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News - Announcements

The Bittern Monitoring Programme has published a summary of the 2018 breeding season. The number of booming males in Somerset has increased from 49 to 55, and the county had the highest figures.

For the full report, click here.

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Katie Stacey and Luke Massey, of Sunbittern Media, are working on a Crowdfunded documentary, called ‘The Last Song of the Nightingale,’ one of Britain's best loved birds, whose song has established itself firmly in British heritage. They need to raise funds to complete the work , and perhaps you can help.

Katie,  a producer, and her partner Luke Massey, who is an award winning wildlife photographer,  are passionate about birds. They genuinely believe this film can make a difference to changing people’s perspectives of birds, and their importance to humans. Theye have filmed together for numerous different projects and most recently you can see their work on the the BBC’s 'Natural World: Super Fast Falcon’, Netflix series '72 Cutest' and Channel 5’s 'Wild Britain'. They are both keen conservationists and have filmed as part of the team that produced Chris Packham’s online film 'Cyprus: Massacre on Migration'.

They have already begun filming ‘The Last Song of the Nightingale' and the first story they’ve shot, 'Singing With Nightingales', was shortlisted for the Arts & Humanities Research Councils Film Festival for the Inspiration Award. Why the nightingale? Well it is now one of the countries most endangered songbirds, in the UK the Nightingale has declined 90% since 1970 - it has felt the full extent of habitat destruction, pesticides, climate change & persecution. What they want to show in this documentary is how normal people can make a difference. It does seem that a lot of reasons for the Nightingale's decline has been due to scrub clearance etc. which public pressure could in future stop. Of course the Nightingale’s story is not a standalone case, and ‘The Last Song of the Nightingale’ will use the Nightingale as the poster species to explain how all our migratory birds are facing the very same issues. Using a unique storytelling blend of animation, natural history and documentary style filmmaking, 'The Last Song of the Nightingale' will explore the Nightingale’s story. As the eminent Biologist and inventor of the term “Biodiversity”, Thomas Lovejoy, said; “If you take care of birds, you take care of most of the environmental problems in the world.” 

You can read more about the project and the team on their Crowdfunder page:

Katie and Luke are trying to raise £10,000 to complete the documentary. The Crowdfunder has lots of perks to go with donations, starting from £5+ so they aren’t asking for something for nothing.

Finally, they are also looking for any stories anyone might have about the Nightingale - they can be anything from legends, historical tales to Nightingales on your local patch! They have already shot some wonderful stories and have some fascinating ones yet to film.
Katie's email address is Information about Sunbittern Media can be found at

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Our second Member's Day will take place on Saturday 15th September, between 1.30 and 5.30 p.m. It will again feature the Society's AGM and a variety of interesting talks on aspects of Somerset birds and birdwatching, and will be a good opportunity for Members to socialize. Our first such event in 2017 was well received and the food was enjoyed by all present!. So please come along and give us your support. Click here for the Programme. There will be a raffle and a ringing table. A map showing the location of Cheddon Fitzpaine Village Hall can be found here.

In order to speed up proceedings at the AGM, we are publishing various AGM documents in advance. Please click on the following links for the relevant documents:

AGM 2018 Agenda

Draft Minutes of 2017 AGM

2017 Financial Statement

Membership Report

List of Officers to be elected

It should be noted that the Agenda includes a proposed rule change relating to young members.

While the list of Officers for election includes Jeff Hazell, the current Membership Secretary, Jeff has indicated that he wishes to relinquish this role by the time of the 2019 AGM. So we are seeking someone to take over from Jeff in the near future. If anyone is interested, please contact Jeff at
Brian Hill is stepping down as Indoor Meetings Secretary at the forthcoming AGM but, since he has prepared next year's programme, we will not need a replacement immediately. If anyone is interested in the role (it doesn't have to be a committee member), please contact Brian at for more information.

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The BTO South-west Conference will take place on Sunday 18th March 2018, Chaired by our President, Stephen Moss.

It will be held from 09:30 to 17:00 at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, BA15 1DZ. Tickets £20.00 per person, including refreshments and a buffet lunch.

Click here for a poster relating to the event.

Details of the programme and a booking form can be found here.

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Become a Member of Somerset Ornithological Society.