Who We Are

The Shropshire Ornithological Society (SOS) was formed in 1955 with the aims of encouraging the study and protection of birds in Shropshire and elsewhere,  organising a wide range of activities and producing publications to this end, and co-operating with other bodies with similar aims.  This website serves the needs of the branch of the Society in Church Stretton.  All members of the SOS are welcome to take part in branch activities as well as the main activities of the Society.

Breaking News

None right now.


Indoor meetings are held from October to March (excluding December) on the fourth Monday of the month. The venue is The Methodist Church Hall, Watling Street, Church Stretton [MAP] and meetings commence at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free to members: non members are very welcome (admission £2, including refreshments).

Indoor Meeting Programme


The indoor meeting programme for next season is now finalised.  Why not put these dates in your calendar now to avoid missing these instructive and entertaining presentations? In addition, the 2017-18 programme is beginning to come together and, where known, the events are shown below.

October 24, 2016. “Whistle Stop Western Australia!” (Allan Heath)

  • The state of Western Australia is larger than Western Europe and boasts more than 500 species of birds, as well as a plethora of the other fascinating fauna that define the continent. A two-week trip in March 2014, primarily to attend a friend’s wedding, yielded a surprising abundance and variety of these birds and other wildlife. Despite the obligatory socialising, Allan was able to put his camera and photographic skills to good use to bring us a vignette of his encounters with the creatures in the bottom left-hand corner of Australia.

November 28, 2016. “Wilderland, Wildlife and Wonder from the Shropshire Borders”  (Andrew Fusek Peters)

  • Enjoy an evening of beautiful wildlife images, including many of our border bird species, along with landscape photography and nature writing from this acclaimed author and photographer. Andrew will be sharing work from his book Wilderland and upcoming Upland, based on his commission from the National Trust and Natural England on the Long Mynd and Stiperstones. Andrew was shortlisted for British Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2014 and 2015 and Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015 and his pictures are regularly used by the national newspapers and in photography magazines. For a preview, visit Andrew’s website at http://www.andrewfusekpeters.com/.

January 23, 2017. AGM, followed by “Golden Birding Moments” (Jim Almond)

  • A compilation from some of Jim’s best birding moments and favourite locations. Starting with a “golden” theme, great winter birds; then moving on to locations including Vancouver Island, New England, Scotland and the Farne islands, all featuring new images. Highlighted bird groups include falcons, grebes, herons, crossbills, gulls and waxwings. Then a section on the most unpredictable and exciting form of birding – pelagic trips. Finally, Short-eared Owls and Hen Harriers with one of Jim’s haunting musical finales to bring the talk to a close.

February 27. 2017. “Creating your own Springwatch – Creative Use of Cameras to Capture your Local Wildlife” (Kate MacRea)

  • Kate MacRae, also known as “Wildlife Kate” is passionate about connecting people with wildlife in their own patch. Through a creative use of wired cameras and Bushnell trail cams, Kate has captured incredible footage in  her Staffordshire garden, a site she manages in Worcestershire and in her local patch. Kate has featured numerous times on TV, on BBC “Springwatch”, “Autumnwatch”, “Midlands Today”, “Countryfile” and Julian Clary’s “Nature Nuts”, sharing her enthusiasm and passion for wildlife. Tonight, Kate will share some of her  footage with us and show how easy it is to capture such footage ourselves! For more information, go to http://www.wildlifekate.co.uk/.

March 27, 2017. “The Secret Lives of Puffins” (Mark Sisson)

  • Puffins are among the most instantly recognisable, iconic and well loved of birds. For many they are a highlight of the UK’s summer coastline and their colourful appearance, comedy antics and approachability just add to their popularity. Award-winning wildlife photographer Mark Sisson has spent several years photographing Puffins and the images in this talk beautifully encapsulate their charm and visual appeal. Mark has collaborated on book of the same name with leading wildlife writer Dominic Couzens. The talk covers the birds’ life cycle, behaviour, habitats and the current and future challenges that they face, along with many surprising facts and anecdotes. More at http://www.marksissonphoto.co.uk/.


October 23, 2017. To be announced.

November 27, 2017. To be announced.

January 22, 2018. To be announced.

February 26, 2018. “Roadrunner Country” (Keith Offord)

  • For a first wildlife-watching trip to the USA it would be difficult to beat the southern states in spring and no better a starting point than Texas. This massive state straddles both the east and west with a finger of land pointing down into Mexico. Moist woodlands in the east gradually give way to more arid stony desert in the west, bordered by the magnificent Rio Grande. In addition to a fabulous array of resident bird species (including such specialities as Greater Roadrunner and Green Jay), springtime sees the massed arrival of travellers from the south, including multitudes of warblers, hummingbirds, flycatchers and raptors. There are alligators, coyotes and rattlesnakes as well. This talk takes a close look at some of the most exciting wildlife of the southern states, following the Gulf coast right down to Mexico, up to the Big Bend National Park then into the beautiful Edwards Plateau. For more on Keith’s work, see http://www.keithofford.co.uk/.

March 26, 2018. To be announced.

SOS (Church Stretton) Email List

We would like to compile a list of email addresses of SOS members in the Church Stretton area and those who attend our meetings (whether members or not) in order to send out event reminders and to warn you of cancellations and changes.  If you would like to be included on this list, please send your name in an email to the Branch Secretary and identify the list you wish to be added to as the “SOS Church Stretton email list”. Your address will be used only for publicising SOS and related events and will not be provided to any outside parties under any circumstances.

Making your Bird Sightings Count

There are several opportunities locally to contribute to bird surveys that will enhance our knowledge of bird life in south-central Shropshire and contribute to conservation efforts.

Community Wildlife Groups.  There are eight Community Wildlife Groups in southern Shropshire, which cover most of the Shropshire Hills. All are doing bird surveys, and would welcome the involvement of other birdwatchers.  For information, see the Shropshire Community Wildlife Group website.

Records Needed of Threatened Species.  Leo Smith is interested in all breeding season records of Lapwing, Curlew, Dipper, Barn Owl and Red Kite.  Check here for information on sending him your observations.

Useful Links

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Page updated 03 November 2016 by AJA