As usual the programme has been put together with a variety of topics designed to entertain, to inform and to provoke thought. Some old favourites return and some new faces are introduced.
This year there is a strong cultural and political element to the programme. The challenges and controversies of the world of nature will be thoroughly aired by the outspoken Mark Avery, formerly of the RSPB, but now a free-lance writer and campaigner. In the New Year, the film Emptying the Skies is no comfortable stroll, since it does present the challenges for migrating birds in a way which is bound to shake us out of complacency. Later, Estelle Bailey of BBOWT presents an executive view of the issues facing our wildlife organisations.
Travel is well-represented by a trip to India with Richard Pople, and another to the Southern Turkey with Richard Stansfield, both with their cameras to the fore. Jackie Garner brings the eye of the artist to the wildlife of the Falklands.
The natural world of two contrasting areas of Britain is presented, firstly by the Davies/Miller team of “the Biggest Twitch”, who focus on North Wales, and secondly by Jonathan Forgham, who will give his detailed insights into the wildlife of East Hertfordshire.
Hooked beaks and claws come to the fore in the expert hands of three well-known specialists: BTO’s Mike Toms (on Owls), Hampshire Recorder, Keith Betton (on Peregrines), and RSPB’s Conor Jameson (on the Goshawk).
Photographic skills will as usual be demonstrated in the annual Photographic Competition, but there is a new venture in the form of Tom Way’s wildlife photography workshop, which promises to have a much wider appeal than to photographers alone.
And finally, we have looked closely at the social side of our indoor life, first by proposing to re-shape somewhat the Christmas Social and Quiz Evening and secondly by introducing a new Saturday afternoon event to bring us together in a less-structured way.
In summary, our programme is a rich a mix as could be reasonably expected and represents superb value for your membership money, so do make a new season resolution to attend as often as you can.