Minutes 5th April 2018

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Draft Minutes of 67th Annual General Meeting of the Kent Ornithological Society

5th April 2018 at 7.45pm at Grove Green Community Hall, Grovewood Drive, Maidstone ME14 5TQ.

The meeting was attended by 32 members of the Society

1. Chairman’s intoduction.

Martin Coath, Chairman of the Executive Committee opened the meeting by introducing Chris Cox as the President Elect of the society. MC wanted to echo what Chris has said about Don in the latest Newsletter. We are very sorry to see Don leave the county to which he has given so much. As Don had been a great force in Kent birding over the years so Chris Cox had an equally impressive track record in supporting the Society. Chris joined the KOS in 1959. His first birding job as a “Shearwater slave” for Chris Perrins on Skokholm in 1966; he was a member of the KOS Committee 1965-74, then again in 1978-81; he was Vice-chairman ‘84 and Chairman 1987-91; along with John Cantelo he organised the first KOS conferences. Away from KOS Chris was a BTO Council member 1970-74, a Fair Bird Observatory Trustee 2002-12. He has held a ringing permit since 1965 and has been active in several Medway Censuses and Nightingale surveys as well as fieldwork for all three BTO Atlas

2. Opening remarks from President Elect

Chris Cox gave an appreciation of the work and contribution of his predecessor Don Taylor who had stepped down during the course of the year and had moved away from Kent.

3. Apologies

Apologies were recorded from Ralph and Brenda Todd, Jan Pritchard, Arthur Cookney, Geoff Orton and Robin Mace

3. Minutes of the last meeting, 13th April 2017

Noted and agreed. Proposed by Norman McCanch, Seconded by Tony Morris

3. Chairman’s Annual Report.

Steve Wood has stood down as secretary for personal reasons, but will still be involved, as he has much to contribute. He has been a hard working secretary both to the Executive and the Conservation and Surveys Committees and has always been a pleasure to work with. Brendan Ryan has taken over, as he feels he can contribute more in that role. Chris Roome has agreed to become Vice Chairman elect, but this will not involve him in any more work than he does as a very proactive Membership Secretary. In addition he organised a very enjoyable and successful conference in November; there is general agreement that this is the way forward and planning for the next conference is underway. Chris will let you know the latest on his portfolio now.

No society can exist without some form of financial support and management. Mike Henty continues to give us his accountancy expertise and will tell us all about our finances later.

Keith Privett continues to produce high quality KBRs. It is a complex procedure starting with the receipt of records. These are then collated and translated into data for each species by our Archivist Robin Mace. Keith is supported in the compilation and editing process by Jack Chantler and Ken Lodge. Ken has sadly had to step down from this role this year and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his invaluable contribution over many years. Their work as sub editors is vital in the KBR process and I don’t think that Jack and Ken have had the recognition they deserve for the roles they have played. Brendan has agreed to support Jack in Ken’s absence. The editing process for the 2016 KBR is underway but has been held up by delays in getting records from some key sites in the county. I would urge all members to submit their records via the data base or BirdTrack or by any other means as soon as they can.

Barry Wright has continued in his role as County recorder liaising with other societies and national bodies ensuring that there is consistency across the country in the assessment of records. He will be both informing us about the Editorial and Records Committee and entertaining us later.

Murray Orchard was a welcome successor as Chairman of C and S as he knows so much about the birds of Kent and the various sites in the county. We will be hearing from him later in the proceedings.

Norman McCanch, is doing a great job as editor of our Newsletter. Moving to an on line only newsletter was a controversial decision but the increased cost of printing and particularly postage meant that a printed version was no longer viable. Switching to an online version has meant that Norman has been able to increase both the size and the frequency of the newsletter as well as providing more opportunities for all the photographers to display their talents. Norman is always looking for contributions for the newsletter from photographers and non photographers alike. Norman thanked Chris Hindle for the timely and thorough way in which he compiles the sightings for each newsletter

Ray O’Reilly continues to organise very successful outdoor meetings. Don’t they see a lot of species! He is away, but reports that any members will be welcome to attend our outdoor meetings and all the dates of them are on our website. He, and his assistants on the day, go where the best birds are,taking into account sightings, weather, wind direction, tide etc. He lets participants know the meeting place by phone or text.  They also go through identification criteria and revisit previous distribution, taxonomy and past and colloquial names for a bird. They cater for all from the beginner to the expert.

Geoff Orton continues as our BTO Rep. It is very important that we work as closely as possible with BTO, RSPB and KWT as we provide the records and the foot-soldiers for their endeavours. Thanks for all your efforts, Geoff. Anthea Skiffington no longer has indoor meetings to organise, but continues to make valid contributions as a general member. Jack Chantler has stood down from the EC, where he will be missed, but is still active as described.

As an ex tax inspector I am aware that this is new Year’s Eve for tax, so may I wish you a bird full New Tax Year.

4. Membership Report

Chris Roome, Membership Secretary reported that the membership now stood at 703 members. 42 new members had joined during the course of the year. While the age profile of the society is such that we sadly continue to lose members, we should be aiming at a membership of over 1,000 within the next few years.

Chris also talked about preparations for the 2018 KOS conference that will take place at Chaucer Collage Canterbury on the first Saturday in November. Speakers booked include Andy Clements from BTO, Mark Avery, Nicole Khan from RSPB, Will Tofts and Stephan Walton from SBBO. The conference will be £25 for members £30 for non members.

5. Treasurer’s Report and Accounts

Mike Henty, Treasurer reported that the Society had incurred a small deficit in year of £269 which was the net of a surplus of £290 from sales of the Atlas and a deficit of £559 on regular activities. As far as the latter is concerned, this is a favourable result given we had major expenditure on the website, principally getting the Kent List into shape, and spending £1,905 more than in 2016. We also had the great uncertainty of the Conference. We were prepared to make a small loss on the conference in line with net cost that we previously incurred on indoor meetings but attendance was above break-even level and we made a surplus of £313. This success has enabled us to hold another conference this year.

Subscription income was higher than in 2016. A favourable difference again arose as the actual cost of the KBR was less than I anticipated in the previous accounts resulting in an over-provision being written back to income. We have had this for the last few years but I try to be realistic with my forecasts so we cannot expect favourable variances every year.

Other items of income and expenditure are not greatly different to 2016. The donation we made was Euro500 to fund the production of “European Breeding Bird Atlas 2” where we are sponsoring Kentish Plover.

Thanks are again due to Keith Ellis, who has now been the independent examiner of our accounts for thirteen years.

The Annual Accounts for the year ending December 2017, were proposed by John Cantelo and seconded by Tony Morris: – Agreed

6. Sub Committee Reports – Conservation and Surveys Sub-committee

Murray Orchard committee chairman thanked Steve Wood who had stepped down as chair of the committee and as the county’s Rare Breeding Bird Panel (RBBP) representative. Brian Watmough had agreed to take over as RBBP representative.

The committee has met twice during the year and was working much closer with colleagues in the RSPB. Key issues for the committee had included; Lodge Hill and continued development threats; Cleeve Hill Solar Farm proposal at Seasalter, the coastal footpath and the need to reduce any adverse impact on birds; and recreational disturbance especially in the Medway.

Not much had happened on the survey front but three surveys were planned for 2018; nesting seabirds; Heronries; Project Owls ( from Autumn 2018). A survey of inland nesting gulls was planned for 2019.   

7. Sub Committee Reports – Editorial and Records sub-committee

Barry Wright, Chairman of the sub-committee reported that the committee had met twice during the year. Thanks to Dungeness RSPB reserve for providing facilities for meetings. Gavin Coultrip had joined as photographic editor. Malcolm McVail had retired from the committee while two new members had joined, Ray O’Reilly and Matt Hindle. The committee was now back up to six members.

The work load of the committee had increased with a number of former British Bird rarities having been passed down to the counties to assess. Some of these species were quite difficult to assess.

Barry thanked the support of his colleagues on the committee and Alan Fossey (committee secretary) and Robin Mace (archivist)

8. Election of Committee Members

The following were elected to serve on the Executive Committee for the following year

President: Chris Cox

Chairman: Martin Coath

Vice Chairman: Chris Roome

Hon. Secretary: Brendan Ryan

Hon. Treasurer: Mike Henty

Membership Secretary: Chris Roome

Chairman of Editorial & Records Sub-Committee: Barry Wright

Chairman of Conservation & Survey’s Sub-Committee: Murray Orchard

Editor of Kent Bird Report Keith Privett

KOS News EditorNorman McCanch

Indoors Meetings Organiser: Vacant

Outdoor Meetings Organiser: Ray O’Reilly

Archivist: Robin Mace

Ordinary Member: vacant

Ordinary Member: Anthea Skiffington

Ordinary Member: Stephen Wood

Ex Officio member (BTO Representative) Geoff Orton

9. The formal business was closed by the Chairman and was followed by an illustrated talk :Travels in India by Barry Wright

Brendan Ryan

Honorary Secretary