Last weekend (5-6 December), I attended the BTO conference and was delighted to see Mick Pearson there as well. I also saw many people from various parts of the UK whom I've met previously through ringing (e.g. Sule Skerry, Wash Wader Ringing Group, Suffolk and even people who started ringing with me from the course at the Flatford Mill Centre).
More than 400 participants had gathered in the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick for the BTO Annual Conference 2009 which also marked the Centenary for the start of the Ringing Scheme. The weather out was brilliant in the morning and then it started raining in the early evening, however the atmosphere inside the conference hall was very warm and enjoyable with a lot of presentations by various speakers. The first couple talks were discussing the history of ringing and the process of monitoring birds in the USA (how advanced they are with ringing and tagging - even fitting dragonflies and bumble bees with dataloggers!) and in Italy where with guidance from the BTO there has been a shift from catching birds for food and sport, towards ornithological science. This last talk was followed by an update on the Out of Africa appeal and how the teams are doing and the expected outcome of this work which is carried jointly by the BTO, RSPB, and both the Burkina Faso & Ghana National Wildlife Societies.
These interesting talks were followed by several other shortish presentations from BTO staff about nest record scheme, monitoring Blackbirds in gardens, Garden Birds and the ranking of birds in starting their activities in the gardens (Blackbird came first), CES experience and effort needed and a BTO Atlas update. They were full of information, tables, statistics and brilliant photos.
The evening were closed by the BTO AGM and lastly the dinner which cannot be missed. I left Mick P behind to enjoy the remainder of the Sunday morning sessions which I couldn't manage to attend.