Indoor Meetings 2023

Join one of our Indoor Meetings and hear from guest speakers on various nature topics, meet like minded people and learn something new. Our meetings are hosted at:

Saxon Hall, Raunds (access off Thorpe Street opposite Co-op store). Free parking and easy access for disabled people.
Postcode: NN9 6LT (Google map)

Time: 7.30 pm – 9:30 pm

Price: £3 including tea or coffee

Telephone: 01933 410566

E-mail: wrisdale1@tiscali.co.uk for further information

Upcoming Indoor Meetings


16th November 2023 Birds in a Cage – Derek Niemann
The life-affirming qualities of birds are movingly demonstrated in this inspiring story of four men who were taken prisoner in the Second World War, and who overcame hardship and fear in captivity by studying birds. One of their number was Peter Condor, who, as Director, transformed the RSPB into a powerful force for conservation. Derek Niemann, author of Birds in a Cage, worked for the RSPB for 25 years before leaving in December 2014 to pursue a career as a freelance writer. He is also a country diary columnist for The Guardian and tutor of creative writing at Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education. Many of us have birdsong to thank for helping to lift our spirits through the lockdown.


21st December 2023 AGM and mince pies (free admission), followed by:
Digital Ears: Using Audio Recorders to Monitor Nocturnal Bird Migration – Simon Gillings
Simon has worked at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) since the mid-1990s on a range of monitoring and research projects, including the study, design and analysis of Bird Atlas 2007-11. In his current role as Principal Data Scientist, he supervises research and development for the Breeding Bird Survey, BirdTrack and BTO Acoustic Pipeline, and is working with colleagues and stakeholders to develop a range of data products to improve the impact of BTO data in inspiring action for a wildlife-rich world. Simon is a keen birder, low-carbon lister and nocmig (nocturnal migration) addict. The content of his talk is the phenomenon of nocturnal migration and how we can listen to flight calls to understand when species are migrating at night. Simon will introduce automated recordings and how we are using artificial intelligence to detect birds and other wildlife in recordings.

Previous Indoor Meetings

19th January 2023 Swifts – Laurinda Luffman
Laurinda is Head of Trusts and Foundations and the swift species champion at the RSPB, helping to co-ordinate support and knowledge-sharing for this red-listed bird across the charity. She is a founder member of Bedfordshire Swifts, one of the many dedicated Swift Local Network Groups. In her talk, Laurinda will cover the lifetime of a swift, amazing facts such as how these birds are able to spend most of the year in the air without landing, why swifts are declining, and what steps we can all take to help these masters of the sky.


16th February 2023 Bats of Northants and Beyond – Juliette Butler
Juliette represents the Nene Valley Bat Group. She began with the BCN Wildlife Trust as a volunteer, mostly at Lings House in Northampton, and in 2006 she became a part-time Wildlife Training Workshops officer. Joining several bat surveys at Wildlife Trust nature reserves developed her interest in bats and opened the way to lead surveys, walks and talks. She is now completing her training to become a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor for the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT). The Nene Valley Bat Group (partner of BCT) was established in 2021 to further people’s understanding of bats locally, why they are important in the environment, and what we can all do to help bat conservation.


16th March 2023 An English Country Garden – Ann Scott
A former Senior Wildlife Adviser for the RSPB, Ann took early retirement and led, together with her husband Bob, many tours abroad where, whenever the opportunity arose, they would promote conservation, even to the local children. This lecture is the true story of the start of her married life at Northward Hill Reserve in Kent and the wonderful world of birds and nature that she experienced. BTO surveys and helping with the Countryside Restoration Trust surveys are still a major part of her life. Ann attends our indoor meetings.

21st September 2023 Ten Top Sites for Birds in Northamptonshire – Bob Bullock
Bob is a retired science teacher who now devotes much of his time to birding and wildlife in general. He is among the most knowledgeable on the birds of Northamptonshire, and was the County Bird Recorder for some twenty years until 2000. He has specialised in the rarer breeding birds, with articles in the British Birds magazine. He is also part of the conservation group on the huge Compton Estates, and is responsible for the annual heron nest census. Bob was with us back on 2013, and returns with his new presentation on what he considers to be the top 10 sites for birds in Northamptonshire.


19th October 2023 Welney Through the Seasons – Tony Winchester
Tony represents the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), and has been a long-term volunteer at Welney. Enthusiastic about wildlife since childhood, with above average knowledge of the Fens and its wildlife. He also works as a volunteer at NT Wicken Fen. At Welney, Tony works as visitor guide, does ground maintenance and stock checks, and is known as ‘The Welney Ambassador’, giving most of the outreach talks on behalf of the WWT. During the ‘Swan Season’ he is a regular Swan Feeder. Tony’s talk, ‘Welney through the Seasons’, includes background to Welney and the Ouse Washes, followed by taking us through the year at Welney, highlighting the various fauna and flora you might come across when you visit, and he hopes that we will.