Friday, December 14, 2007

BTO Conference

It's been a hectic few days - hence the reason for not posting recently. I have just returned from the annual BTO Conference at Swanwick in Derbyshire, via the Lakes and Leighton Moss. But this post is about the conference.
The Friday evening was a potted history of the BTO as seen through the eyes of the departing Jeremy Greenwood. Jeremy, who had been the BTO Director since 1987, was also quick to indicate that the BTO was a intimate partnership between staff and volunteers - a symbiotic relationship in its truest sense.

Saturday started off with a lecture from the RSPB International Species Recovery Officer, Chris Bowden, on the ugly looking critter called the Bald Ibis. Charismatic is a word I would not use of this species. Rhys Green followed detailing how climate change may affect bird distribution - pushing the pre-publication offer of 'A climatic atlas of European breeding birds' - but nevertheless a good presentation indicating, by example, that soon serins may be prevalent within this country.

The enigmatic Mick Marquiss following using three examples of bird studies that he has undertaken during his career and that how chance meetings and throw-away statements can give rise to whole research projects. His study of White-tailed sea-eagles apparently taking live lambs was particularly revealing.

The rest of Saturday was taken up with 'business' - the Regional Network AGM and parallel presentations on recently completed survey work.

Another late night was followed on the Sunday by Moss Taylor giving some results of the eight years in the making Norfolk Bird Atlas, which was followed by a soon to be redundant - he works at Monks Wood, soon to be closed in government cutbacks - Tim Sparks on the Phenology of Bird Migration.

Stuart Butchart of Bird Life International followed detailing the globally threatened species throughout the world. The National BTO Atlas Organiser completed the conference talking about the new Atlas project giving some (very) early results - increasing Buzzard, Stonechat and Little Egret to name but a few.

Climatic change had a theme in most presentations. The next few years should be even more interesting.

It was a very enjoyable weekend.