The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC)– Scotland’s bird club – is a charity with over 3000 members in 15 branches spread across Scotland. Dumfries and Galloway is lucky enough to have 3 of these branches – West Galloway based in Stranraer, Stewartry meeting in New Galloway and our very own Dumfries branch, which is excited to be embarking on meetings in a new venue for the forthcoming programme, the beautifully designed and appointed Dumfries Baptist Church Centre.


All bird enthusiasts, from beginners to experts, are warmly invited to join the group at the first talk of the season on Wednesday 11th September at 7.30pm. The charity is thrilled to have renowned local naturalist, writer, poet and photographer Barbara Mearns kick off proceedings for them.


The title of Barbara’s talk is “Birds, butterflies and moths: the hunters and the hunted”. It will cover many birds familiar to Dumfries birders which breed locally, and feed on butterflies and moths – eggs, larvae, pupae or adults. Barbara will bring the story to life using lots of colourful photos by award-winning Dumfries-based photographer Edmund Fellowes, images taken by Barbara and her husband, Richard, as well as those of other local wildlife photographers. She’ll explore some of the intriguing ecological relationships between the ‘hunters and the hunted’, showing numerous fascinating strategies which butterflies and moths have evolved to try and avoid becoming birdfood. Enjoy hearing about a range of bird species including cuckoos, nightjars, chats, tits, warblers and some − perhaps − less predictable avian predators of our lowland moors, woodlands and uplands.


Lastly Barbara will touch upon a recent finding by the National Moth Recording Scheme and the Rothamstead Insect Survey, which revealed that moth numbers in Scotland have declined by almost 50% in the last 25 years alone. As crucial night shift pollinators of our crops, as well as wild and garden plants, moths have even been shown to fly further than bees, thus helping to prevent inbreeding in plants. Scientists are working on how best to address this alarmingly decline and Barbara will end with some suggestions as to how we can help do our bit.


The Dumfries SOC branch meets on the second Wednesday of every month from September to March at 7.30 pm. Visitors are very welcome to attend at no charge to find out more about the Club and its activities locally. Visit the SOC website to find out more or contact branch secretary Lesley Creamer at