EBwS Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Due to the continued daily increase in numbers of people with the Corona-19 virus across the UK, the change in status for this disease and the restrictions imposed by government, which are only expected to increase in the coming days, it has been decided to postpone the Essex Birdwatching Society’s ‘Woodland Birds’ conference due to be held at Writtle University College on Saturday 21st March 2020 until later in the year when it is hoped this disease will be under control and movement/gathering restrictions lifted.

As a responsible organisation the Society has a duty of care to the members, guests, speaker and exhibitors and under these special circumstances feels this is the correct decision in these difficult times to avoid possible contact with anyone that is infected with the disease.

We apologies to everyone that has booked places to attend the conference and were looking forward to an enjoyable day of lectures and the ‘light’ lunch spread. We trust that you appreciate this decision which was not an easy one to make after all the work undertaken by the members of the committee, but the welfare of everyone comes first.


The new date for the conference will be announced in due course with all booking being transferred to the new date. Alternatively if the revised date is not suitable then a full refund can be made on application to info.ebws@gmail.com

It should also be noted that ALL further indoor meetings and field trip meetings, as shown on the 2019-2020 fixture card, are cancelled. 

The new fixture card for 2020-2021 will be sent out in July with the next issue of Essex Birding magazine when it is hoped we can resume with our meetings from August 2020 onwards”.

Latest News

RSPB Old Hall Marshes car park closure

The RSPB have decided to no longer open the gate to RSPB Old Hall Marshes at the weekend, as of the 1st of February 2020. It will remain open as normal during the weekdays. It will still also be able to arrange access for organised groups wishing to access the reserve at the weekend.

Attached is a note that explains why they are doing this - as a result of a review of into the amount of resource put into maintaining a 7 day week operation at the reserve. By removing this they will be able to put more resource and time into carrying out vital conservation tasks and still maintain site security and prevent anti-social behaviour occurring on the reserve.

Old Hall Marshes Car Park Closure

Woodland Birds Conference



 Saturday 21st March 2020, Northumberland Lecture Theatre, Writtle University College, Writtle, CM1 3RP

08:45-09:45 Registration and refreshments – with time to view the exhibits and displays                                  

10:00-10:05 Welcome address by GERRY JOHNSON, EBwS Chairman

MORNING SESSION    Chaired by PETER DWYER, EBwS Membership Secretary


10:40-10:50 Beyond the Podium – up to ten minutes of delegate’s ‘Questions & Answers’ with Chris Gibson

10:50-11:25  ”THE BIRDS OF CHALKNEY WOODS”  DOUGAL URQUHART, Warden of Chalkney Woods for over twenty years

11:25-11:35 Beyond the Podium – up to ten minutes of delegate’s ‘Questions & Answers’ with Dougal Urquhart


12:10-12:20 Beyond the Podium up to ten minutes of delegate’s ‘Questions & Answers’ with Ken Smith

12:20-13:40 ’Light’ sandwich lunch break – time for informal discussions with speakers and to view the displays

AFTERNOON SESSION    Chaired by PETER DWYER, EBwS Membership Secretary

13:40-14:15 ”OWLS – SECRETS OF THE NIGHT” MIKE TOMS, Head of Communications for the British Trust for Ornithology

14:15-14:25 Beyond the Podium – up to ten minutes of delegate’s ‘Questions & Answers’ with Mike Toms

14:25-15:00 ”LOOKING FOR THE GOSHAWK – THE LOST RAPTOR” CONOR JAMESON, Author and Conservationist

15:00-15:10 Beyond the Podium – up to ten minutes of delegate’s ‘Questions & Answers’ with Conor Jameson

15:10-15:45 ”WILDLIFE ON THE EDGE” STEVE CALE, Artist, Photographer and Tour Guide

15:45-15:55 Beyond the Podium – up to ten minutes of delegate’s ‘Questions & Answers’ with Steve Cale

15:55-16:30 Summing up by GERRY JOHNSON and ‘Grand Raffle’ draw with so many splendid prizes to be won.