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Ornithology’s best honoured

British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) top awards

Ornithology’s best honoured

In a glittering ceremony at the Mall Gallery in London, the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) top awards were handed out to six deserving recipients.

L-R Brian Marsh, Dr Stuart Newson,

Dr Juliet Vickery, Rachel Tierney, Findlay Wilde, Nick Whitehouse, Louis Driver and Rob Adams by Jake Davis

The five Marsh Awards for Ornithology, Innovative Ornithology, International Ornithology, Local Ornithology and Young Ornithologist, were handed out by Brian Marsh, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust. The Dilys Breese Medal was presented by Dr Andy Clements, Chief Executive of BTO, at the launch of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye 2018 exhibition.

The Marsh Award for Ornithology was given to Dr Juliet Vickery, for her significant career contribution to the field. Juliet has been at the forefront of ornithological science, conservation and communication for over two decades and her research has always focused on key issues in bird conservation. Her PhD looked at the influence of acid rain on Dipper populations and was followed by post-doctoral studies on the conflicts between geese and agriculture, and positions at the University of Edinburgh, BTO and RSPB, addressing the issues of farmland and migrant bird declines and much more.

The Innovative Ornithology Award was given to Dr Stuart Newson for his work on opening up the possibility for automated acoustic recording stations to provide valuable monitoring data, focusing initially on bats and latterly on birds. His work on bats has seen the rewriting of the distribution maps for several species in Norfolk, Suffolk and southern Scotland, all from data collected by members of the public using automated acoustic recording equipment made available via public libraries and local centres.

David Stroud, from the Government's Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), received the International Ornithology Award. David is a member of the Ramsar Convention’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel and was, until very recently, Chair of the Technical Committee of the African Eurasian Waterbirds Agreement. He has also actively contributed to the work of Wetlands International, the EU Birds Directive’s Ornis Committee and its Scientific Working Group as well as the International Wader Study Group and is a member of the UK Ornithological Expert Panel on Avian Influenza.

The publication of The Birds of Spurn by the late Andy Roadhouse set a new benchmark in the study of local birds and how long-term datasets can be brought to life. It is one of the most in-depth pieces of research and writing about a single key birdwatching site. It took a dedicated eight years to bring the book to fruition and has contributed a huge amount of ornithological knowledge for the local area, and is the reason that the Spurn Bird Observatory Trust is awarded the Local Ornithology Award.

Fourteen year-old Louis Driver was awarded the Young Ornithologist Award. He is a trainee bird ringer, submits nest data to the Nest Records Scheme and puts all of his birdwatching observations into BirdTrack. He also takes part in the Wetland Birds Survey, and writes all about it on social media, inspiring other young birdwatchers to get involved too, making him a very worthy recipient of this award.

Awarded to an outstanding communicator who delivers science to new audiences, the Dilys Breese Medal was given to Martin Hughe’s-Games. Martin’s dedication in bringing BTO science to the fore has been remarkable and has ensured that our work has reached a very wide audience. During his work with BBC Winterwatch, Springwatch and Autumnwatch he always ensured that BTO science was well represented, in addition promoting us through social media, showing that robust, impartial science underpins conservation action.

Dr Andy Clements, British Trust for Ornithology CEO, said,“It is great to be able to award outstanding scientists and communicators. Their work often highlights challenges facing birds and the conservation action needed to ensure that we can all enjoy seeing them in the future. We are Grateful to the Marsh Christian Trust for supporting ornithology in this way, and to our partners the Society of Wildlife Artists for welcoming us to an outstanding and appropriate venue.

Paul Stancliffe BTO

14th November 2018