On Wednesday 4th March 2015 Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group held their Annual General Meeting at the Holiday Inn, Ipswich. The meeting started with council proceedings by SOG President Steve Piotrowski where members were informed of council members standing down after completing their term or retiring and thanks was given for their work and involvement on behalf of SOG. Council members staying on and those joining were then voted on. Next followed officers reports including Matthew Deans on SOG accounts and Roy Marsh gave the Chairman’s report.
The next section started with the presentation of the Denis Ockleton trophy, given to those who have contributed to Suffolk birding and birds. This year it was presented to two people, Lee Woods and Roy Marsh, founders of Suffolk Bird Information Network Service. This service has been extremely useful for disseminating rare and scarce bird news from Suffolk throughout their paid members and their daily news web site which is open to all and, to date, has had an amazing seven million hits.
The next section of the meeting was a presentation by Roy and Lee of Suffolk BINS on interesting birds seen throughout the county in 2014 with a slide show with some excellent photos. Part of their presentation was the awarding of two trophies run by Suffolk BINS, one was the Bird of the Year for 2014 as voted by their members and this went to Ed Keeble for the Surf Scoter he found on the Stour estuary, a first for Suffolk.
The second Suffolk BINS trophy presentation was for the Bird Race 2015 trophy, an annual race undertaken on January 1st to see as many bird species as possible within Suffolk. Of the teams that entered two were drawn on 108 species but as reigning champions team Waxwing Lyrical retained the title.
This took us up to the break where a bird quiz was set for a bit of fun, part photo identification on powerpoint and part answering questions set by Suffolk Bird report editor Nick Mason. Once scores were tallied the winner was announced as father and son combo Peter and Steve Rutt. They were presented with an excellent framed photo of Mabel, the famous Tawny Owl from Christchurch Park, Ipswich kindly donated by Bill Baston.
The final section of the SOG AGM started with a raffle with a nice selection of items kindly donated by members then some powerpoint presentations, firstly on overview of SOG in 2015 showing some of the activities undertaken by SOG including walks and trips as well as mentioning the launch of two important new projects, Save our Suffolk Swifts (SoSS) and Campaign Against Raptor Persecution (CARP), which were discussed with further detail in presentations by Edward Jackson on SoSS and Steve Piotrowski on CARP.