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Habitat & Season: a Birdwatching Course


Do you enjoy watching birds?  Would you like to expand your expertise by building on your current knowledge of common birds?  Do you know which birds to expect in different habitats in Shropshire?  Would you like to be able to identify the characteristic birds of the county in different seasons? If so, this course is for you.

The Course

The indoor portion of the course will meet roughly monthly from October 2022 to June 2023, on Tuesday evenings. A classroom session will introduce the birds expected in different environments and/or seasons. This is followed by an outdoor trip on a following Sunday morning (not necessarily the next one), 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.

Course Leaders

The course leaders are Allan Heath, Dave Pearce and John Arnfield. Initially, the former two will be involved in the classroom and field sessions while John will work in the background on organisation and administration.

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

Locations & Times

Field excursions are informal and friendly and are designed to consolidate what you have learned from the indoor sessions.

Indoor sessions will meet in the National Trust’s Chalet Pavilion in the Cardingmill Valley, Church Stretton, at 7:30 p.m. on designated dates. A map of the indoor meeting location, which can be panned, scrolled and zoomed, is available here: the meeting location is shown by an open orange arrow. 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 at that month’s destination, detailed directions to which will be provided. Please check your email about 08:00-08:30 on field trip Sundays to ensure there are no weather-related cancellations. These will be sent out only if the trip has been abandoned. For environmental reasons, and because many of the parking spaces are small, car sharing is encouraged.

Course Outline

Please note that these dates are subject to change for the next couple of weeks. If they have to be altered, you will be contacted if you have registered an interets in the course and will be free to withdraw with reimbursement of any fees paid.

  • 18 October 2022: Migration (Arrivals & Departures), Along with Wetland and Farmland Birds. Fieldtrip: Venus Pool, 23 October 2022.
  • 1 November 2022:Autumn and Early Winter Flocks in a Shropshire Waterway and Raised Bog Landscape. Fieldtrip: Whixall Moss, 13 November 2022.
  • 6 December 2022: Wildfowl, Gulls and Waders of Open Waters and their Margins. Fieldtrip: Chelmarsh Reservoir, 11 December 2022.
  • 17 January 2023: Birds of the Meres, Wetlands and Adjacent Woodlands, Including Winter Finches, Tits and Buntings. Fieldtrip: Cole Mere & Wood Lane. 22 January 2023.
  • 28 February 2023: Early Breeders, Displaying Raptors and Coniferous Forest Specialties. Fieldtrip: Sowdley Woods, 5 March 2023.
  • 4 April 2023: Early Arriving Migrants in Southern Shropshire Upland and Riverine Woodland Habitats. Fieldtrip: Titterstone Clee & Whitcliffe, 16 April 2023.
  • 2 May 2023: Summer Visitors and Breeding Birds of Mixed Woodlands. Fieldtrip: The Wrekin, 7 May 2023.
  • 30 May 2023: Birds of Moor and Heath. Fieldtrip: The Long Mynd, 4 June 2023.

Further Information & Joining the Course

There are limits on participant numbers for the course. The minimum enrollment is dictated by our ability to cover our costs. The maximum is largely determined by the instructor’s capacity to give indiviual attention to class members in the field.

The fee for the course is £95, which covers eight indoor sessions and eight field excursions.

The course will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis but the decison about whether the course is offered will be determined by the number of expressions of interest and fee receipts received. In the event that the course is cancelled for lack of interest, any payments received will be returned.

If you are interested in joining us, please send an email to John Arnfield (arnfield.2@osu.edu) to receive a participation form. Alternatively, you can download an MS Word (.docx) version here.

Course Bird List

A list of all the birds encountered on the course will be posted here once the first field trip has taken place. Typically, we see a total of around 100 species over the whole course as a group, although not everyone sees all of these.

Useful Websites

This section will be completed as the course progresses.

Further Information on Course Topics

Goldcrest, Church Stretton

This section will be used to add details to issues raised in the course as such issues arise.

Page updated 12 September 2022 by AJA