Speakers at the 2019 Bird Conference

The 2019 Herts Bird Club/BTO Conference took place in Hatfield on Saturday 2nd March. It was well-attended and kindly hosted and supported by Affinity Water at their headquarters.

Vicky Duxbury talks about Swift conservationConference speakers (left to right) Rupert Evershed, Graham Knight, Vicky Duxbury, Alister Leggatt, Hugh Hanmer, Peter Delaloye and Martin Ketcher

The Conference is organised to provide an update on the work of the two organisations, including presentations and an opportunity for birdwatchers to meet and share their stories of the past year.

After a report from Alister Leggatt of Affinity Water on the current state of water supplies in the county, Vicky Duxbury gave a talk on her work with the Wild Tring group which is aiming to conserve swifts and their nesting places. Martin Ketcher then talked about his long-term voluntary work monitoring whinchats in Geltsdale. Martin and Murray Orchard gave an update on BTO survey work in the Hertfordshire.

Outgoing Bird Club Chairman Peter Delaloye (left) with his successor, Rupert EvershedAfter the break, Peter Delaloye (pictured, left)  gave notice of his stepping down as Chairman of the Bird Club and introduced Rupert Evershed who is taking on the role. The Bird Club is very grateful to Peter for all he has done over many years and Rupert presented him with a small token of appreciation on behalf of the Committee.

The review of the birds of 2018 was given by Graham Knight, including an account of the discovery of the Therfield Pallid Harrier by the finder, Stuart Cossey. The final talk of the day was by Hugh Hanmer, who described his research on owls for the BTO, including some fascinating discoveries of their movements through satellite tagging. The conference concluded with the announcement of the winner of the photograph of the year award – Derek Girvan for his stunning picture of a black-headed gull at Marsworth Reservoir.

Photographs ©Tim Hill