearby Citrine Wagtails breed and you may see four species of Harriers. The Bialowieza Forest is home to most of the European woodpeckers, including White-backed, Three-toed, Black, Lesser, Middle and Greater Spotted. Nutcrackers may be seen.
Marek Borkowski has offered to run a tour to NE Poland for BOC members in May 2013: “The way I much prefer to organize trips is an all included tour, covering accommodation, food, transport, English speaking leader, local guides where appropriate, entrance fees, permits, using some of our conveniences, etc. It is much more bird productive this way, as we do not loose time for long unnecessary drives, waiting for meals, dealing with inexperienced drivers, wasting time for finding places, queuing, waiting, etc. and I can also assure the quality. Accommodation then is in small, well placed, comfortable hotels, on twin/double rooms with private facilities en suite basis, with single rooms possibility. A reception at my farm, visiting "gardens", seeing horses, early morning coffees, birdlists, etc. are also included - basically everything except for alcohol (apart from one or two occasions) and items of strictly private character.”
The trip plan can be found here.
If you are interested in taking part, please let me know as I need to give Marek an indication of how many people to plan for. The all-in price will be around £1,050 excluding the flights to and from Warsaw and excluding alcohol).
tel 0787 981 2564
Bird watchers and anglers have a lot in common. We both spend a lot of time out in the cold, staring at expanses of water in lonely places. We are both interested in Nature and wetland areas; though it seems to me that most anglers know a lot more about birds than birders do about fish. So it came as a shock to me to hear that some Berkshire bird-watchers had been offensive to a number of anglers over access to lakes and over maintenance work on angling sites, which has resulted in a loss of goodwill and the withdrawal of certain access privileges for bird-watchers.
Anglers often pay a lot for fishing rights and have costly equipment that they understandably do not want damaged. They also own or lease a number of private sites to which they may allow access to bird-watchers or the public at large – we go there on sufferance.
Last year the BOC had a number of constructive meetings with Reading & District Angling Association to discuss their and our concerns. Amongst other things we discussed the clearance of scrub around parts of the Searles Lane GPs, which was needed for the health of the fish stocks, and possible mitigation measures for the resultant loss of some Nightingale habitat. We have also worked with the anglers on the planning of the new wetland reserve at Fobney Island. Bird-watchers and anglers have shared interests in protecting our natural environment – let’s be friends!
Car park charges now apply in ALL car parks at Dinton Pastures Country Park, from 08:00 to 18:00. The nearest ticket machine to Lavell's Lake is in the middle of the sailing club car park (now called the multi activity centre).
Prices are shown via the link below but in summary are 50p for up to 1 hour, £1 for up to 4 hours, £2 for 4 hours plus. There are annual season tickets at £76.50 available from the Countryside Service Office above the Cafe, disabled can park free.
We are advised that tickets will be checked, so please be aware you may get a fine if you choose not to pay.
Please help the club by using the services of our Supporters.
All Berkshire sightings are welcome. Options to submit them are found here.
New report JUST PUBLISHED - August 2012!
The 2008 Report is now available from the Secretary for £7.50 plus £1.50 P&P (Cheques payable to Berkshire Ornithological Club). Free to BOC Members.
Previous Reports STILL AVAILABLE
Previous reports (2000 onwards) are still available for £6 plus £1.50 P&P. Any two reports purchased will qualify for single P&P and a £2 discount from the total price.