OOS Roll of Honour

From the earliest days the membership of the Oxford Ornithological Society has included many leading ornithologists, some as undergraduates at the beginning of their careers, and in some cases later returning to the Society. Others have remained active members for many years. The list is rather arbitrary and is compiled from the lists of contributors in the annual reports and from both the minutes and meetings books of the Society.

We have agreed that only those who are deceased should be given more than a brief mention, those still living are only named with the briefest of detail. Amongst the names of observers in the annual reports are those of people better known in other fields and it is with them that we start this section.

Professor G.D. Hale-Carpenter
Hope Professor of Entomology, Oxford University. 1933 – 1948.
Professor G.C. Varley
Hope Professor of Entomology, Oxford University. 1948 – 1978.
Dr N.H. Joy
Dr Joy features in early reports with his records from Reading Sewage Farm, but he is better known as a Coleopterist and author of “A Practical Handbook of British Beetles” (1932), which remains a standard work on the British beetle fauna.
Dr N.W. Moore
After graduating he joined the Zoology Department of Bristol University and is an expert on Dragonflies.
Canon L.W. Grensted
Nolloth Professor of Philosophy of the Christian Religion, Oxford University. He was an authority on Trichoptera and Neuroptera.
Charles S. Elton FRS
Founder and Director of the Bureau of Animal Population, Oxford University, 1932 – 1967.
Professor Nicko Tinbergen 15.4.1902 – 21.12.1988
Professor of Animal Behaviour, Oxford University. Nobel prize laureate for physiology and medicine 1973.
Professor D.H. McDonald
Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University.
Fergus Menteith Ogilvy. 1.11.1861 – 17.1.1918.
F.M. Ogilvy was the president of the ornithological section of the Ashmolean Natural History Society ornithological section from 1902 until 1916. During his presidency he gave eight lectures to the society which were published posthumously under the editorship of Henry Balfour. Ogilvys’ family home was Sizewell in Suffolk to which he retired on leaving Oxford. He had made an extensive collection of bird skins, which were given to the British Museum Natural History, and mounted specimens which were given to Ipswich Museum. Ogilvy trained at Cambridge University and St George’s Hospital, London and his career in Oxford was as an occulist.
William Warde Fowler 1847 – 1921
Ward Fowler was a tutor at Lincoln College, Oxford, specializing in Roman Religions. He was interested in all aspects of the countryside as shown in his books, ”A Year with the Birds” 1891 and “Kingham Old and New” 1913. Sir Julian Huxley wrote an obituary for British Birds where he said of the latter book “the only book I know which has the same quality of White’s Selbourne” It was in a withy bed beside the River Evenlode at Kingham that he discovered a breeding colony of Marsh Warblers, which he shared with many enthusiasts.
Reverend C.J. Pring 1889 – 1975
Christopher Pring was an undergraduate at Exeter College and is first mentioned in the 1922 Annual Report. His unpublished diaries record his close association with both Jourdain and his fellow Somersetshire man Bernard Tucker with whom he made many ornithological excursions. While an undergraduate he spent much time birds nesting with George Tickner, two extracts from his diaries shed some light upon Tickner. “20th May 1921, This morning G. Tickner sold me a c/7 Carrion Crow which he had found on May14th.” “19th September 1922, Captain L.R.W. Loyd gave me a c/4 Ruff taken in Norfolk by George Tickner, (whose collection he had bought. I had told him about Tick’s collection when I met him on Lundy in the summer). Loyds’ egg collection was sold at Stevens Auction Rooms in 1937.
George Tickner (no dates)
He was originally caretaker of the Clarendon Building but after being shot by a fellow of St Johns during a pheasant shoot in Bagley Wood, as compensation he was given the post of Guardian of the Gate leading to the Bodleian Library. His duty was to open the Clarendon Building in the morning and close it at night, the rest of the day was his for birding. In the early days of the Society he played a significant role and his services to the Society were recognised in 1930 when he was made an Honorary Life member. He became quite an institution and when Lord Grey of Fallodon became University Chancellor he immediately looked up his friend “Old Tick”, with whom he spent many hours in the field including bird watching holidays together. Sir Arthur Thompson, when studying the different ways in which birds use their eyes, consulted Tickner of whom he insisted no man new so much, and persuaded him to write notes on the subject.
O.V. Aplin 1858 – 1940.
Aplin lived at Bloxham and was a regular contributor to the Zoologist until 1916 when it ceased publication. His book” The Birds of Oxfordshire” was published in 1889. He made a number of trips abroad, including Switzerland in 1891 with Warde Fowler. Other trips included Uruguay in 1892, East Algeria in 1895 and northern Norway in 1896.
Francis Charles Robert Jourdain 1865 – 1940
The son of a clergyman he was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford and ordained in 1890. After appointments in Suffolk and Derbyshire he became rector of Appleton in 1914 remaining until his retirement in 1925 when he moved firstly to Norfolk and then Bournemouth. Along with Bernard Tucker he was the father of the Oxford Ornithological Society, setting the highest standards for recording the birdlife of the area. His knowledge of the breeding biology of birds on a palearctic scale was unrivalled. Desmond Nethersole-Thompson wrote in 1978 “Jourdain was by far the greatest scholar of them all, we have no one with anything like the knowledge today.” As a co-author of” The Handbook of British Birds,” 1938-1941, he was responsible for the sections on breeding information, food and geographical distribution. From 1900 until 1939 he regularly made trips to various parts of Europe, North Africa and Palestine. In 1921 he was a member of the Oxford University expedition to Spitzbergen, which he revisited in 1922. Jourdain wrote the ornithological section of the “The Natural History of the Oxford District” which was presented to members of the British Association during their Oxford meeting in 1926.
James Maxwell McConnell Fisher. 3.9.1912 – 25.9.1970
He was a Kings Scholar at Eton before entering Magdelene College to read medicine but later switched to zoology. After graduation he worked at London Zoo and during the Second World War worked on rodent control. He became a well known broadcaster and writer and was on the editorial panel of the Collins New Naturalist series. He was a member of many committees and boards including The Countryside Commission, International Union for Nature Conservation and the National Parks Commission, et al.
Averil Morley d. 1957.
Miss Morley published as a nineteen year old a book on the birds of Clifton Down, Bristol. In 1938 she became secretary of the Edward Grey Institute until 1942. She published a number of papers in the Ibis, Journal of Animal Ecology and British Birds, mostly on behaviour and the population density of downland birds. Probably her study of the Marsh Tits in Bagley Wood, in conjunction with H.N. Southern, was the most important. In 1948 she married Frank Fraser Darling.
R.G.B. Brown 15.9.1935 – 26.3.2010
From Downside School he entered New College and graduated in zoology in 1957. Under Professor N. Tinbergen he then completed his DPhil on Drosophila and continued with post doctoral research on the isolation mechanisms between large gulls from 1962 until 1965. This was a golden period for students at Oxford with an ornithological interest as it included N.P. Ashmole, W.R.P. Bourne, H. Cullen, M.P. Harris, H. Kruuk and J.B. Nelson. In 1965 he took up a post in the Department of Psycology at Dalhousie University, later transferring to the Canadian Wildlife Service at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography as a research scientist where he worked primarily on seabirds.
E.J.M. Buxton 16.12.1912 – 11.12.1989
John Buxton read Greats at New College and then became warden of Skomer Island after marrying R.M. Lockleys’ sister. He was captured in 1940 while serving in the army in Norway, and spent time as a prisoner of war in various camps in Germany. In these camps he was often in the company of other ornithologists including Peter Conder and George Waterston. Whilst a prisoner he was even able to continue bird ringing thanks to E. Striesmann. After the war he became at New College a junior lecturer in English and in 1949 a Fellow, until his retirement in 1979. He brought the first mist nets to Britain and was a pioneer in the Bird Observatories Committee and served on the Rarities Committee. Amongst his publications is the Collins New Naturalist monograph The Redstart, and Migration of Birds observed in N.W. Germany 1942 published in the Ibis vol.95, April 1953.
E.A. Simms. 24. 8. 1921 – 1.3.2009
Eric Simms was educated at Latymer Upper School and then Merton College, Oxford. During the Second World War he was a bomber pilot and bomb aimer. After the war he became a teacher before joining the BBC as a sound recordist and resident naturalist. He wrote over twenty books including several volumes for the Collins New naturalist series.
Matthew Fontaine Maury Meiklejohn 1913 – 14.5.1974
From Greshams School he entered Oriel College, Oxford where he read modern languages. He became professor of Italian at Glasgow University in Scotland. Amongst his ornithological posts were membership of the British Birds Rarities Committee and vice-chairman of the Scottish Ornithological Club.
H.N. Southern 1908 – 25.8.1986
Mick came up to Queens College in 1927 from Wyggeston Grammar School to read classics. He returned four years later to take a degree in zoology. In 1946 he joined the Bureau of Animal Population under Charles Elton as a research scientist. He was awarded an Oxford DSc in 1972. One of his major studies was of the relationship between Tawny Owls and both Wood Mice and Field Voles, over a fifteen year period. He edited Bird Study from 1954-1960, and The Journal of Animal Ecology from 1968-1975. Mick was a vice-president and council member of the BOU, and was awarded the Bernard Tucker medal by the BTO in 1961.
David Lambert Lack 16.7.1910 – 12.3.1973
After Greshams School he entered Magdelene College, Cambridge to read zoology, and then from 1933 to 1940 he was biology master at Dartington School. Here he started his research on the Robin. During 1938 and 1939 he visited the Galapagos Islands and Ernest Mayr in the U.S.A. The Galapagos visit lead to his book on Darwin’s Finches and a lasting interest in island avifaunas and their evolution in isolation. During the Second World War he was involved in radar research, leading to the use of radar in bird migration studies. In 1945 he was appointed director of the Edward Grey Institute for Field Ornithology. Here he initiated the long term studies of titmice in Wytham Wood and of the Swifts breeding in the tower of the University Museum. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1951.
Reginald Ernest Moreau 29.5.1897 – 30.5.1970
Reg was born in Kingston on Thames and in 1914 passed the Executive class examination for the Civil Service. He was posted to the War Office army audit office and in 1920 due to rheumatoid arthritis was able to transfer to the Army Office in Cairo. Here he met the entomologist C.B. Williams who encouraged Reg to publish his ornithological observations in the Ibis. When Williams moved to Tanganyika as deputy director of the Armani Research Station he was able to bring Reg to the accounts department. It was here that he was able to do so much ornithological research. On his return to Britain in 1946 he was offered posts at both the EGI and Animal Behaviour at Cambridge by Thorpe. He chose the former and joined the EGI where he remained until his retirement in 1964.
J.M.B. King 1924 – 2002
Mick King wasat Queens College in the mid-1950s and was the junior treasurer of the Society in 1954-1955. He was one of the first ringers in Britain to use mist nets. In the mid-1960s he was a regular visitor to North Ronaldsay culminating in the creation of the bird observatory on the island. This was followed by a period ringing migrants on the island of Lundy and a member of the Chew Valley Ringing Group. In 1994 he was able to visit Gambia to ring wintering palearctic migrants, eventually setting up a ringing scheme there which over the years grew with many ringers giving their assistance. He was still actively involved with the scheme until his death.
V.C. Wynne-Edwards 4.7.1906 – 5.1.1997
He studied at New College and then became a lecturer at McGill University in Canada from 1930 to 1946.In 1946 he became professor of Natural History at Aberdeen University until his retirement in 1974. Much of his work was in the field of population dynamics in relation to social behaviour.
Alexander George Lambert Sladen (Major) No Dates
Major Sladen contributed to the Annual Reports during the 1920s. During WW1 he was based in Macedonia and Palestine and published a paper on the birds of those countries in the Ibis. He was a treasurer of the BOC from 1926 and a BOU committee member from 1921 to 1925. He was an oologist and designed the cabinet that was built for him by J. Hill and Son, to house his egg collection which was two hundred drawers in size. The Hills cabinets as they became known are widely used to house entomological collections, birds eggs etc. both in museums and private collections.
Sir Julian Sorell Huxley 22.6.1887 – 14.2.1975
From Eton in 1906 Sir Julian won a scholarship to read zoology at Balliol College. He then became demonstrator in the department and at this time started work on the courtship and behaviour of the Great Crested Grebe and other species. However in 1912 he moved to what is now Rice University at Houston, Texas. In 1916 he returned to Britain and worked in intelligence until the end of WW1, when he returned to Oxford as a Fellow of New College and lecturer in zoology. Next in 1925 he became professor of zoology at Kings College, London, followed by a collaboration with H.G. Wells on the “Science of Life” publications. Next in 1935 he became secretary to the Zoological Society of London. After WW2 he became the first director of UNESCO, and played a major role in conservation in East Africa. Sir Julian kept up his interest in the OOS after 1925 being both a guest at meetings and at times a speaker.
Harry Forbes Witherby 7.10.1873 – 11.12.1943
He appears in the list of contributors of the 1928 annual report, He had close contact with Jourdain and Tucker, who with N.F. Ticehurst were his co-authors of the Handbook of British Birds, the five volumes appearing between 1938 and 1940. Also his association with Bernard Tucker, et al at Oxford led to the founding of the BTO, which in its early days was indebted to Witherbys’ financial generosity. The proceeds of the sale of his bird skin collection, some 9,000 specimens plus mounted specimens, to the British Museum raised £1,500 of which he donated £1,400 to the BTO. He started the first ringing scheme in the world which was transferred to the BTO in 1937. In 1907 together with W.P. Pyecraft he founded British Birds and edited the magazine for the first thirty six years of its existence. Witherby was able to travel widely in his pursuit of birds, including Iran, the Kola Peninsula and the White Nile. He was at various times secretary, treasurer and chairman of the BOC and president of the BOU.
John Anthony Gibb 7.1919 – 1.2004
From Sherbourne School he entered St Edmund Hall to read law. During WW2 he served as a Captain in the Royal Artillery on Malta. After the war he returned to Oxford as an assistant in the Edward Grey Institute where he completed his D.Phil with the classic ecological study on the population, food and feeding of titmice and Goldcrests in a pine plantation. In 1947 he became the voluntary organiser of the BTO Nest Record Scheme, that had been started in 1939 by Sir Julian Huxley and James Fisher. He organised the scheme until 1957 when he moved to New Zealand to join the Animal Ecology Division of DSIR, becoming its director in 1965.
Philip Arthur Dominic Hollom 9.6.1912 – 20.6.2014
From an address in Surrey, Hollom is included in the list of contributors to the annual report from 1930 to 1935. With T. Harrison he organised the 1930 national survey of Great Crested Grebes. During WW2 he was a pilot in coastal command and then towing gliders. After demobilization he joined an export company and then in the early 1960s the finance house of Bowmaker. Hollom visited fifty countries and was a member of Guy Mountfort’s expeditions to the Cota Donana in 1957, Bulgaria in 1960 and Jordan in 1963. He joined the editorial board of British Birds in 1951 and was senior editor from 1960 to 1972. He was a co-author with R.F. Porter, S. Christensen and I. Willis of “the Birds of the Middle East and North Africa” published in 1988, and with Guy Mountfort and Roger Tory Peterson “A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe”, published by Collins in 1954.
David William Snow 30.9.1924 – 4.2.2009
Born in Windermere, Snow attended Eton and from there entered New College to read classics. His studies were interrupted in 1943 when he joined the navy. In 1946 he resumed his studies at Oxford switching to zoology and completing his DPhil in 1953 on titmice, but also studying the Blackbirds in the Botanic Gardens. He then carried out research on Oil Birds and Manakins at the New York Zoological Society research centre in Trinidad. This was followed in 1963 and 1964 when he became the founder director of the Darwin Research Centre in the Galapagos Islands. On returning to Britain he became the director of research at the BTO from 1964 to 1968. His next post was as the senior scientist in the Bird Section of the British Museum until his retirement. At various times he edited the Ibis, Bird Study and the bulletin of the BOC, and was president of the BOU from 1987 until 1990.
Denis Frank Owen 4.4.1931 – 3.10.1996
Born in London, he started work in the bird room of the Natural History Museum at the age of sixteen. After national service he joined the EGI as a field assistant and graduated in zoology graduating in 1958. He then became a teaching fellow at Michigan University where he completed a PhD on owls. It was in the USA that entomology became the dominant interest for the rest of his life. From 1962 until 1971 he held various university posts in both East and West Africa. In 1973 he became principal lecturer in biology at Oxford Brookes University until his untimely death in 1996.
Edward Max Nicholson 12.7.1904 – 26.4.2003
From Sedbergh School he entered Hertford College in 1926. His impact on Oxford as well as British ornithology is described in the Chronological section. While at Oxford he was a founder member of the University Exploration Club and took part in expeditions to Greenland and British Guiana. On leaving Oxford he joined the civil service becoming private secretary to Herbert Morrison, the deputy prime minister, from 1945 until 1952, and chaired the Festival of Britain Committee in 1951. Whilst a civil servant he oversaw Part 3 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, which established the Nature Conservancy. In 1952 he succeeded Cyril Diver as director of the Nature Conservancy holding the post until 1960. From 1951 until 1960 he was senior editor of British Birds and was an editor of “The Birds of the Western Palearctic”, writing the habitat section for all species in the nine volumes. During his lifetime he took part in a number of overseas expeditions and held posts in a number of conservation organisations. Perhaps he will be best remembered as an inspiring catalyst in so many areas of natural science and conservation.
Richard Sidney Richmond Fitter 1.3.1913 – 3.9.2005
Richard was born in London and attended Eastbourne College and the London School of Economics. After graduating he held various civil service positions until 1946 when he became editor of the Countryman, then based at Burford. He later lived in the Chilterns near Chinnor.His first book was Londons’ Natural History, published in 1945, and was the third volume in the Collins New Naturalist series. In collaboration with R.A. Richarson he wrote a number of bird identification books, and independently botanical field guides. He was active in a number of conservation bodies including The Council for Nature, and the Flora and Fauna Preservation Society, while at home he was a driving force in the creation of the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Naturalists Trust.
John Michael Cullen 14.12.1927 – 23.3.2001
He started at Wadham College by reading mathematics but changed to zoology. After graduation he worked in the EGI on Marsh Tits and then did his DPhil on the behaviour of Common Terns supervised by Nicko Tinbergen, based on the Farne Islands. In 1976 he emigrated to Australia to take up a post at Monash University, Melbourne. Here he did research on a variety of bird species, but especially on the Little Penguin.
Bruce Campbell 15.6.1912 – 9.1.1993
Bruce attended Winchester College and then read forestry at Edinburgh University. After graduation he held various teaching and lecturing positions, during which time he completed his PhD on comparative bird studies, In 1948 he moved to Oxford to become the first full-time secretary of the BTO, a post he held until 1959. It was at this time that he carried out work on the Pied Flycatchers in the Forest of Dean. In 1959 he was appointed senior producer of the BBC Natural History Unit at Bristol. He was an active member of the BOU, British Ecological Society and various conservation organisations. Bruce will be remembered for amongst other things his infectious enthusiasm which he shared with young and old. The Banbury Ornithological Society was formed in 1951 as a result of a course of lectures that he gave in the town.
Sir Hugh Francis Ivo Elliott 10.3.1913 – 21.12.1989.
Born in Allahabad, he was educated at the Dragon School, Eastbourne College and University College, Oxford. On graduating in 1937 he became a colonial civil servant until his retirement in 1961. Much of his time was spent in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), where he did much to help with the development of the National Parks, especially Serengeti and the Ngorongoro conservation area. From 1950 until 1953 he served as administrator of Tristan da Cunha. Throughout he carried on his interest in ornithology and with co-author James Hancock wrote the “The Herons of the World”, published in 1978. On his retirement he held various posts with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature being secretary general from 1966 until1970. At home he was secretary of the BOU from 1962 to 1966 and vice president and then president from 1975 to 1977. Sir Hugh was a trustee of the British Museum Natural History for the period 1971 – 1981.
Wilfred Backhouse Alexander 4.2.1885 – 8.12.1965
WBA was born in Surrey and educated at Bootham and Tonbridge schools before reading natural sciences at Cambridge. After graduating in 1909 he remained at Cambridge as assistant demonstrator in zoology until 1911 when he moved to the Western Australian Museum eventually becoming keeper of Biology. From 1920 he was biologist to the Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board until leaving Australia in 1926. During his work for the Prickly Pear Board he made a number of ocean journeys, so that on his return to Britain via the American Museum of Natural History he wrote “Birds of the Ocean”, published in 1928. He was briefly superintendent of the Tees Estuary survey before becoming director of the Oxford Bird Census in 1930. With funding from the BTO the Census became the Institute of Field Ornithology and in 1938 the EGI with WBA as director, a post he held until his retirement in 1945. He remained at the EGI as librarian until 1955, giving his personal library to the Institute whose library is named in his honour.
John Leonard Frederick Parslow 1935 – 23.6.2015
After Chingford Grammar School he did his National Service as a radar operator at RAF Bawdsey, being demobbed in 1952. A period working in the bird room of the BM Natural History was followed by work at the EGI drawing upon his radar skills. This was followed in 1967 by work for the NCC including an investigation of pesticides in the food chain of birds. From 1975 until 1987 he was director of Conservation and Reserves for the RSPB. Amongst his other achievements he was a founder of the St Agnes bird observatory in the Scilly Isles. He co-authored “The Birds of Britain and Europe” with Richard Fitter and Herman Heinzel.
George MacKenzie Dunnet 19.4.1928 – 11.9.1995
From Peterhead Academy he entered Aberdeen University to read zoology and then completed his PhD on starlings. He then worked in Oxford at the Bureau of Animal Population with Mick Southern. This was followed by five years in Australia working mostly on fleas for the wildlife survey section of CSIRO. In 1957 he was invited to return to Aberdeen University as head of the Culterty Research Station and in 1974 he became Regius Professor of Natural History, holding the post until retirement in 1992. Much of his research was on the effects of oil production in the North Sea upon marine wildlife.
Joseph Bryan Nelson 14.3.1932 – 29.6.2015
Bryan was born in Shipley, Yorkshire, and after grammar school and night school he attended St Andrews University where he read zoology. After graduating in 1959 he completed his DPhil on the breeding behaviour of the gannet under the supervision of Dr Nicko Tinbergen. There then followed periods on the Galapagos Islands and Christmas Island to study various species of boobys. In 1968 he headed the Azraq Desert Research Station in Jordan. In 1969 he became a lecturer in zoology at Aberdeen University until his retirement in 1985.
Guy Lawrence Charteris (The Hon.) 1886 – 1967
The son of the 11th Earl of Wemyss he was educated at Eton and Trinity College. He was one of the founders of the BTO and a committee member of the BOU from 1932 until 1935. He was a keen ornithologist and oologist, making trips to Hungary, Southern Spain, Majorca etc. Charteris kept contact with the OOS hosting visits by the society to his home in Gloucestershire.
W H B Somerset 1880 – 1946
From Marlborough College he entered Exeter College graduating in 1903. He returned to Oxford in 1907 to work at the Bodleian Library, where apart from the war years, he remained until his retirement in 1945. He was involved with the OOS from its founding, keeping a daily log of the birds on Port Meadow. One of his greatest contributions to the OOS was to mentor and involve a young John Brucker with joining the society.
William Donald Campbell 1905 – 1994
From Oxford High School Bill went to Culham Teachers Training College, after which he taught for a short time in London before returning to Charlbury in Oxfordshire. In 1935 he became head teacher of Mortimer School and later Cholsey School where he remained until his retirement back to Charlbury. Bill was an all-round naturalist with a leaning towards butterflies until he came under the influence of W B Alexander who encouraged him to become a ringer. Over the course of his lifetime Bill ringed some 60,000 birds of 110 species. Originally most of the birds were caught in chardonneret traps and Bill acquired an encyclopaedic knowledge of food preferences and their presentation for many species. Lesser Whitethroats that he ringed were the first to show their south easterly migration route. For many years he was the BTO regional representative for Berkshire and chaired the first BTO committee to report on the effects of toxic chemicals on birds. He wrote two books, “Bird Watching as a Hobby” and “Birds of Town and Village”, and wrote regular natural history columns for the Oxford Times and the Wednesday edition of the Guardian. Under his influence a number of his pupils became enthusiastic ornithologists.
George Soper Cansdale 29.11.1909 – 24.8.1993
From Brentwood School he came up to St Edmund Hall to read forestry. After graduating he joined the colonials service as a forest officer in the Gold Coast (Ghana). Here he started to collect animals for a friend at Paignton Zoo and later for other zoos as well. In 1947 he was appointed Superintendent of London Zoo, remaining in the post until 1953. He was a regular broadcaster and made many television appearances especially on children’s programmes where he proved very successful. During the 1960s he was director of Marine Land at Morecambe, Chessington Zoo and Natureland at Skegness.
Peter R Evans 1937 – 2001
Educated at Ampleforth College he went to St Catherines College, Cambridge where he read chemistry, completing his PhD with a thesis on organo-metallic chemistry. After a short spell of teaching he was given a Nuffield Research Scholarship to research bird migration and navigation at the EGI. After completing his DPhil in 1966 he spent three years as departmental demonstrator, before joining Durham University as a lecturer in ecology and being given his personal professorship in 1987. Much of his research at Durham was on the physiology, ecology and behaviour of shore birds.
Brian J Marples 1907 – 1997
Brian was educated at St Bees and came up to Oxford to read zoology at Exeter College. This was followed by lectureships at Bristol and Manchester Universities. In 1937 at the age of twenty nine he was appointed to the chair of zoology at Otago University in New Zealand, a post held until 1967, then becoming an emeritus professor until his death in 1997. He was a co-founder of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, being secretary and treasurer from 1939 until 1946 and then president until 1948. He introduced bird ringing to New Zealand and wrote the first check list of New Zealand Birds published in 1946. He discovered and described six new species of fossil penguins from limestone deposits at Duntroon. Eventually he returned to Oxfordshire living at Old Woodstock.
James Francis Monk 1915 – 8.5.2014
He read medicine at Trinity College and while an undergraduate was the OOS secretary and assistant editor of the Annual Report. He became a general practitioner at Goring. From1960 until 1966 he was editor of The Ibis and was awarded the BOU medal in 1988. Amongst his published work were a study of the decline of the Wryneck and the breeding biology of the Greenfinch. James was an active ringer especially at South Stoke were he ringed many Sedge and Reed Warblers. He remained an active member of the Society until his death.
Mary C Radford d. 8.12.1973
Brought up in India, she qualified as a general practitioner coming to Oxford where she joined the OOS in 1932. She remained in Oxford for the rest of her life. On retirement she researched and wrote “The Birds of Berkshire and Oxfordshire”, published in 1966 by Longmans. She was an active field worker during her long association with the Society, conducting wildfowl counts at Dorchester gravel pits and completing a large amount of survey work in the 1970s for the BTO Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Europe. She assisted Reg Moreau by analysing migration data and he acknowledges her help in his book “The Palearctic-African\migration\systems”. John Brucker tells the story of visiting her in hospital after she crashed into a lorry, her first words being “Oh John this is a frightful nuisance. I’ve lost my right eye and it was my good one. Can you find out where I can buy a monocular?”
Michael Rowntree 16.2.1919 – 23.9.2007
Michael was a pupil at Bootham’s School before coming up to Queens College. As an undergraduate he often acted as chauffer to W.B. Alexander who disliked driving. During the Second World War he served in a Quaker ambulance unit, some of the time being in North Africa. From 1951 until 1981 he was managing director of the Oxford Mail and Oxford Times, he then left Oxford to join the Manchester Guardian. From 1971 until1977 he was chairman of Oxfam. While at Oxford Michael was a very active member of the Society, including being president from 1964 until 1965, as well as a being a dedicated field worker.
Raymond Joseph O’Connor 20.1.1944 – 29.9.2005
Born in Dublin he studied Physics and Mathematics at University College, Dublin, followed by a PhD in Physics at Birkbeck College, London. He Joined the EGI as a Nuffield Foundation Biological Scholar gaining a D.Phil. for his thesis on the growth and development of birds. He then held lectureships in animal ecology at Queens University, Belfast and University College, Bangor. In 1978 he became Director of the BTO, a post he held until 1987. At the BTO he led the computerisation and integration of various data bases to answer, amongst other things, critical population questions, one result being the publication by Cambridge University Press of “Farming and Birds” that he co-authored with M. Shrubb. In 1987 he moved to the Department of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Maine and later to the Department of Biology at East Carolina University.
Gerald Oliver Stephens 1907 – 1995
Gerald was born in Plympton, Devon. From 1932 he was an officer in the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After his military service he came to Oxfordshire and worked for Morris Motors. He was a most enthusiastic ringer and nest finder, as is shown by some of his ringing totals,1968 (1,704 birds) and 1969 (1,660 birds, many of which were nestlings). He became ringing secretary for the OOS in 1967 and held the position until 1987, but remaining a member of the society. During this period the ringing secretary issued rings to OOS members, collected their ringing returns and acted as an interface with the BTO ringing office. During this period OOS members could ring on behalf of the Society which subsidised the rings by 50%, a practice carried on from the earliest times.
John Whitlock Brucker 1.6.1929 – 26.1.2016
John lived as a boy in Leckford Road, Oxford, very close to Port Meadow where, after being given a bird book written by Seton Gordon, he spent much of his time bird watching. It was there that he met W.H.B. Somerset who had monitored the birds of the meadow since 1920. They met regularly cycling along the towpath in the mornings before breakfast. After a couple of months, with John’s enthusiasm for bird watching growing, WHB invited him to join the OOS. Aged fourteen John was and remains the youngest person to have joined the Society. In those early years John was fortunate to be encouraged by Bernard Tucker amongst others. The 1944 Annual Report contains his first records including Red Breasted Mergansers which he had shown to Bernard Tucker. After attending Oxford High School for Boys and Culham College he took up a post as a teacher at an Abingdon primary school, followed by similar positions at primary schools in Old Marston and Wheatley. He was then appointed head master of Woodstock primary school where he remained until retirement. John became an editor of the annual report in 1962, and with various breaks he completed a total of twenty-one years in the post. He also edited the bulletin for many years, and became the society’s first Conservation Officer. The amount of time and effort that he put into this post is truly astounding, and in the process he did so much for conservation in Oxfordshire. He was a co-author of “The Birds of Oxfordshire” published in 1992, and also wrote some of the patchwork reports including that of Shipton on Cherwell Quarry.. Throughout his life John was a very active ornithologist. His bird diaries dating back to the mid-1940s are a treasure trove of information recording the changes in status of both birds and ornithological sites. John did so much for the Society as a committee member during the difficult transition period from a university-dominated society to the present. The Society’s debt to him was recognised by making him an Honorary Life Member.
Dr Frederick Albert Lionel Clowes. 10.9.1921 – 21.9.2016
Dr Clowes was born in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire but until the age of ten he spent most of his childhood in Montrose. In 1931 the family moved to Rugby where he attended Laurence Sheriff School, before going up to Magdelen College to read botany in 1941. After a period in the Army where he became a captain he returned to Magdelen in 1946. From 1947 to 1949 he worked at Manchester University, but then returned to Magdelen where he completed his doctorate. Dr Clowes was an experimental morphologist and discovered a group of cells at the growing tip of roots for which he coined the term “Quiescent Centre”, and also worked on the effects of radiation on the growing tips of roots and shoots. He was a member of the OOS for more than fifty years and living at Horton-cum-Studley on the edge of Otmoor contributed many records. He took part in the BTO common bird censuses at Boarstall Duck Decoy (1968 – 1987), Little Milton (1961 – 1987) and Wytham Wood (1981 – 1987), the results of which were published in the Annual Reports. Dr Clowes was president of the Society from 1972 until 1974, when he became a vice-president.
Dr Sir Clive Christopher Hull Elliott 12.8.1945 – 18.4.2018
Sir Clive was born in Tanganyika and spent his early years on Tristan da Cuhna where his father Sir Hugh Elloitt was administrator. He was educated at the Dragon School, Bryanston and University College, Oxford. On graduating he spent the summer in Cumbria working with Dr Nicko Tinbergen on gulls whilst awaiting a grant to study for his DPhil. Before a grant became available he was invited to to do a PhD on the Cape Weaver at the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology at Cape Town University. This was partly due to his friendship with the microbiologist and ornithologist Mrs M.K. Rowan who he had known from Tristan da Cuhna. He was awarded his doctorate in 1973. He then became the first ringing officer of the newly created National Bird Ringing Unit, later SAFRING. From 1975 he was employed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to work on the Red-headed Quelea in Chad, Tanzania and Kenya. In 1980 he moved to the FAO headquarters in Rome becoming Senior Officer Migratory Pest and Plant Protection, until his retirement in July 2006. He then returned to Oxford and eventually settled in the village of South Leigh. He followed his father in becoming President of the OOS in 2011.
Michael G Wilson 30.12.42 – 9.1.2022
A long term member of the OOS, Michael was a recipient of the British Ornithologists Union Janet Kear Union Medal, awarded in 2019 in recognition of his services to ornithology. He was a co-author of Volumes three to nine of the Birds of the Western Palearctic, and Book Reviews Editor of the Ibis. As an active field worker Michael regularly walked along the River Thames from Oxford to Abingdon, a round trip of some fifteen miles, where he charted the range expansion of Cetti’s Warbler and the fluctuations of other warbler territories.
Royston Scroggs
Roy was a pupil at Charlbury school where he was taught by W.D. Campbell and was enthused with ornithology. In later life he became an active botanist, dragonfly and butterfly recorder as well as maintaining his enthusiasm for birds. The Hobby Falcon was one of Roys’ specialities and he delighted in telling of finding a Hobby nest within half a mile of Hordley where Bruce Campbell lived and of which Bruce was unaware. Roy was an active member of the OOS and the Banbury Ornithological Society.
John K Adams
He studied at Balliol College before becoming editor of Country Life from 1958 until 1973.
Jeremy John Denis Greenwood CBE
Studied at St Catherine’s College, and became Director of the BTO from 1988 until 2007. He was field secretary of the OOS 1962 – 1963.
Nelson Philip Ashmole
He read zoology at Brasenose College and then did his DPhil at the EGI. From 1972 until 1992 he was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh University. Whilst at Oxford he was the Secretary of the Society 1954 – 1955.
Denis John Summers-Smith
While resident at Highclere in the late 1940s he contributed records to the Annual Report. His monograph on the House Sparrow in the New Naturalist series was published in 1963.
Ian Newton OBE FRS
After completing his first degree at Bristol University he joined the EGI and where he completed his DPhil on finches. He was author of “Finches” in the Collins New Naturalist series as well as various other books. Ian was senior ornithologist with the Natural Environmental Research Council.
Nigel James Collar
He was a member of the EGI from 1975 until 1980, having read English at Cambridge University and completing a PhD at the University of East Anglia. He is a Leventis Fellow in Conservation Biology with Bird Life International.
Michael Philip Harris
He was the departmental demonstrator at the EGI and warden of Skokholm, which he left in 1969. At present he is an Emeritus Research Fellow at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and is an expert on seabirds, especially the Puffin.
Euan K Dunn
Euan joined the EGI after graduating at Durham University where he completed his doctorate. He was a committee member of the OOS in 1973 – 1974. He is the principal Marine Advisor with the Bird Life International global seabird programme.
Nicholas Barry Davies
After completing his D.Phil he remained at the EGI as demonstrator and junior research fellow until 1979. He is now Professor of Behavioural Ecology at Cambridge University.
Christopher Miles Perrins
Chris joined the EGI from Queen Mary College, London and after his D.Phil he remained there becoming head in 1974 on the retirement of David Lack. He was a committee member of the OOS in 1960 – 1961 and chairman 1961 – 1962. He retired in 2002 and is now an Emeritus Fellow of the EGI and has been Her Majesty’s Warden of Swans from 1973 and a joint editor of Birds of the Western Palearctic.
Andrew Graham Gosler
Andy is the University Research Lecturer in Ornithology and Conservation at the EGI and director of the Ethno-ornithology World Archive in the Institute of Human Sciences. He has served as president of the Society twice: 1981 – 1990 and again from 1994 – 2010.
Ian Lewington
Ian is a leading bird illustrator and artist. Books that he has illustrated include “Field Guide to Rare Birds of Britain and Europe” by Per Alstrom and Peter Colston and “Handbook of the Birds of the World”. Ian is a member of the BOU Records Committee. He has been the County bird recorder since 1994, editing both the monthly bulletin and annual report of the Society, usually enhanced by his photographs.
William R P Bourne
He was recruited by David Lack to join the radar study of migration, being based mainly on the east coast, but he did contribute records to the Annual Report. He is well known as driving force behind the establishment of the Sea Bird Group in 1961, as well as initiating and guiding many ornithological enquiries.
Patrick Wixey MBE
Pat started erecting owl boxes in 1987.This included building boxes, negotiating with land owners to erect the boxes and then monitoring the boxes. Pat had about two hundred boxes by 2018 and altogether some one thousand seven hundred Barn Owl nestlings had been ringed. For his work on Barn Owl conservation Pat was awarded a much deserved MBE.
Henry Mayer-Gross
He was appointed as the first full time Nest Records Scheme Officer for the BTO in 1960, facilitated by a Nature Conservancy grant “to investigate the extent to which visiting nests to examine their contents for nest recording might or might not affect the successful hatching and fledging of the brood”. He held the position until 1971.