Reports, with Bird Lists, of our Meetings, Walks and Outings

Burma - Birds, Butterflies & Buddhas
by Phil and Ann Farrer

Date: Thursday 15 October 2015 at 19:30


Forty-six people attended the meeting.

We welcomed back Phil and Ann Farrer for a presentation on Burma.  They showed us about fifty bird species of which six were endemic to Burma and four were considered to be very rare.

More impressive than the birds were the many species of moths and butterflies; most were very colourful and varied in size from very small through to exceptionally large with up to a six inch wingspan.

The Yellow-throated Marten was the most impressive mammal shown, being of sufficient size to tackle a small deer.

Burma has a vast number of striking temples, pagodas and shrines with many of them covered in gold plate and precious jewels.  It is probably indicative of the reverence shown by the Burmese people to holy sites that these treasures did not appear to have been pillaged.  From the highest ramparts of one large temple in central Burma 14,000 ‘holy’ buildings can be seen on the Plateau of Pagodas, including 8,000 temples.

Overall the talk was a little slow, short on spectacular bird photographs and had a lot of pagodas. However, it was an interesting and entertaining evening giving a good overview of Burma, its landscape, culture and wildlife.

Peter Gaines reported these birds in our area:

  • Dinton Pastures – Fieldfare, Bittern, 10 Snipe
  • Dorney Wetlands - Cetti's Warbler, Water Rail
  • Little Marlow – Redwing, Redpoll, Golden Plover, 2 Ravens
  • Reading – Redwing
  • Twyford – Brambling
  • Cookham – Siskin, Barn Owl
  • Staines – 2 Black-necked Grebe
  • Ivy Bees – a species new to the UK in 2001 seen Cookham, Slough, Hurley
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Ornate Burmese pagoda

Ann and Phil make a welcome return visit to the RSPB East Berks Local Group. Their talk starts with birds and animals found around Yangon (Rangoon) and then moves on to look at the birds and temples along the Irrawaddy River. From there we travel West to the Chin Mountains to find birds which are only found at high elevations. Finally we go Eastward to the Shan States and the unique environment of Inle Lake to discover some of the special birds of this habitat.

Flame-breasted FlowerpeckerWhite-breasted Kingfisher
Flame-breasted FlowerpeckerWhite-breasted Kingfisher



Ann and Phil have travelled to many parts of the world in pursuit of their joint interest in birds and this talk is based on one of their journeys.  The talk is well illustrated using their own photographs and has birds as the main theme but also includes aspects of environment, animals, plants, people and culture.

Ann was Group Leader of the Hemel Hempstead RSPB Members’ Group for 12 years and Phil is a Chartered Biologist and keen photographer.  Both have been very involved with the Red Kite release project in the Chilterns.

Common Jezebel Butterfly
Common Jezebel Butterfly

All pictures are © Copyright. Do not reproduce without permission from Phil and Ann Farrer.