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 (and non-members) are welcome to take part in branch activities as well as the main activities of the Society.

Breaking News


It’s that time again! If you would like to participate in the 2017 Red Grouse survey, download the following documents:
Red Grouse project recruiting leaflet
Project Briefing 2017
Participants’ Form 2017

If you would like further information, please contact Andrew Perry:
Andrew Perry (National Trust Ecologist)
Office phone 01694 725005, Mobile: 07425 144597


Both Lapwing and Curlew have suffered a massive contraction in range and population decline in the last 20 years or so. The Church Stretton branch of SOS, in collaboration with the Strettons Area Community Wildlife Group, are carrying out a new survey to find out how many there are, where they are, and monitor the population. This is necessary before any conservation measures to try and reverse the decline can be attempted. The survey will launch in 2017, in the area east of Church Stretton.

Expert birdwatching skills are not needed. It is only necessary for helpers to be able to recognise the two main target species. An orientation meeting will be held to describe what you need to do and how to do it.

For more information, select this link to download a leaflet with further details.


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 remaining indoor meetings for 2016-17 are listed below.  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.

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. “The Wildlife of North Shropshire” (Ben Waddams)

  • Ben Waddams is a wildlife artist living and working near Ellesmere. He lived in the USA for many years has traveled in search of exotic wildlife across Central America and Africa. Ben will present an illustrated talk on the variety of flora and fauna found in our part of the world. It is illustrated with photos and a couple of short films on appropriate. He will also discuss his wildlife painting, including photos showing a step-by-step of a work in progress. For more information, visit his website at http://www.benwaddams.com/.

November 27, 2017. ‘Sun, Sea and Sandpipers’ (Ian Butler)

  • Booking holidays will always leave bird watchers itching to find out what species they are going to discover. Starting with the Farne Islands in the UK, Ian’s photographic journey will show you what is on offer in the Camargue, the Red Sea and Borneo and how to find the best opportunities whilst there. Visit Ian’s website at http://www.ianbutlerphotography.co.uk/ for more.

January 22, 2018. AGM, followed by “Merseybeat” (Jeff Clarke)

  • Jeff’s ‘local patch’ is the under-regarded upper Mersey Estuary. When you know it as well as he does, the diversity of life and unexpected beauty of the area is brought into sharp relief. A surprising ‘tour de force’ of nature. Jeff’s website is http://www.jeffclarkeecology.co.uk/.

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

All external links on this website open in a new window or tab.

Page updated 17 February 2017 by AJA