Sunday, 7 December 2014

BTO Conference 2014

On the 5th to the 7th of December, me and my dad attended the annual BTO conference in Swanwick. Me and 5 other young birders got chosen to do a 8 minute talk in front of around 300 people although a little nervous I was quite looking forward to it.

Day 1
Before the conference we had a free morning so we spent that at North Cave Wetlands hoping to see 3 Tundra Bean Geese and thankfully we saw them. They were a little distant but we had some great scope views. Cracking birds. Also we had our latest ever Chiffchaff there to. Here are a couple of record shots of the Bean Geese.

Tundra Bean Geese
At around 2:30pm we caught the train to Swanwick for the Conference. We arrived at around 5pm due to delays! But when we did arrive it was great to catch up with some of the young birders like Ben Moyes, Toby Carter, Findlay Wilde, Josie Hewitt and Evie and Abby Miller, It was great talking about what they had seen during the year so far. On the Friday evening there wasn't much on so we had Tea and then listened to Helen Macdonalds talk about the history of Hawks and Humans and then we did a quiz where all the young birders got together to do it. We came 4th over all so we weren't to bad.
Day 2 
We got up had breakfast and got ready for the talks today. Firstly there was the opening of the conference by the BTO director, Andy Clements. After there was a talk by James Pearce Higgins which was about birds in a changing climate and then after that Kevin Gaston gave a talk on birds in an urbanising world. We then had lunch and I had got invited to have lunch with Chris Packham which I was really looking forward to also after he gave us a signed copy of his book '100 things which caught my eye'. Its a very interesting book with tons of great photos.
After we had 2 very interesting talks, one was about nesting with Dave Leech, this was basically about 75 years of celebrating nest recording and how well its been going in the past few years and the other talk was with Mark Thomas about Wildlife crime, its amazing how much wildlife crime there is, it really does need to stop. Then we had a quick break and after we went to do the ringing workshop and then we had an annual review of the BTO's work. 
Day 3  
We has breakfast and then it was time for our talks which I was a little nervous about. My talk was on nesting like about the different ways you can nest and the best nests that we have found this year including Whinchat, Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and Red Grouse. Thankfully it went well and the audience seemed to like it. It was much easier when I was up there doing it. I would just like to thank Lucy McRobert and the BTO for picking the young birders to do this talk. I would also like to say well done to all of the other young birders who did the talk. After Mike Toms did a talk on migration then after there was a raffle where as usual we won nothing lol.
There was a closing part where the highlights of the conference where discussed and after we had lunch and then sadly after a top weekend it was time to go, we then said our goodbyes. It was great talking to birders who had some great stories to share also it was nice to see all the young birders again. 


  1. Great write up Ellis , what a great event , well done on your talk mate and great way to start the weekend with a lifer

  2. You were brilliant Ellis and just remind me, how much is that book again :)

  3. Nice one Ellis - what a brilliant weekend.
    Well done to you and your mates - when you lot are running the BTO, save a job for me please ;)
    Pleased you enjoyed it

  4. A great blog post and it was great to see you again.