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.
The Church Stretton branch of the SOS, in conjunction with the National Trust (Cardingmill Valley & Shropshire Hills), is again offering an introductory and “improving skills” birding course in 2017-18. The course is run by Allan Heath, Dave Pearce and John Arnfield.
The course will meet twice a month from September 2017 to May 2018 (with a break for most of December and January), on Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings. In each month, a classroom session using a dual-screen presentation will introduce the birds expected in different environments and/or seasons. This is followed by an outdoor trip on a following Sunday morning, during which participants will put into practice the identification tips learned previously.
If you are aware of anyone who would be interested in this course, please forward this information to them.
Additional details (including procedures for signing up) are available on the course website at
or by contacting John at firstname.lastname@example.org or (01694) 724 170.
Branch Secretary Position
URGENT! I will be standing down from the Church Stretton SOS committee at the AGM in January 2018, so we will be in need of a replacement Secretary at that time. This is not an excessively onerous job and the talk scheduling part is quite satisfying.
The duties of Secretary are as follows.
- Find and book speakers for monthly meetings.
- Contact speakers shortly before the meeting at which they will present to sort out last minute details, directions etc.
- Arrange publicity for each meeting (notices in publications and on email lists, and make and distribute posters around town).
- Prepare the agenda and minutes of the prior year for the AGM in January.
- Take minutes at the AGM.
- Prepare a report for the central society once a year indicating what we have done over that 12 months.
If anyone would be interested in taking on this job, please contact me. Naturally, I will be glad to advise and provide useful files etc to my successor. I would suggest that whoever takes over needs to have access to a computer (for email and creating documents and posters). For your information, I have completed the programme for 2017-18 already and will have finished that for 2018-19 by the time I resign. Hence, the new Secretary can start with the 2019-20 season.
I regret this decision but I am completely swamped with commitments and urgently need to cut down.
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 2016-17 season is now over but the programmes for the next two seasons are well advanced (and are listed below). Why not put these dates in your calendar now to avoid missing these instructive and entertaining presentations?
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. “Finland Through the Seasons” (Philip Mugridge)
- Finland is a fantastic country for wildlife. Phil has visited many times through the seasons and he will show us birds, including birds of prey, grouse species, owls and a variety of northern passerines. He will also show us bears and other mammals. For more on Phil’s work, see http://www.willridgeimages.co.uk/.
October 22, 2018. “A Birding Migration – Birds of Lesvos” (Oliver Smart)
- Lesvos has been well documented for its impressive list of migratory species passing through each spring. Having visited three years in succession to witness the spectacle of migration Oliver’s talk will visit many of the important birding areas on the island and the value of each to the species that stop to refuel for their long journeys north. Oliver will also illustrate many of the common resident species as well as some other animals that live on this fantastic Greek island. Visit Oliver’s website at http://www.smartimages.co.uk/index.php.
November 26, 2018. A talk by Allan Heath (title and description will follow)
January 28, 2019. “From Alaska to Argentina: Wildlife through the Americas” (Mark Sisson)
- A description of this talk will be posted here shortly.
February 25, 2019. “The Forty Million Year Old Fisherman” (Ellie Rothnie)
- A description of this talk (which is focused on the Dalmatian Pelican) will be posted here shortly.
March 25th, 2019. 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.
BTO Garden BirdWatch. Interested in contributing to a scientific knowledge of the relationship between gardens and bird? Join the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch survey and send regular reports of which birds (and other animals) are using your garden. Join now and take advantage of a free book offer. Contact John Arnfield by email or on (o1694) 724 170.
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.
All external links on this website open in a new window or tab.
- Shropshire Ornithological Society
- RSPB, Shropshire Local Group
- RSPB, South Shropshire Local Group
- Shropshire Wildlife Trust
- Shropshire Wildlife Trust (Strettons Branch)
- Shropshire Community Wildlife Groups