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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

RED GROUSE COUNT

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
Andrew.Perry@nationaltrust.org.uk

LAPWING & CURLEW SURVEY

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.

Meetings

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?

2017-18

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/.

2018-19

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. To be announced.

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.

Useful Links

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Page updated 23 April 2017 by AJA