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We are very sorry to have to announce that James Ferguson-Lees, President of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society, died on the 11th of January at the age of 88. James moved to the village of Rode in Somerset in the late 1970s, and in 1984 he carried out a breeding bird survey of the Longleat Estate and later he became involved, together with John Pollard, a founder member and long-time Treasurer of WOS, in a project to install Pied Flycatcher nest boxes at Longleat. It was WOS’s good luck that because of this connection, he decided to become involved in the activities of WOS rather than the Society’s Somerset counterpart. He joined the Society in 1984 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 1994, where he served until 2006 when he was elected President of WOS, a position he held until his death. Among his many contributions to the work of the Society were chairing the Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas Group, responsible for planning and organizing the fieldwork for Birds of Wiltshire (1995-2001) and subsequently as Chief Editor on the Birds of Wiltshire Editorial Board (2002-2007). James had also held many senior positions in the national birding community, including editor of British Birds, President of the British Trust for Ornithology, Deputy Director of the RSPB and Records Committee Chairman of the British Ornithologists’ Union. He wrote or co-authored a number of books and was one of the original planners of The Birds of the Western Palearctic. He will be greatly missed.

A full obituary will be published in WOS News and in Hobby in due course.

.....to Parliament seeking a moratorium on the hunting of critically declining wading birds. Woodcock, snipe and golden plover are shot in the UK despite serious, ongoing population declines. Chris is proposing that a moratorium should be imposed to allow the impact of shooting to be established by independent scientific investigation and any necessary regulation introduced to ensure that shooting is sustainable. 

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167410  

Matt Prior is MDNEP Wildlife Champion 2016

At the recent Marlborough Downs NEP Spring Celebration, Matt Prior, Conservation Officer for WOS was named as MDNEP Wildlife Champion 2016. MDNEP is a farmer led project which aims to enhance this superb area of Wiltshire farmland for wildlife, community and access. Matt was one of several speakers during the evening and gave a talk about the ringing and monitoring of farmland birds. It is pertinent that this is the first time this prestigious award has been given to a person who is not a farmer and demonstrates how highly Matt’s efforts in monitoring and conserving farmland birds are rated and appreciated. Well done, Matt, you deserve this wonderful award.

Matr Prior champion

Many members of the WOS will already be subscribers to British Birds or may have taken up trial offers. Whether or not, you may like to receive their free e-newsletter every month. This offers a flavour of what has been published recently and what is in the pipeline in areas such as book of the month, news and comment, the rarities section and special offers.

This is a new initiative from one of Britain’s leading birding publications. It covers the UK and Western Palearctic and has been the birdwatchers’ journal of record since 1907. It is read and recommended by many amateur and professional ornithologists, writers and photographers with Simon King stating that ‘British Birds is the gold standard of ornithological literature in the UK’.  

    To receive the newsletters, just log on to www.britishbirds.co.uk and complete the sign up form at the bottom of the page. Give it a try.


Information about WOS

Wiltshire Ornithological Society was formed on November 30th, 1974, and has grown in recent years to more than 500 members.

Our mission is to encourage and pursue the study, recording and conservation of birds in Wiltshire

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