Spring programme – January to March 2022

In the autumn and spring months in normal years, the Society offers talks on various subjects at indoor meetings in the Cruck Barn, Bradwell Abbey. This year (as last year), the Society has decided to continue to hold the meetings over Zoom.

However, given the generally low risk of meeting outdoors, we are also arranging to hold a monthly Sunday morning walk at a local location, led by one of our members.  This will give an opportunity to meet other members in person as we have done during the summer.

Information about all events, updated COVID restrictions etc. will be available on this page, and through the links under Society Events in the sidebar. A Zoom link will be sent to members before each Tuesday evening meeting For guidance on Meeting by Zoom, follow the link:

Please note that clause 7 of the Society’s constitution reads: “the Society will exercise due care when arranging its meetings and activities for the benefit of members.  Members taking part in any meeting or activity do so at their own risk.”

Spring Programme

A PDF file of the Spring Programme can be downloaded here.


Tuesday 11th January
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Members’ Evening – For our first meeting of the New Year, it’s over to our members. Maybe you have found something interesting over the Festive Season or have some pictures to share with fellow members.

Sunday 16th January
11.00 am start
Tongwell Lake – Sunday morning walk led by Colin Docketty to look for Goosander at one of their regular wintering haunts along with other water birds. We will walk around the perimeter of the lake on surfaced paths, but suitable winter footwear is needed for the viewing points. Easy going and not very far, just right for a mid-winter’s day and suitable for everyone.
Park/meet by the lakeside in Yeoman’s Drive off V10 Brickhill Street.

Tuesday 18th January
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Dinopedia- The John Wickham Lecture.  Over the last few decades, our understanding of dinosaurs and what they were like has fundamentally changed. In his new book Dinopedia, author and palaeontologist Darren Naish discusses the current view of these amazing animals and examines how we got to where we are now.

Tuesday 25th January
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Monitoring Eels in the River Thames – Joe Pecorelli is a Project Manager for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). He set up and oversees the monitoring of European eels in the Thames Catchment, the largest and most wide-ranging study on eel migration in the British Isles. Joe will tell us all about this significant Citizen Science Project.


Tuesday 1st February
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Farmland Conservation in the Chilterns  – Nick Marriner
Nick works for the Chilterns Conservation Board’s National Lottery Heritage funded programme ‘Chalk Cherries and Chairs’ in the Chilterns. He will share with us his  work with farmers on ‘The Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster’ project  and his work with volunteers and young people establishing landscape scale conservation and monitoring projects.

Sunday 6th February
10.30 am start
Ouse Valley Park and Flood Plain Forest NR. Sunday morning walk led by Colin Docketty
From the meeting place we will walk by surfaced path to view snowdrops near Holy Trinity Church, then walk in the Ouse Valley Park back to the three bird hides to see what birds are wintering. Please wear suitable winter footwear and bring binoculars/camera if you have them.
Park/meet in Manor Farm Court Road, off Old Wolverton Road, grid ref SP810415, post code MK12 5NN

Tuesday 8th February
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Bird Surveys of Britain. An evening exploring long-running national bird surveys. We will hear from Society members who contribute to these, including Tim Arnold, Kenny Cramer and Andy Harding , about the different bird surveys they are involved in. Mike LeRoy will tell us about other bird surveys and how these all contribute to our understanding of birds and their conservation.

Tuesday 15th February
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Photo Competition 2022. Our annual competition to find our favourite image and for someone to win the Ron Arnold Shield reaches its final stage tonight when winners are announced and invited to tell us about their winning images. See website for competition entry instructions. See Website for competition entry details. Deadline for entries is 11pm on January 11th 2022.

Tuesday 22nd February
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Rothschild’s Legacy – Curating the Bird Collection at Tring. 

Dr Alex Bond is curator of the Natural History Museum’s staggering bird collection, held entirely at its Tring site. Alex will explain what his role entails and why we are so fortunate to have this collection on our doorstep.

Sunday 27th February
10.00 am start
Tree Cathedral and Willen Lake – Sunday morning walk led by Colin Docketty
We will first visit the Cathedral of trees (grass paths), then walk around Willen Lake (surfaced paths), including a visit to the bird hide to see what birds are wintering. Goldeneye should be present. Please wear suitable winter footwear and bring binoculars/camera if you have them.
Park/meet at Campbell Park Pavilion, Silbury Boulevard, MK9 4AD


Tuesday 1st March
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Exploring the Origins of Life – A Scientific Programme. Questions about the origins of life have been part of religious doctrines for millennia but today we have a scientific programme which may eventually answer these questions. Professor Nigel Mason will discuss how from the search for earliest evidence of life in rocks to laboratory experiments to simulate conditions of early life on Earth, we are exploring emergence of life on Earth whilst through space missions we are looking for life on other planets in our solar system and even on planets around other stars!

Tuesday 8th March
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Summer Planning – All Members. Fingers crossed we will be able to enjoy a relatively full programme of outdoor meetings this spring/summer. Do please come along with suggestions, maps and notebooks. Offers to lead the walks are always welcome.

Tuesday 15th March
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Monitoring the Noble Chafer.  The Noble Chafer is one of our most elusive beetles, associated with old orchards and fruit trees – a rarity in themselves. Dr Deborah Harvey coordinates the national survey for this species (which has been recorded in MK) and will update us on her research and findings to date.

Sunday 20th March
Sunday morning walk with spring focus – details to be confirmed

Tuesday 22nd March
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Annual General Meeting. Time to elect officers and committee members for the next year and to reflect on the year that has been.

Tuesday 29th March
7.30 for 8.00, via Zoom
Bedfordshire – Our Changing Habitats and Wildlife. Bedfordshire Natural History Society recently published this book, documenting changes to the natural environment in Beds over the past two decades. Two of its authors, Graham Bellamy and Richard Revels will talk us through its preparation. Copies of the book will be available for sale.


Tuesday 5th – to be confirmed
Sunday 10th – morning walk looking for wood anemone – to be confirmed
Tuesday 12th – to be confirmed
Tuesday 19th – Easter Break – no meeting
Tuesday 26th –
First Outdoor Meeting of the Summer Programme.


All members of the Society are reminded that during Society outdoor activities they must comply with current Government and Public Health rules and guidance concerning Covid-19.

For any forthcoming Society activity, each member who is planning to participate should assess his/her own risk and that of their household having regard to his/her own health and circumstances. This requirement is in accordance with the Society’s Constitution that states ‘Members taking part in any meeting or activity do so at their own risk.’

Practical and Covid-19 risk assessments are carried out in advance of each planned walk. Please arrive 15 minutes before the walks are due to start, so we can run through the Society’s risk assessment as appropriate.

Note that there is also a page of self-guided walks, with directions and guidance on what you might see.