NW Ringers Conference

1 November 2008


The meeting was held in the conference centre at Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington, Cheshire.

We extend our thanks to STFC for their generous hosting of the event.

The conference organising committee was led by Bob Harris, but the travel agent rearranged his long-awaited trip to Australia so that Bob was 12,000 miles away and missed the conference!

(Thanks to Hugh Pulsford for most of these photos)

Peter Coffey (MRG) chaired the morning session:

Jenny Gill gave an enthralling account of the Icelandic-breeding population of Black-tailed Godwits, many of which winter in northwest England.

Stuart Sharp left us in no doubt of the value of colour-ringing birds, through his studies of Long-tailed Tits, Waxwings and Dippers.

The first keynote talk, by Ian Newton, reviewed migration and its role in population limitation.

After an excellent lunch in the adjacent restaurant, Malcolm Calvert (SMRG) chaired the afternoon session:

Our second keynote talk came from a transatlantic visitor, Bob Mulvihill, who explained the missing 'u' in the title of his talk:

although we didn't feature in the world as seen from Bob's home institution, Powdermill Nature Reserve in western Pennsylvania!:

In the traditional ringers' meeting, Jacquie Clark gave us news from the BTO and the Ringing Committee:

The work of the Wales Raptor Study Group was explained by Ian Spence:

Franz Bairlein came from Germany and told us about his latest results on migration in the different races of Wheatears:

The conference was closed by David Norman, Chairman of MRG, who commented that all but one of the speakers were professional ornithologists whilst the audience was almost entirely amateurs. It was not, however, a case of 'us' and 'them' because all of the speakers made their work readily understandable and all of them engaged volunteers in their projects.

The audience enjoyed the well-appointed lecture theatre:











The BTO brought their shop to provide us with much-needed ringing supplies:

And one of the conference supporters, Biota, set up their stall:


Conferences are for conferring, and the informal discussions between delegates are as important as the formal talks:

Franz Bairlein (Director of the Institut für Vogelforschung, Wilhelmshaven and Vogelwarte Helgoland) marked his position as Patron of MRG by presenting the Group with a copy of the 1926 'Der Vogelzug auf Helgoland' and four recent issues of Vogelwarte with papers on the phenology of migration at Heligoland. These were gratefully accepted by David Norman:

Thanks to the conference sponsors:

Cheshire County Council, Action Weaver Valley (Mersey Basin Campaign), CJ Wildbird Foods, United Utilities

and the Science and Technology Facilities Council

and to our supporters:

Liverpool University Press, Biota and Focalpoint.