Spring 2024

Saturday 16th March

10am-4.30pm (registration from 9.30am)

Cholsey Great Hall, Fair Mile, Wallingford OX10 9GW

We organise recorders' conferences twice a year as a chance for the biological recording community to come together and share updates and information on what they are doing. A must-attend event for nature enthusiasts and conservationists alike! 

Tickets

Tickets are £5 for students and £12 for volunteer recorders. This includes lunch and refreshments. Advance booking is required and the final date for bookings or refunds is Friday 8th March.

Book your place HERE. 

Programme

We are still finalising the programme, so the following may be subject to change. Please keep an eye  on this page for updates.

Talks:

Noah Walker, West Oxfordshire Farmland Bird Project

"West Oxfordshire Farmland Bird Project – eight years of practical conservation and monitoring"

Since setting up the West Oxfordshire Farmland Bird Project (WOFBP) in 2016 we have expanded our coverage from just three farms in the Thames Valley to currently 25 across southwest Oxfordshire, encompassing the Thames Valley, Vale of White Horse and Lambourn Downs. The objectives at the core of the project are to 1) collect data on farmland birds through bird ringing surveys, nest monitoring, and observational counts and 2) use the data to advise and guide farmers, landowners and land managers on how they can enhance their farmland habitats for benefit to birds and other wildlife, alongside sustainable food production. Since the first TVERC grant was awarded to the project in 2016, the area we cover and the range of birdlife we survey and conserve has greatly increased. We have expanded our surveys to cover the populations of waders, wildfowl and owls present across southwest Oxfordshire and parts of neighbouring Berkshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. This has involved increased night-time surveys utilising new bird ringing equipment and thermal imaging techniques pioneered by the West Midlands Ringing Group. Similarly, we have continued to expand our existing farmland bird surveys of Skylarks, Corn Buntings, Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers – the core focus of our conservation work. We will showcase what our team has achieved since our previous update at the 2021 TVERC Recorders Conference and set out what we plan to do over the coming few years.

Natalie Duffus, Oxford University

"Biodiversity Net Gain and invertebrates: are we getting it right?"

Nat Duffus is a PhD student at the University of Oxford. Her work seeks to understand the outcomes of using proxy metrics in biodiversity offsetting policies. Nat is particularly interested in the representation of invertebrate biodiversity by these metrics, to understand how effectively we compensate for losses to invertebrate fauna.

With Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) becoming mandatory, most developments in England will be required to provide a 10% BNG, measured and evidenced using the statutory biodiversity metric. However, concerns have been raised that this metric is not a good proxy for invertebrate biodiversity. We set out to explore this by baselining habitats in Oxfordshire using the metric and collecting data on ground invertebrate assemblages, to analyse the relationship between baseline metric values and invertebrate biodiversity.

Steve Ash & Edel McGurk, Benson Area Nature Group

“Benson Area Nature Group - Grass Roots Conservation and Citizen Science”

Steve and Edel will introduce us to the Benson Area Nature Group, the group’s recent achievements and their community spirit, inspiring local communities (including Ewelme, Warborough & Shillingford, Berrick and Roke) to protect and encourage nature and help play an important role in the Local Nature Recovery Strategies being shaped for Oxfordshire.

Speed updates

John Melling, BTO Oxfordshire: BTO Updates

Julie & Katherine, TVERC: Oxfordshire Local Wildlife Sites

Neil Bucknell, Berkshire Ornithological Club: BOC surveys

Workshops:

Robin Hutchinson, UKCEH: UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme

Insects pollinate almost 90% of the world’s flowering plants, but there is concern that pollinators are declining. The UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme has been set up to gather evidence to inform research and conservation of the insects that provide such an important service. This workshop will give an introduction to Flower Insect Timed Counts (FIT Counts), one of the ways you can contribute data to this scheme. We will introduce PoMS, explain how to carry out a FIT Count, and practice identifying the insect groups to count during the survey.

Chloe Edwards, Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) Project Manager, Oxfordshire County Council: Oxfordshire Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) Project Update & Species workshop

Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre are supporting Oxfordshire County Council to meet government guidance to support species in Oxfordshire through the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS). We are asked to create a manageable, realistic, and ambitious short-list of species who need support in Oxfordshire as well as actions and locations that can be taken to help them survive or recover.

A big thanks to those of you who already helped to shape a longlist of species that we now have for Oxfordshire. These are species that we now need to sort into ‘habitat assemblages’. By sorting them we aim to understand (1) which species will benefit from the wider habitat improvements being recommended through the LNRS and (2) which species need different habitat-related actions that people and organisations in Oxfordshire would need to focus on most urgently.  

Displays:

There will be a range of display stands from different recording and conservation groups which you can visit during refreshment and lunch breaks. Please indicate on your booking form if you would like to bring a display and/or leaflets.

Bookshop:

There will be a WILDguides pop-up bookshop selling a range of excellent field guides (please bring cash).