Club News

OBC AGM to be held in Cley, Norfolk

Cley Mill © Andrew Dunn /  CC 2.0

Cley Mill © Andrew Dunn / CC 2.0

Advance notice that the Oriental Bird Club’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 21st September 2019 in Cley Village Hall, Norfolk, UK.

As ever, there will be a packed agenda of top quality speakers during the day – details to follow. For the time being, be sure to make a note in your diary.

At that time of year, autumn migration is in full swing, and given favourable winds, we can reasonably expect birds from the Asian region to be reaching the UK’s shores.

So why not make it a full weekend and include some birding in fabulous Norfolk at this prime time of year? We hope to see as many of you there as possible!

Forthcoming book auction

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Dominic Winter will be selling books from Martin Woodcock’s collection on 12th December. It includes scarce titles on Asian and African birds, and much else, including a number of extra-illustrated “one-offs,” some with original watercolur vignettes by Martin.

The catalogue will be online on the Dominic Winter website on 30th November and the hard copy catalogue will be available from 3rd December.

Diary date: 2018 Autumn Meeting

The OBC Autumn Meeting, incorporating the 34th AGM, will be held in the Wilkinson Room, St John the Evangelist, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8RN on Saturday 22nd September 2018. Doors open at 10:30 and the meeting starts at 11:00. All are welcome – please bring your friends. Snacks, cakes and hot and cold drinks will be available all day.

Speakers include: John Geeson on Birding Highlights of the Tibetan Plateau H S Sathya Chandra Sagar on Impacts of bird trapping in post-logged forest in lowland Sumatra James Robinson on Fighting to save the Spoon-billed Sandpiper - Dr Nigel Collar on Unidentified flying objects in Asia Pete Morris on Japan – Birding through the Seasons

Download the meeting agenda here...and see you there! Minutes of the 33rd AGM, held in September 2017.

BirdingASIA 29

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OBC Members should already have received the latest edition of BirdingASIA 29. Another issue packed full of the latest news from the region, including articles on latest taxonomic updates, species new to Malaysia and elsewhere in the region, new breeding records, latest sightings and much much more…

As an OBC member you will receive two issues of BirdingASIA per year plus our scientific journal Forktail – all for a bargain membership fee. So don’t delay, join today!

BirdingASIA 28

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OBC Members should already have received the latest edition of BirdingASIA 28. Another issue packed full of the latest news from the region, including articles on latest taxonomic updates, species new to Malaysia and elsewhere in the region, new breeding records, latest sightings and much much more…

As an OBC member you will receive two issues of BirdingASIA per year plus our scientific journal Forktail – all for a bargain membership fee. So don’t delay, join today!

Shrike photos sought

Chinese Grey Shrike  ©  James Eaton/Birdtour Asia

Chinese Grey Shrike © James Eaton/Birdtour Asia

Norbert Lefranc and Tim Worfolk are preparing a  revised edition of 'Shrikes: a Guide to the Shrikes of the World' for Bloomsbury Publishing.

The book will include photos and the authors are seeking images of as many species, subspecies and recognisable plumages as possible. Photos should be uncropped, preferably in RAW or TIFF format, however for rarely photographed species a high quality JPEG may be acceptable.

All published photos will be individually credited. Unfortunately the budget is insufficient to allow payment, but contributing photographers will receive a copy of the book. Please contact Tim Worfolk timworfolk@blueyonder.co.uk if you think you can help.

2017 Autumn Meeting

2017 Autumn MeetingThe OBC Autumn Meeting, incorporating the 33rd AGM, will be held in the Wilkinson Room, St John the Evangelist, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8RN on Saturday 23rd September 2017.

Doors open at 10:30  and the meeting starts at 11:00. All are welcome – please bring your friends. Snacks, cakes and hot and cold drinks will be available all day.

The Annual General Meeting, at which only OBC members may vote, will be held at 12:10 pm.

Programme

10:30 Doors open – hot drinks & cakes available 11:00 Opening remarks by the Chairman 11:15 Species conservation beyond borders: the need for collaboration Rob Sheldon, Chairman of OSME 12:10 Annual General Meeting 12:40 Lunch break – refreshments and sales 13:40 In search of the Grey Ghost – Snow Leopards and birds of Ladakh. Andy Mears 14:30 The Asian songbird crisis Brian Sykes 15:15 Winners! OBC Prize Draw 2017 15:30 Break – refreshments & sales 15:50 Is the Pochard Baering up? Updating Baer’s Pochard conservation Debbie Pain, Director of Conservation, WWT 16:40 Beidaihe: migration on the East Asian Flyway Mark Andrews 17:20 Closing remarks by the Chairman and day raffle draw 17:30 Meeting closes

Day raffle in aid of the OBC Conservation Fund

Minutes of 32nd OBC AGM

OBC Annual Report & Accounts 2016

Getting there: Parking in side streets around the venue is very limited and we recommend that you travel by rail where possible or use the ‘Park and Ride’ service, see: http://www.cambridgeparkandride.info/babrahamroad.shtml Walking time from Cambridge Station forecourt is about 15-20 minutes. Walk up Station Road to the junction with Hills Road and turn left. The venue is on the left hand side of Hills Road, about 400m after it crosses the railway, directly opposite Homerton College. There is a frequent bus service from Drummer Street bus station via the railway station forecourt, and along Hills Road. For a map, type the postcode CB2 8RN into www.streetmap.co.uk.

BirdingAsia 27 published

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OBC Members already, or should shortly receive the latest edition of BirdingASIA 27. Another issue packed full of the latest news from the region, including articles on recent taxonomic changes proposed for Asian birds, breeding birds of Wallacea, the Asian songbird crisis, Rote Island Indonesia, Virachey National Park Cambodia and much much more...

As an OBC member you will receive two issues of BirdingASIA per year plus our scientific journal Forktail - all for a bargain membership fee. So don't delay, join today!

BirdingASIA 26 distributed

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The December 2016 issue of BirdingASIA should have reached all members by now. As ever, the issue is packed full of information from the Oriental region, including an article on Breeding records of the Sunda Frogmouth Batrachostomus cornutus, which features on the cover.

Non-members can find out just what they're missing here, and they'd be more than welcome to join the Club online here.

2016 Autumn Meeting

The OBC Autumn Meeting, incorporating the 32nd AGM, will be held in the Wilkinson Room, St John the Evangelist, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8RN on Saturday 29th October 2016. The meeting starts at 11:00 and all are welcome - please bring your friends. Snacks, cakes and hot and cold drinks will be available all day.

Sales by WildSounds Prize draw in aid of the OBC Conservation Fund The AGM, at which only OBC members may vote, will be held at 12:10

Parking in side streets around the venue is very limited and we recommend that you travel by rail where possible or use the 'Park and Ride' service (www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20149/park_and_ride). Walking time from Cambridge Station forecourt is about 15-20 minutes. Walk up Station Road to the junction with Hills Road and turn left. The venue is on the left hand side of Hills Road, about 400m after it crosses the railway, directly opposite Homerton College. There is a frequent bus service from Drummer Street bus station via the railway station forecourt, and along Hills Road. For a map, type the postcode CB2 8RN into ww.streetmap.co.uk.

Please find here the Minutes of the 2015 AGM, held in September 2015 and the OBC Accounts for 2015, both in PDF format.

Programme 10:30   Doors open – hot drinks & cakes available 11:00   Opening remarks by the Chairman 11:15    The Bengal Florican in India and Nepal – new insights from satellite telemetry – Paul Donald, Principal Conservation Scientist, RSPB 12:10   Annual General Meeting 12:40   Lunch break  –  refreshments and sales 13:40   How many bird species ARE there in Asia? – Dr Nigel Collar, Birdlife International 14:30  Birding in China 1984—2016 – Dr Per Alstrom , Swedish University of Agricultural  Sciences 15:20   Break for refreshments & sales 15:50   Remote Sulawesi –  a search for hidden avian gems – Mike Edgecombe 16:30   The Beijing Cuckoo Project: tracking migrations to engage, discover and inspire – Dr. Chris Hewson,  BTO Senior Research Ecologist, International Research Team 17.15   Prize draw and closing remarks by the Chairman 17:30   Meeting closes

Spoon-billed Sandpiper wintering site under threat

Spoon-billed Sandpiper © Richard Thomas/TRAFFIC

Spoon-billed Sandpiper © Richard Thomas/TRAFFIC

Khok Kham, one of only two regular wintering sites in Thailand for the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other wader species of the East Asian-Australasian flyway is under threat from a solar farm development.

A number of Thai organizations and individuals are campaigning against the development. The Oriental Bird Club is offering our support to their efforts.

More information about the nature of the threat can be found in this article on the Birdguides website.

BirdingASIA 25 distributed

Oriental Bird Club members should now have received their latest issue of BirdingASIA 25. Featuring a superb image of a Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus photographed near Shilt, Great Himalayan National Park, Dirthan, Himachal Pradesh, India, by Jainy Kuriakose on the cover, the issue is packed full of bird news from around the region.

For anyone with an interest in birds of the Oriental region, subscribing to the Oriental Bird Club to receive your biannual BirdingASIA and the Club’s Journal, Forktail, is an absolute necessity – so if you  haven’t done so already, subscribe today!

Flappy goes cuckoo and leads a merry dance

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There was exciting news earlier this week when Flappy – or Flappy McFlapperson to give her full name: the female Cuckoo sponsored by the Oriental Bird Club through the Beijing Cuckoo Project—apparently began her southward migration. Speculation was rife as to whether she would head towards Africa or South Asia. However, as the maps below demonstrate, she is not about to give her secret away just yet.

By 15th July, Flappy was back in China, having been tracked to the edge of the Gobi Desert, and it appeared as if she was retracing her route from her tagging location in Beijing.

Things looked to be quite normal, but then her latest position revealed she had headed north once more to a location in Mongolia to the southeast of where she had started, thus completing three sides of a parallelogram!

Although the behaviour might appear extraordinary, such return movements of southbound migrants are not unknown, according to the BTO’s Dr Chris Hewson, who manages the project.

According to Hewson, migrant birds are sometimes even known to return to where they began their autumn migration.

In this instance, it is possible that on encountering harsh conditions on the edge of the Gobi Desert, Flappy turned back north to where she knew there was favourable habitat and a food source.

The next few days are keenly awaited to see where Flappy will make her next move.

Meanwhile, the other four cuckoos fitted with transmitters through the Beijing Cuckoo Project are all still on their breeding grounds.

All five of the birds were trapped in the Beijing area where local schoolchildren chose names for them and encouraged to follow their movements online as they move first to their breeding grounds then in the autumn to their as yet unknown wintering grounds.

The Beijing Cuckoo Project aims to engage Chinese audiences about the wonders of bird migration with a view to promoting conservation and helping to strengthen the links between Chinese and international bird conservation organisations.

The main scientific goal will be to discover the presently unknown migration route and winter quarters for Common Cuckoos breeding in East Asia.

The Beijing Cuckoo Project is a collaboration between the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (BWRRC), China Birdwatching Society (CBS), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Birding Beijing.

Alongside OBC, other supporters of the project are the Zoological Society of London and the British Birds Charitable Foundation.

Flappy makes a flying start

Flappy at the start of her tagged journey.

An exciting new project is currently underway to find the wintering grounds of East Asia's Common Cuckoos.

Through the Beijing Cuckoo Project, satellite transmitters have been placed on five Common Cuckoos in order to track their international movements.

The birds were all trapped in the Beijing area where local schoolchildren have chosen names for them and encouraged to follow their movements online as they move first to their breeding grounds then in the autumn to their as yet unknown wintering grounds.

The Oriental Bird Club has sponsored a transmitter on one of the cuckoos, which the pupils at Dulwich International School, Beijing, chose to name Flappy McFlapperson.

The project follows a hugely successful study on Common Cuckoos breeding in the United Kingdom that for several years has tracked the birds' movements between Europe and their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa.

That project attracted huge interest, both from the scientific community and from those with an interest in the natural environment.

The Beijing Cuckoo Project similarly aims to engage Chinese audiences about the wonders of bird migration with a view to promoting conservation, and help to strengthen the links between Chinese and international bird conservation organisations.

The main scientific goal will be to discover the presently unknown migration route and winter quarters for Common Cuckoos breeding in East Asia.

Speculation is rife about whether the birds will head for: Southeast Asia or, like their European cousins, sub-Saharan Africa.

Flappy, which is probably of the race canorus (blood analysis should confirm), has already provided some interesting insights into Common Cuckoo migration in the region. Following her fitting with a transmitter at Cuihu Urban Wetland Park, she first headed east then  NNW and is currently on the border of Mongolia and Russia. The route taken suggests she flew in an arc around the Mongolian Plateau.

Remarkably a second female cuckoo, tagged 161315, followed almost precisely the same route and at one point the two were within 50 km of one another in the Hentiyn Mountains. However, female 161315  carried on even further north and is now around 200 km east of Lake Baikal.

By contrast the three tagged male cuckoos, probably of the race bakeri, have all remained in the Beijing area.

You can keep up-to-date with all the latest developments through the Beijing Cuckoo Project pages on the Birding Beijing website, which includes further migration maps.

The Beijing Cuckoo Project is a collaboration between the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (BWRRC), China Birdwatching Society (CBS), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Birding Beijing.

Alongside OBC, other supporters of the project are the Zoological Society of London and the British Birds Charitable Foundation.

Forktail 31 published

OBC Members will now have received, or shortly be receiving, their copy of Forktail 31 appeared later than anticipated, for which the Club apologies. The delay was due to technical problems outside of our control. However, we are sure members will consider it has certainly been worth the wait. The latest issue is packed full of 14 full papers and 7 short notes covering a wide variety of topics. Among the main papers is one documenting the extinctions or near-extinctions caused by excessive wild trapping and trade in a number of Asian bird species. This is an issue of growing concern, but there is gathering momentum for action to be taken.

A paper on the number of species and subspecies in the Red-bellied Pitta Erythropitta erythrogaster complex is certain to be of particular interest to pitta-listers.

Non-members will have to wait until 2018 before they can download all the papers from Forktail 31. The Club's policy is to make the scientific information freely available three years after publication date. The papers from Forktail 29 will therefore soon be available on this website.

BirdingASIA 24 published

Oriental Bird Club members should now have received their latest issue of BirdingASIA 24. Featuring a superb image of a Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara by Jainy Kuriakose on the cover, the issue is packed full of bird news from around the region.

Articles include the latest taxonomic updates - splits and other changes - through to little known birding areas in the Philippines, together with all the latest conservation news.

For anyone with an interest in birds of the Oriental region, subscribing to the Oriental Bird Club to receive your biannual BirdingASIA and the Club's Journal, Forktail, is an absolute necessity - so if you  haven't done so already, subscribe today!

OBC Autumn Meeting 2015

The OBC Autumn Meeting, incorporating the 31st AGM, will be held in the Wilkinson Room, St John the Evangelist, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8RN on Saturday 5th September 2015. The meeting starts at 11:00 and all are welcome - please bring your friends. Snacks, cakes and hot and cold drinks will be available all day.

Sales by WildSounds Prize draw in aid of the OBC Conservation Fund The AGM, at which only OBC members may vote, will be held at 12:00

Parking in side streets around the venue is very limited and we recommend that you travel by rail where possible or use the 'Park and Ride' service (www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20149/park_and_ride). Walking time from Cambridge Station forecourt is about 15-20 minutes. Walk up Station Road to the junction with Hills Road and turn left. The venue is on the left hand side of Hills Road, about 400m after it crosses the railway, directly opposite Homerton College. There is a frequent bus service from Drummer Street bus station via the railway station forecourt, and along Hills Road. For a map, type the postcode CB2 8RN into ww.streetmap.co.uk.

Please find here the Minutes of the 2014 AGM, held in November 2014 and the OBC Accounts for 2014, both in PDF format.

Programme 10:30 Doors open - hot and cold drinks available 11:00 Opening remarks by the Chairman 11:15 'China's Grippers' - a talk on the most sought-after birds of China by Pete Morris 12:00 Annual General Meeting 12:30 Lunch break - refreshments and sales 13:30 'Baer's Pochard: responding to a critical situation' by Dr Debbie Pain, Director of Conservation at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust 14:15 'In search of the endemic birds of Taiwan' by Andy Walker 15:00 'Restoration of Indonesian rainforest - sustainable model or Government whim?' by Andrew Impey, Head of Global Habitats, RSPB 15:45 Break for refreshments and sales 16:00 'Bangladesh's Spoon-billed Sandpiper and World Shorebirds Day' by Mya-Rose Craig (aka Birdgirl) 16:30 'Videoing around the Philippines' by Keith Blomerley 17:15 Prize draw and closing remarks by the Chairman 17:30 Meeting closes