Sunday, March 11, 2007

NW Ringers Conference

I attended this Conference yesterday, held at Thurstaston Country Park Visitors Centre. It was a packed and intimate affair with most present knowing most of the other attendees.
The morning session was a celebration of 50 years of Hilbre Bird Observatory - with a potted history given by Chris Williams and Bob Anderson. This was following by a joint presentation by Jack Taylor and John Elliot comparing the movement of Northern Wheatears through Hilbre, Seaforth and the Sefton Coast. (Hopefully they will be writing up these results for publication). Tony Duckels followed with his 40 years of ringing Barn Owls in SW Lancs and Bill Hale presented some interesting data on theories around why some redshank show full breeding plumage during the nesting season and others do not. Although Bill has officially retired it was nice to learn that he is still very active on Banks Marsh adding to his studies of this little wader.
Stephen Murphy gave a nice presentation on his work for Natural England monitoring breeding successes, dispersal and movement of Hen Harriers in the North West.
Rob Robinson used BTO Ringing Data, from CES and RAS studies, to tell us what ringing provides in order to be able to analyse bird survival rates and trends, and Pete Fearnon gave a very nice presentation on his annual August ringing trips to Portugal - producing more than a pang of envy.
The meeting finished with a round-up of Skylark data produced by Ian Wolfenden and his years of study on the coastal dunes, a presentation and question and answer session with Jacquie Clark from the Ringing Scheme and a 'what if' analysis by Ian Spence on the future of ringing.

It was nice to renew acquaintances, put faces to names, and generally contribute to what was a nice and sociable day.

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