2021 – Al Venables

Dr Al Venables has been involved with the Gwent Ornithological Society for 49 years, as Chairman for a five year spell and for much of that time as a Committee member. He has given many talks to GOS over the years especially on weather and birds and on some of his birding trips. He was a mainstay of the GOS first Atlas (The Gwent Atlas of breeding Birds published in 1987), acting as local organiser, carrying out much fieldwork and he was on the editorial committee and one of the four authors. Subsequently he spearheaded the second atlas which also included comprehensive accounts of all species recorded in Gwent as well as breeding distributions and changes since the earlier Atlas. He was lead author of the resulting publication ‘The Birds of Gwent’, published in 2008; he has been BTO WeBS organiser for the county for many years and was on the RSPB Wales Committee in the 1990s.

He had a long career as a microbiologist at Cardiff University, but during this time carried out numerous studies on birds such as a ‘Census of breeding birds at Bryn Bach Park’ for the Planning Department of Gwent County Council. With Colin Titcombe he surveyed breeding birds on the Caldicot Levels  in 1980. He has been very active within the county and always has been available to offer advice. He is a very well-respected member of GOS but sadly, as of 2021, Al has stood down from the Society because of deteriorating health. WOS hopes he is able properly to celebrate his well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award.

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