The Society holds monthly indoor or online meetings for most of the year, usually organised for the first Friday of each month. They are typically illustrated talks featuring a prominent local or national speaker.

Indoor meetings start at 20:00 at the Quaker Meeting House, 82 Rainsford Road, Chelmsford CM1 2QL. Limited parking on site for blue badge holders, but the parking meters in the area are 'free' to use after 18:30 during the evening.

Entrance for Members is £3.00, Non-members £4.00, charged on the door. Refreshments served during interval. Meetings start at 20:00 unless stated otherwise (i.e. AGM at 19:30).

Chelmsford City Car Parks no longer accept cash payment - you can pay by card, Apple/Google Pay or Mi Permit app but they are no longer taking cash.

Please note: To prevent damage to the polished wooden floor in the building ‘stiletto’ type high heel shoes and boots are not permitted in the Quaker Meeting House. Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.

Online Talks

Some of our monthly talks are presented online via YouTube. This enables us to offer a wider range of speakers from further afield, as well as allowing those who may not be able to travel to Chelmsford the opportunity to take part. There's also the added benefit of reducing our collective carbon footprint - something that the society has already done by moving our bi-monthly executive committee meetings to an online format.

Full details will be posted on our homepage and social media feeds in the week leading up to each talk, and you will also receive an email if you've subscribed to our mailing list (scroll to the bottom of the homepage for details).

Current Schedule

Title Event Date Description
WHERE YEEHA MEETS OLE (CHELMSFORD) 06-Sep-2024

RALPH & BRENDA TODD return to provide further insights into their wildlife travel in the winter sun as we traverse through Texas (Yeehaa), New Mexico and Southern California (Ole). This journey takes in Pelicans and Hummingbirds, Roseate Spoonbills and Whooping Cranes , Green Jays, Orioles and Warblers, before finally catching up with 1000’s of Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes. Along the way we will also experience close encounters with gray, blue and humpback whales, and the flora and fauna across these lands.

AVIAN FLU IN UK WILD BIRDS 2022-23: IMPACTS, CONSERVATION AND KNOWLEDGE GAPS (ONLINE) 04-Oct-2024

Since the 2021 outbreak of H5NI HPAI in the UK, data has been collated by various nature conservation bodies and organisations, including that submitted by birdwatchers via the BTO BirdTrack app and website. The UK hosts internationally important numbers of breeding waterbirds, and this group was most affected with species such as Great Skua, Northern Gannet and Black-headed Gull experiencing mortality rates exceeding 10% of the UK breeding population. During the outbreak, management guidelines were put in place and a number of data gaps and research priorities identified and PHIL ATKINSON from the BTO presents an update on the current situation. 

SVALBARD: LIFE ON THE COLD EDGE (CHELMSFORD) 01-Nov-2024

At 78 degrees north, lying between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard's unique bird life and landscapes make it an irresistible destination for photographers. PAUL ALISTAIR COLLINS takes us on a photographic journey across land and sea, fjords and tundra, celebrating the best of arctic birdlife under the midnight sun - from Arctic Foxes hunting Eiders and Little Auks, to the courtship rituals of Red-throated Diver, Phalaropes and Ptarmigan.

THE STATE OF HAMPSHIRE'S (UK) BIRDS (ONLINE) 06-Dec-2024

KEITH BETTON tells us about the changing populations of birds in his county, which hosted Britain's first Firecrests, Cetti's Warblers and Mediterranean Gulls. Hampshire also has around 250 pairs of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and 25 pairs of Stone-curlew. The county is a hotspot for many more uncommon species.

NORTHERN PERU: FROM THE PACIFIC TO THE HEART OF THE AMAZON (ONLINE) 03-Jan-2025

Northern Peru offers some of the best birding in the world. A complex topography, coupled with a relatively stable climate since the mid-Miocene, have led to the evolution of an amazing variety of habitats and many endemic bird species. ROB WILLIAMS takes us from the cold pacific waters of the Humboldt Current, across coastal deserts and dry forests, two ranges of the Andes with rain shadowed valleys dividing them, to the mega diverse Amazon basin. Each area supports a different avifauna, with over 1500 species to be found in a 300 km east-west transect, and new species still being discovered across the region.

BIRDS OF THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST (CHELMSFORD) 07-Feb-2025

This talk provides a comprehensive review of the birds and wildlife of this amazing, but rarely visited region. CHRIS COLLINS takes us on a journey, where we'll be visiting the  Sea of Okhotsk, Sakhalin Island, the Kamchatka Peninsula and Koriak and Chukotka to the north. Species to be found include auks (eg Tufted and Horned Puffins), Steller’s Sea-eagle and Siberian Rubythroat. Chris will also cover his involvement in a nine year project to locate new populations of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, successfully identifying new breeding sites for this amazing bird in 2011 and 2016 in collaboration with WWT Slimbridge.

GOA - BIRDS & WILDLIFE (CHELMSFORD) 07-Mar-2025

STEVE GRIMWADE from "Swallow Birding & Wildlife" takes us on a fantastic journey around the Indian state of Goa, which is very much a birdwatchers paradise and home to more than 450 species of birds and animals, including 13 species endemic to the Western Ghats.

THE FASCINATING COGNITIVE ABILITIES OF CORVIDS (CHELMSFORD) 04-Apr-2025

Corvids are distributed worldwide and inhabit harsh environments such as mountainous regions, but also thrive in urban areas. They are of broad significance for behavioural and ornithological research not only because of their ability to adapt to diverse habitats and live in complex societies, but also because of their remarkable cognitive skills. This talk by DR. CLAUDIA WASCHER provides an overview of recent findings from cognition research in different corvid species, and discusses what we can learn about the evolution of cognition from corvids.

Past Indoor Meetings

Title Event Date Description
A WILDLIFE TOUR OF EAST ANGLIA (after AGM at 19:30) 05-Apr-2024

A Wildlife Tour of East Anglia – Liz Huxley. We live in a fantastic part of the country for wildlife and this talk takes us through each month of the year, picking out some of the key sites to visit around East Anglia and some of the special target species to look out for.

THE WILDLIFE OF COPPED HALL 01-Mar-2024

The Wildlife of Copped Hall - Peter Warne. Copped Hall is a mainly Georgian mansion (there is a Victorian wing) which was extensively damaged by fire in 1917. Surrounded by 25 acres of gardens and lying close to the northern edge of Epping Forrest it is well positioned to provide a home for a diverse selection of wildlife.  After much legal wrangling a restoration project was initiated in the mid-1990’s and later – around 2012 – consideration started to be paid to monitoring the wildlife of the area.  At this point Peter Warne became involved, having come to the attention of the Copped Hall Trust following the publication of his short book “Finding Wildlife in Epping Forest”. 

Peter will be talking about conservation initiatives, both at Copped Hall and in liaison with the teams within Epping Forest. He will also discuss a new educational display for visitors, covering signs of global warming, farming practices and invasive species in our gardens, as well as the regeneration of the forest and how it is impacted by fungi, slime moulds and deer.

SCOTLAND – WILDLIFE OF THE HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS 02-Feb-2024

Scotland - Wildlife of the Highlands & Islands – Steve Grimwade. Swallow Birding & Wildlife's Steve Grimwade takes us on a journey, showcasing the amazing and diverse wildlife that can be found in the Scottish Highlands, the Islands of Mull and the Outer Hebrides! Not to be missed!

BTO WORK ON CURLEWS & WADERS (Online Only) 05-Jan-2024

BTO Work on Curlews & Waders (Online Only) – Samantha Franks. Sam's interests focus on exploring how our changing environment is influencing bird populations. After several years working in the Alaskan Arctic, she joined BTO in 2013 and is leading elements of the BTO's breeding wader research, with a particular focus on Curlew. Currently, she represents BTO at national Curlew forums, supervises a PhD project investigating landscape-scale conservation management for breeding Curlew in Breckland, and leads BTO's role in the Eastern England Curlew headstarting project. Her talk will cover the causes of Curlew declines, and how BTO's research on Curlew and other waders is contributing to informing the future of wader conservation in the UK.

DUNGENESS 01-Dec-2023

Dungeness  - Valerie Vile. Val will cover the ecology, diversity of wildlife and the history of Dungeness and why it is so unique. She will also tell us how the area has changed, and some of the key challenges it faces and how this may affect its future along with the sister reserve along the coast at Worth Marshes.

WILD ISLANDS: THE NATURE OF THE FALKLANDS (Online Only) 03-Nov-2023

Wild Islands: The Nature of the Falklands (Online Only) - Mark Sisson. This talk coincides with the publication of Mark's latest book of the same title, produced in association with Falklands Conservation.  This wonderful archipelago has become almost a spiritual photographic home for Mark over the last decade that he has been photographing there, and this talk looks to illustrate just why. You can expect plenty of penguins, an abundance of albatross and a diverse array of images that will illustrate the real nature of just why these islands offer so much in terms of wildlife and photography.

WHY DO BIRDS SING AT DAWN? THE ECOLOGY OF THE DAWN CHORUS 06-Oct-2023

Why do Birds Sing at Dawn? The Ecology of the Dawn Chorus - Stuart Brooker. The avian dawn chorus is a period of high song output performed daily around sunrise during the breeding season.  Singing at dawn is of such significance to birds that they remain motivated to do so amid the noise of numerous others.  Yet we still do not fully understand why the dawn chorus occurs. This talk will review the physiological, behavioural and environmental factor affecting the dawn chorus and the current theories that attempt to explain its existence.

BIRDING IN UGANDA 01-Sep-2023

Birding in Uganda - Tim Hayward. Tim will talk about a recent 10 day trip that he made through western and southern Uganda and some of the wonderful birds and other wildlife that can be found there.  Due to its location and wide variety of habitats, Uganda is one of the richest countries in Africa for birdlife.

VINE HOUSE FARM 14-Apr-2023

VINE HOUSE FARM (Online Talk)Nicholas Watts will explain how their conservation award winning commercial farming methods are undertaken with wildlife in mind, and how they aim to be as environmentally responsible as possible by ensuring a low carbon footprint through selling their own quality grown and UK sourced products.

BIRDS and WILDLIFE of COSTA RICA 03-Mar-2023

BIRDS and WILDLIFE of COSTA RICA (Indoor Meeting) Steve Grimwade from ‘Swallow Birding & Wildlife’ has recently spent a month in Costa Rica guiding tours. Steve will talk about, and show stunning images of, the birds, wildlife, and adventures they had in this colourful Central American country. Not to be missed!

PROJECT CAM TAG 03-Feb-2023

Project Cam Tag - Pete Howe (Indoor Meeting). The aim of this Project is to develop a satellite tag that incorporates a camera to capture images of those persecuting our Birds of Prey.

AFRICAN EUROPEAN MIGRANT BIRDS (CANCELLED) 06-Jan-2023

THIS TALK IS NOW CANCELLED, APOLOGIES.

URBAN PEREGRINES (Online) 02-Dec-2022

URBAN PEREGRINES (an ‘Online’ talk)Ed Drewitt has been studying Peregrines since 1998, when he moved to Bristol. He realised there was a lot to be learnt from Peregrines living in cities and began studying their diet and ringed them to find out more about their lives. His talk will explore what makes an urban Peregrine tick and why they are using our towns and cities.

SKOMER – PUFFINS and MANX SHEARWATER 04-Nov-2022

SKOMER – PUFFINS and MANX SHEARWATERAnn Forbes finds Puffins fascinating to watch and their biology and behaviour are equally fascinating. Much less showy but oh so interesting is the Manx Shearwater, a master ocean navigator, and a member of the tubenose bird family, it navigates by smell! Skomer Island has been monitored for over 60 years and is a stronghold for both these species, Ann is a retired Biology teacher with a lifelong interest in wildlife and her presentation will look at Skomer and all its birds.

BIRDS & WILDLIFE OF SRI LANKA 07-Oct-2022

Birds & Wildlife of Sri Lanka – Jonathan Forgham has visited Sri Lanka over 10 times in the last 8 years, recording all aspects of the island's wildlife. In 2017 he established a Learning Centre for disadvantaged teenagers in Galle in the south west of the island. He returns here frequently to help the youngsters to improve their quality of spoken and written English. He also is involved in a project called BEES (Biodiversity, Education and Exploration Society) which is presently replanting a rain forest with canopy trees following the removal of the Scots Pine put in during the 1940's. In total, he has recorded over 260 species of bird on the island as well as plenty of the insects, mammals and reptiles. This presentation will look at several of the National Reserves as well as the birds that can be seen by just wandering around the country lanes.

ARGENTINA to ANTARCTICA (Online) 02-Sep-2022

ARGENTINA to ANTARCTICA (an ‘Online’ talk) – We welcome back Steve Cale, who you may recall gave us a talk at the Woodland Birds conference earlier this year. This talk will concentrate on a wildlife journey from Argentina to Antarctica via some fascinating islands of the Southern Ocean.

QUEENSLAND – featuring BIRDS OF PARADISE & BOWERBIRDS 01-Apr-2022

QUEENSLAND – featuring BIRDS OF PARADISE & BOWERBIRDS – Bill Coster. The subtropical state of Queensland contains some of Australia’s most colourful and iconic birds, including several species of Bowerbirds. We also see two species of Birds of Paradise and a wealth of other forest bird photographs at many different locations within the state. We even make a visit to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.

PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THE RECENT INCREASE IN COVID-19 CASES THIS TALK WILL BE MOVED TO A ZOOM ONLY PLATFORM

ON the TRAIL of the CRANE 04-Mar-2022

ON the TRAIL of the CRANE – Part 2 – Ralph and Brenda Todd. Following on from their previous excellent Part 1 talk in November 2019 Ralph and Brenda will continue the Cranes migration journey through Europe

BIRDS of the RIVER BLACKWATER 04-Feb-2022

BIRDS of the RIVER BLACKWATER – Steve Grimwade. Please note this is now a virtual meeting streamed on Youtube. We welcome back Tout Guide Steve Grimwade from ‘Swallow Birding & Wildlife. This time with a local theme the River Blackwater where he has birdwatched for over 40 years. The talk will take us through the seasons and showcase the diverse selection of birdlife from divers to buntings. Highly recommended

WILDLIFE and WILD PLACES of MENORCE 07-Jan-2022

WILDLIFE and WILD PLACES of MENORCE – Chris Gibson. Please note this is now a virtual meeting streamed on Youtube. The northernmost of the Balearic Islands, Menorca is a wonderful place to experience wildlife throughout the year. A gentle island, protected throughout, it is largely unspoilt by mass tourism, and you could explore the whole island in a few days. Spring and autumn are the seasons to visit – migration times for birds moving between Africa and Europe; spring also for orchids and other wild flowers, including numerous species known from nowhere else in the world; and autumn for the ‘second spring’ of flowering bulbs and insects at their biggest and best. The talk will give you the whole story!

BIRDS and WILDLIFE of GUYANA 03-Dec-2021

BIRDS and WILDLIFE of GUYANA – Chris Collins. Bordered by Venezuela and Brazil, this small South American country is rarely visited by birdwatchers, despite having many birds to see. Chris has spent several months there and in this talk we will visit many of the the habitats which make Guyana such a unique destination. In the tropical forests there are antbirds, macaws as well as the majestic Harpy Eagle and on the savannahs, you will find Giant Anteaters and the highly endangered Sun Parakeet

BIRDING in KAZAKHSTAN 05-Nov-2021

BIRDING in KAZAKHSTAN – Rob Sheldon returns to show us some of the delights of Kazakhstan. This talk will highlight all of the key habitats and species that this amazing country has to offer including Black-winged Pratincole, Black and White-winged Larks in West Kazakhstan and Pallid Harrier in Central Kazakhstan as well as the fact that it is a hugely important area for migrating and breeding birds associated with the extensive wetlands of the region

FINDING WILDLIFE in EPPING FOREST 01-Oct-2021

FINDING WILDLIFE in EPPING FOREST – Peter Warne. In 2010 Peter wrote the first edition of his book ‘Finding Wildlife in Epping Forest’ with a second edition in 2012. On the back of this he was invited to study and monitor the wildlife of Copped Hall, a restoration project just south of Epping. Peter is also a keen photographer and as well as describing where to go, he will show us images of the wide variety of wildlife to be found in this western part of the county   

BIRDS of JAPAN 03-Sep-2021

BIRDS of JAPAN – Nigel Moorhouse from ‘Sarus Bird Tours’. Japan is a diverse country of many islands stretching from the north in Hokkaido with equal latitude to Canada, to the southernmost Yaeyama Islands being similar to the Bahamas. This talk will cover a year in the life of the birds and wildlife of the Island that make up Japan including Brown Bears walking from hibernation in the Summer Hokkaido’s Red-crowned Cranes gathering to dance, while the world’s largest eagle, Steller’s Sea Eagle, comes down from the far north to haunt the harbours.  

The KINGDOM of BHUTAN - 'LAND of the DRAGON' 15-Jan-2021

CANCELLED - The KINGDOM of BHUTAN - 'LAND of the DRAGON' - A small country but one of the most diverse on Earth due to intact forests and an ancient culture that values nature (350-400 bird species). It is one of the least visited, only opening to tourism in the 1970's. Duncan Macdonald from 'Speyside Wildlife' will introduce us to some of the rewards - Ibisbill, Satyr Tragopan and Rufous-necked Hornbill to name but a few; this will be another first-rate presentation, well worth it!