There was a very good turnout for the group’s Annual General Meeting and they had a packed evening of information and fun.
The meeting was opened by Edward, the group’s secretary, who detailed how the committee had unanimously agree to ask John Grant to be the new SOG Honorary President Fortunately John had agreed to take on the role and Edward asked the audience for a proposer and seconder of which was duly done. With John formally taking on the role he then took on the proceedings for the rest of the evenings, more of the formal side first with the election of the committee which was then followed by reports from the chairman and treasurer. The former talked about the role of the committee and the activities carried out over 2016. Details of the projects that the group is involved with particularly the growing success of Save our Suffolk Swifts. The publications from the group, The Harrier and Suffolk Birds, were both remarked on their quality and the respective editors, Eddie and Nick were thanked for all their hard work. Finally mentioned was made of the indoor and outdoor events that the group run each year, with the organisers, leaders, speakers along with all the members attending being thank for their input and making these an integral part of the group.
Matt, the treasurer then gave an overview of the finances, including details of the accounts of projects such as Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project. Steve, the projects director, also elicited further details including grant money applied for and granted. A major point of the project is to start to repair and replace barn owl boxes that have been erected several years previously and are in need of repair.
The next section of the evening was put towards the birds in the county in 2016 and Lee and Roy from Suffolk BINS gave a month on month presentation of some of the highlights during the year. They remarked that it had been an amazing year for new species in the county including Purple Gallinule, Thayer’s Gull, Stejneger’s Stonechat, Cliff Swallow and Forster’s Tern. Lee and Roy finished with a presentation of two awards, the first was for the BINS Bird of the Year and by vote from their subscribers it was Cliff Swallow that came out top. The two finders, Eric and Steve were presented with the trophy and gave an account of their find. The second BINS trophy is for the annual January 1st bird race. As per last year there was no formal race and the area that recorded the most was the Lowestoft Lizard team, with Steve collecting the trophy on their behalf.
The next award presentations were for SOG trophies, the first was The Garrod Award given to younger wildlife enthusiasts. This year the recipient was Ellie Zantboer who has bird-ringing for many years and for her keen interest in birds. Val Lockwood, who was one of the people who had nominated Ellie, read her nomination submission to the group on why Ellie deserved to receive the trophy.
The next trophy presentation was for the Denis Ockleton Trophy, this has been given for a number of years now to those who make an outstanding contribution to Suffolk birding. It was presented to Nick Mason by John Grant who detailed all the work Nick had been involved and most particularly being the Suffolk Bird Report editor for a number of years.
The final section of the evening was the Bird Brain quiz, a selection of bird photo identifications, bird songs and questions and the winner with an impressive 38 out of 40 was Ed Keeble. He was presented with a framed photo of the Minsmere Purple Gallinule taken by well-known Suffolk photographer Bill Baston.
A selection of prizes for a raffle had been kindly donated by members to the group and this ended a jam-packed AGM.