SOS Logo CMYK (small)NT LogoBirds of Shropshire by Habitat & Season: a Birdwatching Course

Breaking News

We are pleased to announce that “Birds of Shropshire by Habitat and Season: a Birdwatching Course” will be offered again this coming autumn, winter and spring (2015-16).

The Course

The course will be led by Alan Heath, Dave Pearce and John Arnfield and will comprise eight indoor meetings (held at the Chalet Pavilion in the Cardingmill Valley, Church Stretton) and eight field trips (at various locations in the county), meeting between September 2015 and June 2016.

The course will meet roughly twice a month during this period (with a gap from mid-December until mid-January), on Tuesday evenings and a following Sunday. Dates for course meetings are shown in the table below.  In each month, a classroom session using a dual-screen presentation will introduce the birds expected in different environments and/or seasons. This is followed by an outdoor trip on a following Sunday morning (not always the next Sunday), during which you will put into practice the identification tips learned previously. You will accumulate expertise each month by building on the principles covered in previous sessions.

This course is co-sponsored by the Shropshire Ornithological Society (Church Stretton branch) and the  National Trust (Cardingmill Valley and the Shropshire Hills).

How to Join the Course

Course enrolment is limited, largely dictated by the logistics of field excursions.  To book a place on the course, please contact John Arnfield by one of the following means:

  • email (preferred): arnfield.2@osu.edu
  • telephone: 01694 724 170
  • post: Peel Wyke, Longhills Road, Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 6DS

and request a participation form or print out the form (MS Word format) that you can download here.  Return the form to John with a fee of £80.00 per person (for all 16 sessions).  Participants will be accepted onto the course in order of receipt of payments, up to the course limit.  Receipts are available on request.  Note also that there is a minimum number of participants required to offer the course.  Your cheque will not be deposited until that minimum number has been reached.  If the minimum enrolment is not achieved, your cheque will be returned.

Course Leaders

The course leaders are:

Course Email List

When you join this course, you will also be added to a course email list that will be used to disseminate information, instructions on finding field trip sites, hints, tips, discussions and, in the unlikely event the need arises, cancellations.  Class members may also send emails to the list but should be aware that the email will be distributed to all class members.  Hence, you should be careful when using your mailer’s “reply” function.

To send to the list, address your email to


or click on the above link.  If you wish to contact one of the course instructors directly, please use the appropriate email from the list above rather than using the list.  The list is intended for information of use and value to all course participants.

Arrangements will be made to accommodate those without email access.  Please make yourself known to John to cover this situation.

Locations & Times

Indoor sessions will meet in the National Trust’s Chalet Pavilion in the Cardingmill Valley [MAP], Church Stretton, at 7:30 p.m. on designated dates (see below). Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided during the break half-way through the class. For field trips, we will meet at 9:30 a.m. on designated Sunday mornings (see below) at the excursion destination.  For environmental reasons, and because many of the parking spaces are small, car sharing is encouraged.

Course Outline & Dates

You can select the items in the “Topic” column below for further information about the field trip, including instructions on getting to the venue and a list of target birds.  This information is not made available until immediately prior to the trip as locations may change due to weather conditions and reports of bird abundance at possible sites. Following the trip, a list of the bird species observed will be posted.  For a consolidated list of species seen on all trips to date, see the “Course Bird List” section below.

Indoor Meeting
Field Trip
September 22 September 27 Migration (Arrivals & Departures), Along with Wetland and Farmland Birds
October 27 November 1 Autumn and Early Winter Flocks in a Shropshire Waterway and Raised Bog Landscape
December 1 December 6 Wildfowl, Gulls and Waders of Open Waters and their Margins
January 26 January 31 Birds of the Meres, Wetlands and Adjacent Woodlands, Including Winter Finches, Tits and Buntings
February 23 February 28 Early Breeders, Displaying Raptors and Coniferous Forest Specialties
March 15 April 3 Early Arriving Migrants in Southern Shropshire Upland and Riverine Woodland Habitats
April 26 May 8 Summer Visitors and Breeding Birds of Mixed Woodlands
May 24 June 5 Birds of Moor and Heath

Course Bird List

This link (not yet activated) will take you to a page that lists all of the birds seen on course field trips.  You will also learn a bit about bird taxonomy (the scientific naming of birds) and the relationships among different species as revealed through taxonomy.

Supplementary Information

This section is used to provide links to web pages and other documents that relate to the material encountered in the classes.

Useful External Links

Web links to other sites related to course content will be located in this section as the need arises.

Page updated 30 July 2015 by AJA