Star speakers announced for 2022 Spurn Migfest

05 Jul 2022 | No. 2022-29

Top ornithologists Martin Collinson and Alex Lees will give the headline talks at this year’s Spurn Migfest, taking place at East Yorkshire’s Spurn Bird Observatory between 9 and 11 September.

Martin Collinson is Professor in Genetics at the University of Aberdeen and best known to birders for his work sequencing the DNA of species difficult to identify using traditional methods. On Friday 9 September he will explain what DNA sequencing is, how he does it, and they ways his findings are helping to shape our understanding of bird genetics and identification. Individual birds recorded at Spurn and identified by Collinson and his team include numerous ‘Eastern’ Lesser Whitethroats as well as a ‘Siberian’ Stonechat and a Western Subalpine Warbler.

Dr Alex Lees’ talk on Saturday 10 September will be based on Vagrancy in Birds, a book he co-authored with James Gilroy and which was published last year to critical acclaim. Lees is Senior Lecturer in biodiversity at Manchester Metropolitan University and a research associate of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Alongside these and other talks, walks led by expert birders will help everyone get the most out of the festival’s fantastic location. One of the best parts of a trip to Spurn at any time of year is the variety of birdlife on offer, but the fact the festival takes place at the height of the autumn migration season makes it even more special. Festival-goers last year saw Dotterel, Common Rosefinch, Hobby, Long-tailed Skua, Osprey and a whole host of other species. What will this year’s festival hold?

Tickets are on sale now. Head to for more information.

Rob Adams, chairman of Spurn Bird Observatory, said: ‘We can’t wait to welcome these leading lights in British and global ornithology to what promises to be another brilliant Migfest. With speakers like these and a full programme of walks and talks for birders of all backgrounds and skill levels, there really is something for everyone.’

Contact Details
Tom Stewart
 (BTO Media Manager)
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at] (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

Mike Toms (Head of Communications)
Mobile 07850 500791
Email: press [at] (subject: News%20release%20enquiry)

For more information on the Spurn Migration Festival, please visit

For more information on Spurn Bird Observatory
, please visit

BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.


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