The Gwent Ornithological Society (GOS) was founded in 1961 by Bert Hamar and Betty Morgan and was originally known as the Pontypool Bird Club. In the early days meetings were small and could be held in Bert's front room. But within three years, we spread our wings and subsequently became the Monmouthshire Ornithological Society. Following the local government reorganisation of 1974, we changed the name yet again, this time to the Gwent Ornithological Society.
The aims of the Gwent Ornithological Society
- To improve birding skills and knowledge by sharing information and experiences.
- To help the conservation of wild bird habitats in Gwent and more widely where it may influence Gwent birdlife in the longer term.
- To encourage attendance at meetings, walks and outings in order to achieve a better understanding of birds in the field.
- To educate members and the general public in the need to protect habitats and wildlife.
What we do for members
GOS offers numerous services and members are welcome to participate in as many, or as few, as they wish.
Indoor meetings: a fortnightly programme from September through to Easter, featuring an invited speaker. The meetings are held at Goytre Village Hall and provide an opportunity to chat informally with like-minded people while enjoying tea and biscuits. Non-members are welcome.
Field trips: walks or visits to birding sites, both within the county and further afield, take place every 2–3 weeks, all year round. Participation is free. These walks provide a good opportunity for experienced birders to meet other enthusiasts and visit new sites and for beginners to benefit from expert guidance. All members and non-members are welcome to join us on field trips. A weekend stay at Portland Bird Observatory usually takes place in October each year.
Newsletter: the quarterly newsletter, The Dipper, provides interesting articles and snippets about birds as well as reporting on Society events.
Gwent Bird Report: published annually, the Gwent Bird Report gives details of all the year’s sightings in the county. Articles and ringing reports are included together with significant numbers of photographs taken by local birders within the county.
Website: we regularly update our website with the latest bird sightings, GOS news and other useful information.
Participation in surveys: local and national surveys are undertaken by members. Recording and monitoring bird populations in the county is vital in informing conservation efforts and, hopefully, local planning decisions.
Library: the Society has an extensive DVD and book library. It is open during the indoor meetings.
Goytre House Wood: the Society owns an 11-acre woodland nature reserve adjacent to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. The reserve has free access for members, whilst the public can use a Public Footpath which runs through the wood.
Bert Hamar Bursary: a bursary is available annually to help fund research into birds within the county. Submissions for consideration for the award can be submitted at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to join
Annual membership of the Gwent Ornithological Society is £15 for adults or £18 for families. Click here to become a member of Gwent Ornithological Society.