You can find out about our Ayshire branch below.
We're delighted to share details of the meetings season (September 2023 - April 2024) for members to enjoy. This year's programme will be a held as a hybrid (online/in-person) programme.
More information about each meeting will be emailed to members around a week in advance of the event. To receive these emails (including Zoom joining instructions and workshop booking information, where applicable), you must be signed up to the Branch News & Events - Talks & Workshops mailing list.
Tuesday 12 December 2023
Members' Night – Stephen Inglis and Zul Bhatia (in-person)
Zul Bhatia reports on the 'Boxes for Barnies' project, which aimed to boost Barn Owl numbers in the Clyde area by constructing and installing nest boxes. Young birder, Stephen Inglis, focusses on a farm in East Renfrewshire, where he monitors breeding and wintering waders, as well as recording as much other wildlife as possible throughout the year.
Wednesday 13 December 2023
Prof. Debbie Pain – Lead from ammunition: A toxic problem affecting birds and other animals (online). For further information, please click here.
Tuesday 9 January 2024
David Raffle – BirdTrack Workshop (in-person). Places limited, booking required
If you’ve dabbled with BirdTrack but would like to learn a bit more about it, join David Raffle, SOC Birding & Science Officer for this workshop. What does BirdTrack do? How do you enter your own records? How does the BTO and its partners use the data? Explore your own data as well as that of other users, and enter some new records via the smartphone app or the website.
Wednesday 17 January 2024
Q & A with Prof. Tim Birkhead & Prof. Neil Metcalfe – The Great Auk (online). For further information, please click here.
Tuesday 13 February 2024
Rachel Steenson – Spring with the Midlothian Dippers (in-person)
The Dipper is a highly specialised river bird which, despite improvements to air and water quality in the early 1980s, has suffered a steady decline. PhD student and riverine bird researcher Rachel Steenson, who has monitored these magnificent birds in Midlothian, explores how their breeding success is affected by the world around them.
Wednesday 21 February 2024
Ros Green, Claudia Tapia & speaker TBA – Tracking birds' movements (online). For further information, please click here.
Tuesday 12 March 2024
Angus Hogg – Galapagos: In Darwin’s Footsteps; and Divers: A brief identification guide (in-person)
SOC veteran Angus Hogg describes an ‘unintended’ visit to this world-famous archipelago. An opportunity to set foot on these islands, with their peculiar, evolutionary bird-life, gave Charles Darwin a unique place in ornithological history. But there are still questions to be answered, and the ‘Darwin’ leading this expedition was a modern-day birder with his own ideas…
The talk is followed by a short introduction to divers dealing with some of their key features. Whether it’s plumages, ranges, habitats or, simply, “quirks,” this short talk will aim to improve your field skills with this group of birds.
Wednesday 20 March 2024
Dr. Phil Atkinson, Dr. Jude Lane & speaker TBA (NatureScot) – Avian flu (online). For further information, please click here.
Tuesday 9 April 2024
Chris Waddell – Ae Spark o' Nature’s Fire (in-person)
Robert Burns is often referred to as the Ploughman Poet. His poetry is suffused with imagery of the natural world: the landscapes, plants and animals which he encountered in his native Ayrshire of the late 1700s. Burns-enthusiast Chris Waddell examines some of the species the poet mentions in his works and the Scots language he uses to describe them.
Wednesday 17 April 2024
Helen Aiton, Michal Jezierski & Kevin and Mike Sinclair – SOC Endowment Fund Projects (online). For further information, please click here.
Venue for in-person meetings:
Monkton Community Church & Pioneer Cafe, Main Street, Monkton, KA9 2RN (click here to view a map of the venue and surrounding area).
The branch organises their field trips jointly with RSPB Central Ayrshire Local Group and outdoor leader Jim Thomson. There are two coach trips organised annually- one in winter and one in late spring. Members attending our monthly outings will have the benefit of an experienced observer who will be on hand to help with some of the trickier aspects of field identification.
Wed 13 Dec
Representative of the branch on SOC Council:
Newsletter Editor (The Stonechat)/Trips organiser:
Indoor meetings organiser:
Outdoor meetings organiser:
Assistant Ayrshire recorder:
Members who've consented to Local Branch news and events e-communications from SOC, are sent a reminder about forthcoming talks (with more information on the speaker and subject where possible), usually a week or so in advance of the meeting. If you don’t already receive these alerts and would like to, please make sure you've completed a Mailing List Consent Form to allow the Club to contact you. If you've already completed a form, check your junk/spam/clutter folders to make sure our emails aren't landing there. Still nothing? Contact Headquarters as we may not have a correct or up to date email address on file for you.
SOC Ayrshire branch sponsors a local website, www.ayrshire-birding.org.uk, which is a one-stop shop for anything to do with birds and birding in the area – news, sightings, site guides, latest photos and branch activities.
Ayrshire Birding (formerly a Yahoo group and now using Groups.io) https://groups.io/g/AyrshireBirding This shares news of both common and rare birds. This forum also welcomes discussion on the identification of birds in Ayrshire and other relevant birding issues plus other pertinent wildlife, conservation issues and events.
Bird recording in this area
Visit the Ayrshire recording area page for details of the latest bird report, back issues, species considered locally and for Local Recorder contact information.
‘Ayrshire Birders Abroad’
These popular holidays, organised independently by seasoned tour guide and SOC/RSPB Member Tony Scott, have taken SOC and RSPB members, as well as interested local birders, to a wide variety of places both in Europe and further afield. Please get in touch with Tony Scott as above, if you would like to receive notifications of these trips. Details of future trips are also published in The Stonechat and on the Ayrshire Birding website.